Day 69 (immature giggles).

So, it snowed last night.  I do not like the snow.  I especially dislike the snow when there is no blue sky… I do not wish to photograph a dreary scene.  I would like the snow more if it meant that fluffy baby penguins fell from the sky and came to play. But, they don’t.  Asparagus like to be fresh, not frozen.  That is the last time I will moan about things I have no control over. I need to be positive.

Today I am giving you my article about vegetarianism that was published in the University of Reading newspaper, Spark*, a few weeks ago. Some of it is repeat material from the blog, but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless.  Apologies for such a ‘texty’ post today.

This is exactly how it was printed (I am obviously on day 69 now, not 47):

Vegetarianism 

At the time of writing this article, I have been a vegetarian for 47 days.  Not that I’m counting or anything.  Turning ‘veggie’ was a very spontaneous decision.  I literally woke up one morning and decided that I would no longer eat meat.  My lifestyle change has received both positive and negative response.  There are so many stereotypes about being vegetarian.  People around me started warning me about becoming a tired and pale hippie.  For a girl whose nicknames already include ‘Casper’ and ‘Snowy’, I don’t think I need to worry about becoming any pastier.  Plus, there is nothing wrong with pale hippies anyway.  I am sure they are just as happy as tanned hippies.  I also faced a lot of skepticism.  As I did not become a vegetarian for specific reasons, my friends and family have assumed that this is simply a phase that I am going through.  Well my friends, I survived Christmas without scoffing pigs-in-blankets, so I am pretty certain that being a veggie will be a permanent change for me.

Regarding food, life as a vegetarian does not have to be boring.  I admit that it has been slightly boring for me, but that is because I am fussy. I prefer the simple things in life, such as pineapple, poached eggs and crumpets (not together though!).  Becoming a vegetarian is helping me to become less fussy.  I have discovered all sorts of wonderful foods.  Except for Popeye, who knew that spinach was such a delight?  I eat a lot of Quorn.  There is the standard response that Quorn tastes like cardboard.  It doesn’t.  The new vegetarian range at Marks and Spencer’s is divine.  As well as veggie kievs and lasagna, they even sell vegetarian Percy Pigs!  Madness!

I have not become a vegetarian to lecture people about health or animal rights.  Although, I must point out that there are many benefits to being a vegetarian.  On average, vegetarians eat 25 per cent less fat than meat-eaters; this tends to mean that vegetarians have a lower Body Mass Index.  Vegetarians have a slightly longer life expectancy than meat-eaters.  Vegetarianism can equal lower cholesterol levels and a decrease in the risk of suffering from a heart attack.  The media is currently focused on recent studies that suggest that bacon and red-meat are linked to cancer, especially bowel-related cancers.

Save the animals!  850 million animals are killed every year, in the UK alone.  That number does not include the hundreds of millions of fish that are also killed.  A majority of these animals are subjected to cruel conditions in factory farms.  The meat industry brings suffering to so many creatures.  Becoming a vegetarian means that you are no longer contributing to their misery.  As well as saving animals, vegetarianism could also solve world hunger.  That is a big claim to make, but one-third of the world’s grain is fed to farmed animals.  According to Viva! The amount of veg protein fed to the US beef herd would feed almost the entire populations of India and China.  That would make a difference to two billion people.  35 per cent of the world’s population can be fed on a meat-based diet.  However, a plant diet could feed everyone.

I understand that some of you will never consider becoming a vegetarian.  However, why not try meat-free Mondays?  Famous Beatle and vegetarian, Paul McCartney has been leading a campaign that asks people to give up meat for one day a week.  If everybody gave up meat for just one day a week, it could make a huge impact on the planet.  As well as improving one’s own well-being, world hunger and animals; vegetarianism would also greatly reduce pollution.  Visit www.meatfreemondays.com for more information and recipes related to the campaign.

Being a vegetarian has had a very positive impact on my life.  I have become less stressed and a lot more energetic since turning veggie.  It has changed my attitude to many things and at this moment in time, I do not think I will be eating meat again.  I really would recommend this change to you all.  I have only touched the surface, there is so much more to being a vegetarian.  If you are interested in following my journey as a vegetarian, please take a look at my blog: http://www.sillyasparagus.wordpress.com

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Day 68: Percy

I hope you are having a great weekend.

When I became a vegetarian, I resigned myself to the fact that I would never eat a Percy Pig again.  Whilst I am happy not eating the collagen from animal skin and bones (gelatine), I have missed Percy and his sugary pinkness.

Now, I had heard rumours about Percy Pigs suitable for vegetarians.  But I had never seen them in any Marks & Spencer… until TODAY.  I squealed like a pig myself when I saw them.

These veggie sweets are even yummier than their brothers.  Next time you buy some, opt for these ones.  How cute are their green ears!  Remember that only Percies with green ears are suitable for vegetarians.

(Children, don’t play with your food — I got nail polish on these little fellas and they have to live in the bin instead of my tummy). Please ignore my duck-face impression.

