One year, one day: The End?

Hello – me again!
Haven’t seen you in a while.

Yesterday I should have been celebrating my year anniversary of being a vegetarian, except… I’m no longer a veggie. About six weeks ago, I started eating meat again. Some of you knew it wouldn’t last, other veggie bloggers are likely to be disappointed and most people I know are absolutely delighted that I’m a little less fussy again.

Thought I’d answer some of the questions that have been popping up:

Why did you stop being a vegetarian?
There are a few reasons.  I’m a vegetarian who wasn’t eating any vegetables. Hopefully I’ll start cooking soon, but my diet consisted of some form of a carb with some form of cheese for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Not clever, not healthy and certainly not good for the hips. Quelle horreur!

When I became veggie, I had no particular reason for making the change. If you don’t have a reason for making a choice, it can be difficult to stick to it. Eating animals sounds gross and it is. I’m completely against the way many animals are treated in slaughterhouses. However, I was still eating A LOT of dairy products. The dairy industry is just as bad, if not worse than the meat industry – so I can’t preach about one and ignore the other. Looks like the vegans have got it right.

Remember when I declared that I would always carry a cow? I was right, I’m still carrying the cow and walking in one two – so until I get my mitts on some Stella McCartney, my fashion choices didn’t suit the veggie ideal either.

What did you break your vegetarianism with?
I’m not proud, but six McDonald’s chicken nuggets.

Is this the end of The Silly Asparagus?
I hope not. I’m not going to start posting pictures of meaty meals on here, but it’s a great space to warble on about life. I’ll still keep an eye out for veggie related news and restaurants. I still think I’ll return to vegetarianism – I just need to start eating a better variety of foods first.

If you’ve got anymore questions then keep them coming.

In other news, I went to Budapest recently. If you’re thinking of a city break I would definitely recommend it. Look out for my city guide, coming soon.

With love,

The Silly Asparagus x

Hungary bacelet

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Day 299: Time to catch up

Ouch! I can’t believe I have abandoned you all for so long. I thought it was about time we had a catch up.

Since we last spoke, I have been working hard, been in hospital, turned 22, survived another London Fashion Week, seen Plan B, watched Les Mis at the theatre, seen Biffy Clyro, eaten my body weight in halloumi… Yep, it’s all going on.

Firstly, work. I have been having a brilliant time interning with Cosmopolitan UK. I’m working on the student section of the website, Cosmo on Campus. If you’re a student, definitely take a look. If you’re not a student, there’s plenty to keep you occupied too. If you want to get involved or have any features that would be of interest to students, please get in touch. Although there are times when I miss university, I’m currently doing something I love and have always wanted to do. I’m pretty sure I’ve learned more at Cosmo over the last few weeks than I did during three years at uni. Regardless of what some might say, life isn’t so bleak for graduates.

In other news, I had a heart attack and nearly died. Okay, that’s an exaggeration and not funny in any way. I was in hospital, but I’m perfectly fine now. I haven’t been in hospital since I was four, so wearing a pink backless gown and no makeup for almost a week was quite a change to the usual routine. I’m not bringing this up to have a moan or get an ‘aww’ from you, it just brought a few things to my attention:

  • Nurses are stars. I was treated so well by the NHS and I haven’t got a bad word to say about them. They’re understaffed and do their best.
  • Never underestimate the power of Top Trumps. Sitting in hospital with your best friend, competing who is sillier out of Spongebob Squarepants, Squidward or Krusty Krab is incredibly good for the soul.
  • Life is short. Very, very short. Although I’ve always known this, when the lady in the bed opposite you dies, it definitely reminds you that no one is immortal (except Batman, obvs).

Okay, that’s enough of all the great revelations for one post. On to the entertainment… I turned 22. I shan’t dwell on getting old, but it was a lovely birthday. I went to see Les Misérables at the theatre. It was a stunning show and I would recommend that you go and see it. Warning: You’ll probably cry.

iTunes festival is currently on and I was lucky enough to see two shows. Plan B and Biffy Clyro. Both were good, but Biffy Clyro was INCREDIBLE. To say I’m in love with Simon Neil would be a massive understatement. That sweaty, tattooed, man is a beaut.

In my next post, I’m going to discuss veggie matters with you again. I’m currently reading a book called ‘The Meat Fix’ and I could be bringing you some big news. I just need to make some decisions first. Sounds ominous right?

