Day 9: Progress

Good moro!

I hope this post finds you well.  As I have a long day of work ahead of me, I thought that I would be a bore and give you a progress report.

Well, I have been a vegetarian for over a week now.  I can honestly say that I have not craved meat or gelatin(e) products at all.  The day I walked past the chicken and bacon sandwiches in M&S, un-tempted, was the moment I realised that I was a changed asparagus.

Due to essays, work and somehow trying to squeeze in a social life, you won’t be seeing any recipes from me until Autumn term has finished.  My diet over the past week has not been varied — unless you count Quorn in three different forms as varied.  Breakfast didn’t change upon becoming a veggie: two Weetabix set me up perfectly for the day.  I have eaten a lot of vegetables, mainly carrots and green beans.  My beloved pineapple has made a daily appearance (I shall tell you more about my love for the magnificent pineapple soon).  Aside from breakfast, I generally avoid carbs — I do not wish to be a veggie who survives solely on pasta or toast.  This uninspiring diet would be a problem for any ‘foodies’ out there.  I, on the other hand, am quite content.  As you may have noticed from day three’s post (https://sillyasparagus.wordpress.com/2011/12/01/day-3-the-response/), food is not my best friend.  For the sake of my wellbeing, and before the food police start their onslaught, I will start to vary what I eat.  But, I did try an avocado this week, how much more adventurous can an asparagus get?! 

Unfortunately, giving up meat has not made me resemble veggie Alexa Chung in any way.  Although, there has been an improvement to my skin.  Blemishes and spots on my face have been causing me confidence issues for months.  However, since eradicating meat from my diet and cutting down on dairy products (mainly cheese), my skin has started to clear up — don’t get me wrong, it is still by no means perfect.  I think I should get in touch with Channel 4’s ‘Food Hospital’ to report my findings. 

Generally, I am feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.  I do not feel that I am depriving myself of anything.  I am not feeling weak or tired (like I was told I would feel).  Instead, I am energised and positive. 

“Vegetarian food leaves a deep impression on our nature. If the whole world adopts vegetarianism, it can change the destiny of humankind.” — Albert Einstein

Best wishes,

the silly asparagus.

Advertisements

Day 8: Puppy Love

Hello sweet cheeks,

As you may already know, my decision to become a vegetarian was a spontaneous one.  However, within the last week, I have found so many good reasons to continue being an asparagus.  I’m going to get the sentimental reasons out of the way first.  This post is based purely on my own feelings.  Yes, you might view some sentences at hyperbolic.  I am not playing the puppy card to try and make anyone feel guilty about their own choices.

I would like to introduce you to Leo:

Today Leo is celebrating his four-months-and-nineteen days birthday.  Isn’t he cute? I have a tendency to talk about Leo as if he is my child.  Before this little rascal came along, I wasn’t fond of animals.  I have always liked the cold-blooded kind, but there was no way that mother asparagus would let a snake in the house.  I wasn’t even allowed the baby gecko, that was offered to me by my school librarian for a bargain £10!  Since Leo has arrived in to my life, I have become, dare I say it? An animal person.  I am now one of those people who will converse with dog-owners about puppy training tips.  A trip to Pets at Home has become just as exciting as trips to Toys R’ Us had been when I was small.

Leo does the funniest things, he is even sillier than the very silly asparagus.  I am so proud of him when he gives paw in order to get  a treat.  He will sit on the kerb before crossing the road to make sure nothing is coming.  My heart melts when he runs towards me, lays down on my feet and looks at me with those mismatched eyes until I give him a belly-rub.  Leo is better than people at making friends.  He met a miniature Schnauzer one day, called Lottie.  It was love at first sight for the pair.  Again, I stood like a proud parent as Leo played with Lottie.  It was like a child fitting in well on their first day of school.  There are times when Leo could do with eating a mint, the times he has laddered my tights and pulled threads from my clothes.  But I love him.  I don’t want to get too emotional, but I did not think that I had the capacity to love some thing this much, that was not human (except for Chanel of course, darling).  If I love Leo, then why should I not love all animals?