Oh, and Marks and Spencer, as I have mentioned you two days in a row, please feel free to send this poor student food packages and / or clothes.

Thanks.

With Love,

The Silly Asparagus.

Day 67: Catch-up

Hello there sugarplum.

I promised to update you on my Christmas as a vegetarian.  Today is the day!

What I learned during the festive period is that if you stop eating animals, they will start eating you…

Don’t worry, I managed to fight the crocs off — my legs are still intact.

A popular question that I have been asked by many people has been: “What did you have as a meat alternative for Christmas dinner?”.  Well, I didn’t.  With it being Christmas, I wanted to avoid causing a fuss or making chef (papa) go to any extra effort.  So, I probably ate every thing that you did, minus the animals.  I did not miss meat at all, as I sat there munching delicious roasted parsnips.  I was not tempted by the poor little pigs, who sat in their cosy blankets.  I felt sorry for the poor turkey, who will never gobble again.  I did try sprouts again for the first time since I was force-fed them at nursery. Eating 1/4 of the miniature ball of cabbage taught me that I still do not like them.

New Years Day had a lot more to offer for the veggie. It was time for a buffet and Marks & Spencer came up with the goods.  Good old M&S have a new marvellously extensive vegetarian range.  I would highly recommend it to you all — veggie or not veggie.  (I should be getting paid for this advertising!)

I feel that now would be a good time to make a confession.  During 67 days of being a vegetarian, I have not made a single veggie meal from scratch.  I am ashamed to admit that  I have spent 67 days heating foods such as Quorn.  My resolution is to cook more — this has gone as far as buying a recipe book.  Hopefully, I will make some progress next week.  Please note, I say ‘hopefully’ because the only kitchenware I have with me at university is one plate, one bowl, two saucers, a fork and a spoon.  Oh, and some glasses. Nigella I am not.  I can bake, but baking for oneself would be a recipe for disaster (and obesity).

For any of you missing Leo (http://wp.me/p21TV4-1L), he had a lovely Christmas.  Unfortunately, Leo is not a vegetarian and thus he had a full Christmas dinner.  He received his own tree decoration and some special mince pies.  Puppy gets bigger each time I see him, but he is still as cute and as cheeky as ever.  Here are some of our winter adventures…

Well, that is more than enough of those festivities.  I have filled you in on what you have missed, so I will let you go.

Goodbye for now.

The Silly Asparagus.

Day 66: Unha-pea

Good moro!

Today, I am going to moan to you about the dreaded pea.  I will understand if you decide to stop reading now…

Just because I am a vegetarian does not mean that I like all vegetables.  I am getting better, but I still have a long way to go.  There is one vegetable in particular that I have a real problem with: peas.  I refer to peas as ‘the evil green army’.

A few weeks ago, my best friend and I went on a night out.  It is tradition for us to end the evening with a sophisticated meal.  Prior to being a vegetarian this meant chicken. Chicken nuggets, chicken burgers… I didn’t mind as long as it was accompanied by a big red splodge of ketchup.  Now that I do not feast on our feathery friends, I had to find an alternative.  I had one option, the almighty veggie burger.  I was quite happy sneaking bites of it during the taxi ride home. But then I saw it in the light… yes, I had unknowingly become a victim of the evil green army.  You see, it is not so much the taste of the pea that I cannot stand.  It is their ability to get EVERYWHERE.  They really do just turn up when you least expect. How dare they.

I’m also suspicious of them because I never see them fresh.  At the supermarket, I can pick which shiny apples I bring home.  But I have never seen a pick-a-pea option. They are normally too busy in the frozen section, infecting the poor carrots and corn.  Or they can be found sitting on shelves, mushed and wearing a putrid shade of green.

There are bridges with peas on!  Each time I go from Reading to Hertfordshire on the M25, I see ‘Give Peas A Chance’.  There is a Facebook appreciation page for this bridge (https://www.facebook.com/givepeasachance).  I’m sorry bridge, but I do not want to give peas a chance.  I stand for peace, not peas.

I’ve been particularly unha-pea recently.  There are less than two weeks until Valentine’s Day (yawn).  This means it is impossible to go shopping without seeing tacky items covered in hearts.  I have one question: Who decided to make peas cute?!  I have found so many Valentine cards covered in peas.  The peas stare back at me with scary faces.  There are the ‘two peas in a pod’ cards.  There are the ‘we go together like peas and carrots’ cards — I blame Forrest Gump for that one.  ‘Ha-pea Together’, ‘Ha-pea ever after’… Why is this pea wearing a hair ribbon and lipstick?!

The only solace I can take from peas are the words ‘petit pois’.  Just say it.  Doesn’t it sound wonderful?

Apologies that all I have given you today is a rant about peas.  I hope you can understand where I am coming from though.  Please leave me a comment about your most hated foods.  Or, if you would like to defend the pea, go ahead.

To my millions of adoring readers, if I have not already made this clear,  please do not send me Valentine’s Day cards with peas on.  Or birthday cards.  Or Christmas cards.  Thanks.

I will try to make my posts a bit more exciting in future.

Long live the asparagus!!