If you’ve managed to read this whole post then thank you. It’s been pretty self-indulgent. I’m starting to share far too much with you. Please leave comments and thoughts. I love hearing from you.

Talk to you a lot sooner than last time.

Lots of Love,

The Silly Asparagus. x

Day 217: Manna

Hello my darlings.

What began as a blog about becoming a vegetarian has slowly morphed into a place where I share so many different aspects of the life of The Silly Asparagus. Soon, I want to tell you about non-veggie related things, such as work experience and graduation. So today, I want to make this post about the veggies.

On Friday, I ate at my first vegetarian restaurant. And wow, was it impressive. I thought I would review it and encourage you all to go.

Where: Manna. Vegetarian Restaurant. 4 Erskine Road, Primrose Hill, London, NW3 3AJ.

First, I’ll talk you through the food. I’ll then tell you all the little details you should know. I went to the restaurant with Mr. Carnivore. I promise I wasn’t eating two dishes per course! Most of the dishes are also suitable for vegans. I’ll add a ‘(v)’ to the dish name if it is vegan-friendly. Apologies that the images aren’t great, but I only had my low-battery phone on me. The food looks a lot more appetising in reality…

To begin…

Organic Hummus and Bread (v)
Considering I have been veggie for over seven months, it may be hard to believe that this was my first experience of hummus. It was really, really good and the bread was fresher than fresh.

Starters… 

Savoury Basil Pancakes (v)
‘A tangy gram and basil pancake filled with a tamari and garlic smoky bean curd, mushrooms and garden peas.’ These were very soft and very delicious.

Basil and Cashew Cheese Croquettes (v)
‘Basil and cashew cheese croquettes served on a bed of watercress and pea sprouts, with homemade chilli jam’. Amazing, especially the chilli jam.

Mains… Mr. Carnivore and The Silly Asparagus both opted for the specials, which you won’t find on the menu.

Pasta in a creamy white wine sauce, with cherry tomatoes and broccoli.

Spinach, courgette and garlic pie. Accompanied by a pea puree.

A side of seasonal mash and gravy (v).

 Dessert…

Lemon Cheesecake (v)
‘Lemon cheesecake, served with stem ginger vegan ice cream’. The cheesecake was delicious, but it was the ice cream that stole the show. The ginger flavouring was so prominent and spicy. It seemed that some smart taste technology had been used to create it.

What you need to know…
  • It isn’t cheap. If you’re eating on a smaller budget, try elsewhere. The meal above, for two diners, cost just under £80. I feel it was worth every penny. However, a can of (organic) coke will set you back £3.
  • This is a vegetarian restaurant. They do not serve any meat at all.
  • The choice is brilliant and the dishes contain so much detail. Because of this, meat-eaters should not be put off. Try it!
  • So many of the dishes are suitable for vegans. There is also a great gluten-free variety.
  • BOOK! The restaurant is extremely popular. Unless you make reservations in advance, you are unlikely to get a table here.
Talk to you soon.
With Love,
The Silly Asparagus

Day 129: Dairy Débâcle

Hello darling.

If you haven’t guessed from the title, this post is about dairy.  Last summer, whilst on a diet, my skin became quite bad.  Through a process of elimination, I realised that it was milk and certain cheese that angered my face.  After cutting out these products, my skin showed an instant improvement.

My findings were strengthened in Elle UK.  The April issue of Elle features a brilliant article about dairy products, ‘Truth About Dairy’. There are so many quotes I would love to share with you, but that will have to wait until I get my copy back — I left it at university and Elle May is now gracing the shelves.

What the article outlines are the reasons that cow’s milk is unsuitable for humans.  I am not a scientist, but the general gist is that a lot of humans do not have enough of the enzyme, lactase.  Lactase is needed to breakdown lactose (the sugar found in dairy).  Approximately 70% of people show some degree of lactose intolerance (it does not have to be severe).

Since January, my diet has not been particularly healthy.  It is time to replace my love of bagels for breakfast, with Weetabix again.  Ah, but what to pour over them asked Goldilocks?

Soya milk? Too typical.

Rice milk? Too high in carbohydrates.

Almond milk? Just right!