Imagine if it was acceptable to eat dogs.  Leo would be put in a tiny cage, he would be living in his own faeces.  He would be fed food pumped full of medicine and growth hormornes until he was fat enough for people to eat him.  Before being eaten, he may have been skinned alive so that the fur industry could have his glossy coat without any damages to it.  One certainly wouldn’t want bullet holes or blood stains tarnishing the pelt.  Leo would then be hung upside down, and split down his tummy, all of his blood pouring onto the floor of the slaughterhouse.  Off Leo goes to the butcher, where he is cut in to sections and ready to be sold.  Who wants the liver?  How about a leg of Leo?  More of a breast man are we, sir?

Writing the above has made me feel a bit sick.  But since becoming a vegetarian, I can no longer look at meat and see food.  Instead, I see the life and death cycle of the animal.  Cows may not give paw, but they are still living breathing creatures.  Watching lambs frolicking on a field is just as heart-warming as cuddling Leo.  850 million animals and hundreds of millions of fish are slaughtered in the UK alone.  Some people might feel that comparing a puppy to a cow is wrong, that there is no comparison.  But, they are all animals.  And I do not want to eat any of them.

This issue of course leads to other horrors that people subject animals too.  During the course of the week I will also look at animal testing and the role animals play in the clothing industry.

With animal love,

The sentimental asparagus and Leo.

Day 7: You’re having a giraffe!

Sunday seemed like the perfect day for an asparagus adventure.  After going to see Arthur 3D at the cinema, it was time for lunch.  Eating at restaurants can either be an enjoyable experience for me, or a very, very miserable one — a lot depends on my then-relationship with food.  I didn’t hold out much hope for today — as well as being a seven-day old vegetarian, I am also being a fusspot when it comes to counting calories, carbs and naughty fats.  This is where I allow you to say, “Get a salad, eat it, shut-up”.  The trouble is ladies and gents, I hate loathe lettuce.  Lettuce sits on the ‘cannot eat’ shelf, alongside cucumber, melon and a few other things.  The watery texture is so unpleasant.

This is where I stop moaning.  The food gods answered my prayers with…

I had never been to Giraffe before, but I will definitely return.  I began with a delicious and nutritious smoothie.  The ‘Hippy Hippy Shake’ contains pineapple, passion fruit, mango, banana, pomegranate juice and a giraffe’s head.  So far, so good.

It was judgement day, the meals had arrived.  ‘Mr. Carnivore’ boyfriend opened his steak-sandwich with slight disappointment.  You had to search for the steak beneath mounds of onions, tomatoes and lettuce (see, I told you that lettuce was the devil!).  I, on the other hand, was overwhelmed with yummy grub.  Drumroll please, as I introduce to you the Vegetarian Brunch…

Mr. Carnivore dealt with the bread and the mushrooms (another texture that gives me shivers).  I have never met an avocado before, but he has an odd squishy texture too, which unfortunately means we can not possibly be friends.  At least I was a good asparagus and tried it though.  Every thing else was ridiculously scrummy.  I recommend Giraffe to you all!  It was busy, but service came promptly and with a smile!  I can’t complain about their reasonable prices either.

I left a very happy customer.

Oh, and look!  The rather darling giraffe somehow found its way in to my bag and all the way home ;).

Have a happy Monday,

with love,

the asparagus and her very cheeky giraffe.

PS: Arthur is a very funny film for those looking for some festive cheer.

Day 6: Christmas shopping

I woke up at 12am this morning and my head was spinning with all things ‘veggie’ as I tried to get back to sleep.  I want to start tackling the big issues such as animal welfare and the ecological impacts.  However, I do not want to do it in an ignorant way.  I need to do some more research before throwing facts at you.  I start getting really passionate about particular aspects of being a vegetarian, but then realise that my lifestyle contradicts it in some way.  I appreciate that I am over-thinking all of this, and frustrating my readers — ‘Collette, get a grip’ comes to mind.  This is important to me though and I want to be thorough.  Once I ‘get a grip’, writing this blog will be simple.  Today is not the day, and I am going to take the easy route on this lazy Sunday: shopping!