I very much enjoyed my first encounter with almond milk today.  It’s slightly sweeter than cow’s milk, which is great because I no longer need to cover my Weetabix in sugar (The Silly Asparagus has a very sweet tooth).

Almond milk is suitable for vegans and high in antioxidants.  Other benefits include being lower in fat and calories than semi-skimmed milk.

If you are anything like Mother Asparagus, you will start defending cow’s milk.  What about calcium? Almond matches semi-skimmed to the milligram when it comes to calcium.  Foods like sesame seeds and nuts contain more calcium than cow’s milk.  Okay, B12? Eggs contain more B12 than cow’s milk.  If you are a peschatarian, clams and mackerel are extremely high in B12.  Protein?  Pumpkin, squash, nuts and cheese are just some of the products that have higher protein levels than milk.  For Vitamin C, think peppers, broccoli, kiwi and orange.

I have not even reached the ethical questions that surround the treatment of animals in the dairy industry.  I won’t discuss ethics now.  However, I remember vegan tutor (learn more about him here: https://sillyasparagus.wordpress.com/2011/12/02/day-4-im-spartacus/) shuddering over dairy, stating that “The dairy industry is even crueller than the meat industry”.

Well, I hope that has given you some food for thought.  Time to get back to my Weetabix.

The Silly Asparagus

Day 127: TACO!

Hello darlings.

Today, I made dinner without the use of a microwave!  Things are looking up for The Silly Asparagus.  I made Quorn tacos and they were delicious.  The best part of the meal was when Papa Asparagus told me that I had cooked the chicken well.  Ha!  “IT’S QUORN”, I shouted with delight.  Victory for Asparagus everywhere.

Here is the recipe, which serves 2 (wow, I’m spoiling you this week):

You will need:                                                                                                                        1 teaspoon olive oil                                                                                                                  1 small onion, chopped                                                                                                      175g (6oz) Quorn chicken style pieces                                                                                    1 garlic clove, chopped                                                                                                      230g can of chopped tomatoes                                                                                    Sprinkle of dried chilli flakes (add more depending on how hot you fancy it)                        4 taco shells                                                                                                                          15g (1/2 oz) reduced fat grated cheddar

Serve with green salad and 2tbsp tzatziki

  • Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the onion and Quorn pieces and cook for 5 minutes (until beginning to brown).
  • Add the garlic and cook for a minute.
  • Add the tomatoes and chilli.
  • Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 5 minutes, until pulpy and fairly thick.
  • Heat the oven to gas mark 6/200 /fan 180°C.
  • Heat the taco shells for around 1 minute in the oven.
  • Spoon the Quorn mixture into the taco shells and sprinkle cheese on top.
  • Return to the oven for around 3 minutes.
  • Serve 2 tacos each, with salad and tzatziki.

This recipe was taken from a Weight Watchers magazine.  For those counting points, there are just 8 ProPoints in what you see above.  I will certainly cook this again.  For the recipe I have given you, I have lowered the amount of time the taco shells are put in the oven.  This is because mine went quite soft and split.

For dessert, I combined frozen yoghurt, meringue nests and strawberries.  Again, this is a Weight Watchers recipe and there are 2 ProPoints per serving.

I love strawberries, and I am now mature enough not to cover them in sugar.  I continuously praise Marks and Spencer, and it is easy to see why when it comes to strawberries…

Left = Standard Strawberry. Right = M&S Strawberry.

That’s all from me today.

With Love, The Silly Asparagus.

Day 126: Pat-a-cake…

Over the weekend, The Silly Asparagus finally spent longer than five minutes in the kitchen. Before you get excited, I did not cook a vegetarian banquet.  Instead, I baked around 40 cupcakes for the birthday of Uncle Asparagus.  The cupcakes turned out well.  I did not take a lot of photos of them though, as I feel they could have been decorated better.  I definitely found some cute candles though…

Cupcakes are one of the most simple things to bake, and they are definitely still having a moment.  Until I went to university, I thought it was impossible to make a bad one.  I was wrong.  During my time in halls, people would make cakes and leave lovely signs that read ‘EAT ME’.  These signs should have said: ‘DO NOT EAT’, or ‘EAT AT YOUR OWN RISK’. These darling cakes will not go wrong if you follow my recipe:

To make 12 cakes, you will need:    

115g Unsalted butter                                                                                                         115g Caster sugar (sifted)                                                                                                 115g Self-raising flour                                                                                                              2 eggs (make sure they are free-range)                                                                                  2 teaspoons Vanilla extract                                                                                            Splash of milk

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350) Gas 4.
  • Once butter has softened, beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl, until pale and fluffy.
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
  • Sift the flour into the mixture and fold in.
  • Stir in the vanilla extract and milk.
  • Spoon the mixture into cake cases.
  • Bake in the preheated oven, for around 15minutes.
  • Allow cakes to cool before decorating them.