If you are not one of those keen (green)beans that has not only finished their Christmas shopping, but wrapped it too, consider this silly asparagus as your personal shopper.  Here are some guilt-free gifts (minus some of the price tags) for you to peruse at your leisure…

The Body Shop is a fail-proof choice.  Their gift sets start from just £6 (perfect as a secret santa present) and go up to £25.  All of their products smell heavenly.  The Body Shop takes pride in sourcing their ingredients responsibly and has always said no to animal testing.  http://www.thebodyshop.co.uk/_en/_gb/index.aspx

Medium mango gift box -- around £25

Suitable for fashionable carnivores, vegetarians and eco-warriors… Stella McCartney.  I will talk about Stella (and the vegetarian / vegan McCartney clan) later on in my blog.  In the meantime, here are a few lust-worthy pieces…

'Falabella' faux leather foldover tote, around £700

Pembridge wallet (bio cotton), around £360

 Melissa is the place to look for quirky, plastic, shoes.  I’ve had quite a few pairs of Vivienne Westwood for Melissa shoes.  They are comfy, eco-friendly AND scented like bubblegum.

Fuchsia Flocked Skyscrapers, Vivienne Westwood for Melissa, around £128

 www.fashion-conscience.com is a great website for clothes, bags and gifts.  Here are some highlights for the boys…

Fair trade NV London Calcutta Messenger, around £155

Econation recycled cork ipod case, around £12

Branch chunky knit, around £90

Miscellaneous goodies…

Recipe book: The Accidental Vegetarian, Simon Rimmer, around £9.99

Econation DIY speakers, around £15

Enjoy your shopping!

With love,

the shopping asparagus.

Day 5: “This is Art Attack”

Good moro my little vegetables!  I’ll be working all day today, so I thought I would say a quick hello bright and early.

Things have had to change around here since becoming a vegetarian.  I haven’t moved to the countryside to grow my own asparagus or anything.  I have adapted my diet and I have also altered my surroundings.

I have already told you that I am Spartacus, and the ‘Joan of Arc of Poultry’.  What I have been concealing until now is that I am also the 90’s icon that is Neil Buchanan.  One day, many years ago, I was in desperate need of a pot for my pens.  Rather than head to WHSmith, I went to the kitchen and cleaned out a Heinz soup tin.  Voila!  The perfect stationary holder was born.  I have been recreating the wonderful invention ever since.  The trouble is, the one that I have been using at university is not suitable for vegetarians, so I have made an adjustment…

Changing pen pots won’t bring back the cute chicken that once occupied it, but at least the memory of it won’t be haunting me each time I grab a pen.  Don’t believe the hype, chicken soup is not good for the soul, cream of tomato is.

Enjoy your day,

Love from,

the very hardworking asparagus.

Day 4: “I’m Spartacus”

Yesterday, I would have made Stanley Kubrick proud.  I managed to turn my English seminar in to a vegetarian version of the famous Spartacus scene.

A conversation with a friend, about my new-found vegetarianism, was overheard by another girl in my class.  It so happens that she has vegetarian parents and has always been one herself.  My seminar tutor came in from a break and wanted to know what we were discussing.  Guess what?  He revealed that he is a vegan!  He asked the class about their eating habits, cue the “I’m Spartacus” moment.  In a room of eleven people, there were two vegans, three vegetarians and a partridge in a pear tree.  Oops, Christmas is on the brain, I’ll try that again: two vegans, three vegetarians and an ‘ex-vegetarian’.  The ‘ex-vegetarian’ was a veggie for three years before returning to her meat-eating ways.  She couldn’t find her reasons for being a vegetarian and stopped.

Our tutor became a vegan at the age of 18, because of political reasons (I will cover these in a later post).  The carnivores of the class tried to use bacon as an argument, describing the mouth-watering smell and taste.  The basic idea seemed to be that a life without bacon was not a life worth living.  However, vegan tutor (he does have a real name) came to the rescue.  Apparently, being a vegan has made him a fantastic cook.  He can not saunter in to a  supermarket and pick up any old thing.  He has to put effort in to his cooking.  Vegan tutor feels that Jack’s meaty lasagna (yes, I have a classmate who combines 400g of mince with 400g of bacon to create his lasagna!)  would be no match for his delicious vegan chocolate cake.

Vegan tutor will not eat honey, because the bees are not wild (wild honey could be an exception).  He researches the jeans he buys to ensure that the factories they are made in do not use animal fat in the process.  However, he admits to having two vices: the first is Guinness (suitable for vegetarians, but not vegans).  The second is smoking (which is tested on animals).

What this has confirmed for me is that there are no strict guidelines or rules that I have to follow to be a vegetarian.  I do not eat any meat, fish or gelatin(e) / rennet products, therefore I am a vegetarian.  Sure, everyone will have their own views on what makes a vegetarian a vegetarian or a vegan a vegan.  As I learn more, I can adapt my lifestyle in the ways I deem fit. 

I would just like to thank those who have been supportive and have been providing me with great advice.  I really appreciate it. 

Sunday’s post should be a good ‘un as I try to tackle fashion.

With love,

the simply silly asparagus.

Day 3: The response

Three days and one blog post has generated a lot more response than I expected.  I assumed that I would be left to my own devices — but everyone seems to have an opinion.

For the most part, people have been very helpful.  Last night, to my surprise, I learned that party ring biscuits aren’t suitable for vegetarians.  People have already been suggesting supplements and recipes to try.  There have been negative replies.  The stereotypical ‘Oh, you’re going to turn in to a pasty hippie’ has been a popular remark.  You are telling a girl, whose nicknames include ‘Casper’, about the woes of being pasty?  I’m quite content with my pale complexion thank you very much.  I know a fair few peaky, dreary meat-eaters actually.  The boyfriend has broached the matter with some trepidation, he feels he couldn’t possibly like anyone who isn’t a carnivore.  It would appear that people feel very strongly about food and other people’s choices.

Now for mother… On the day of ‘veggie’ enlightenment, I text mother asparagus to inform her of my decision.  One did not receive a reply that evening, nor was it mentioned in messages the following morning.  It was clear that she was ignoring my little text.  When I rang her, I got the following response, “How long will this phase last for?”.  This was of course accompanied by an exasperated tone.

I’d like to dismiss her scepticism.  But she does have a point.  I was one of those fussy children that would spend ages pushing food around the plate, until I had successfully eradicated any bits I viewed as ‘alien’.  Spaghetti Bolognese was a lengthy affair — onions and mushrooms had to be picked out before I could eat any of it, not forgetting the dreaded tomato!  The fussy stage was followed by many others.  There was the ‘no-piggy’ phase.  This was the result of a science lesson involving the dissection of pig organs.  I did not eat any meat from a pig for about four years. Bye bye sausages!  There was also the ‘no cheese’ phase.  I made an abrupt decision that I would not eat cheese anymore.  This wasn’t ideal socially, especially when one’s friends at the time had an unhealthy obsession with Pizza Hut.  There has been the ‘Fair Trade phase’, the ‘survive-on-a-yoghurt-a-day phase’ and the ‘OCD Skittles phase’.  The phase that turned permanent revolves around happy chickens.   The ‘free-range chicken phase’  involved me contributing to meal-time conversation with horrific tales of chickens laying dead in their own faeces.  During this time, I told a shocked R.E. class that I would give up my life for the cause of chickens.  I suppose I considered myself to be the Joan of Arc of poultry.  Whilst I no longer lecture people about our feathery friends, I still stand up for them.  There is no excuse to still be buying produce from caged hens. 

Despite my shady history with food, I am surely too old to go through any more phases now?  This is why I feel that I will be a vegetarian for life, not just for Christmas.  Mother asparagus, I think you might be eating your words this time.  The response from Papa asparagus is yet to come, but it is certain to be comedy gold.

Well, in the unlikely event that you had not considered me slightly odd before, you probably do now.  However, I can assure you that I am perfectly sane.  Tomorrow’s post will be less of a ramble and I will be throwing lots of ‘veggie’ facts at you.  I know you simply can not wait.

Quorn Kisses,

the somewhat silly asparagus.