For the vanilla buttercream:

85g unsalted butter (at room temperature)                                                                       225g icing sugar (sifted)                                                                                                          1 tablespoon milk                                                                                                                    1 teaspoon vanilla extract                                                                                                 Food colouring of your choice                                                                                       Choice of decoration, e.g. sprinkles

  • Put the butter in a bowl and beat until creamy.
  • Gradually beat in the sugar, milk and vanilla extract until smooth.
  • Add drops of food colouring until you have reached the desired colour.
  • Mix well.
  • Swirl the icing on top of the cupcakes, or pipe it on.
  • Decorate.

Unfortunately, this recipe is not suitable for vegans or those watching their waistlines.  If you are looking for a British touch to add to your cupcakes, I would recommend these paper cases (from Sainsbury’s).

If you prefer to buy your cakes, visit Candy Cakes (http://www.candycakes.com/).  There are four Candy Cakes outlets in London, and their flagship is in Windsor.  If you can’t get to one of their bakeries, they deliver to anywhere in London.  Their cakes are delicious and their window displays aren’t too shabby either:

As a lot of Candy Cakes have sweets on the top, make sure you check which ones are suitable for veggies!

I hope you have enjoyed today’s visual feast.

With love,

The Silly Asparagus.

Day 123: 4 Month Anniversary

Happy Anniversary to me!  I have now been a vegetarian for four months!

The Silly Asparagus has been far too busy to blog over the past week — apologies for my absence.  I have been eating out a lot over the past ten days.  I will now share three of my outings with you…

I have been to Nando’s twice in my life.  You can read all about my first experience here: http://wp.me/p21TV4-2i.  I have little to add to my initial views of the place.  I had the bean burger with mash again.  However, I did try something new: halloumi.  I hadn’t tried halloumi before, but veggies seem to get very excited about the rubbery cheese. I really enjoyed it, unfortunately my skin did not.  Eating certain cheeses causes my skin to breakout.  Cheese triangles are the biggest culprit — this is most unfortunate, because I adore them.

It was a week of seconds, as I made my second trip to another restaurant: Crazy Bear, in Beaconsfield (http://crazybeargroup.co.uk/beaconsfield/).  Crazy Bear has four restaurants: English, Thai, Italian and Japanese (opening in May).  The Silly Asparagus ate at the Thai restaurant.  Crazy Bear offers a set ten or twelve course menu.  A majority of the dishes contain meat, but can be altered to be suitable for vegetarians.  However, courses are put on the table and shared.  As the only vegetarian out of eight diners, it was inconvenient to ask for vegetarian dishes.  Thus, I ate a lot of rice and crackers!  I would not recommend Crazy Bear for vegetarians, if you are dining with a lot of carnivores.  If you are only eating with a few others though, it would be quite easy for Crazy Bear to fill your veggie needs.  For Thai-loving carnivores, Crazy Bear is a a delight.  I do not feel disappointed at what I ate — before turning veggie, the only Thai I ate was chicken satay.  I would not have gone anywhere near venison or the black cod that they had to offer. Dessert arrived, beautifully presented.  I’m not certain as to what it was, it resembled a panna cotta / cheesecake / jelly.  I was instantly suspicious of the creamy pud.  The chef confirmed my suspicions: ‘not suitable for vegetarians’.  After four months, I am getting good at spotting non-veggie food.  I was given sorbet instead.  MY GOODNESS, the sorbet was a mango, lychee, strawberry-infused heaven!

My final food adventure for today’s blog took place in Windsor.  After taking a look around the mighty Windsor castle, it was time for lunch.  Papa, Mother and Baby Asparagus ate at the Gourmet Burger Kitchen (http://www.gbk.co.uk/).  I hadn’t heard of the place before, but there are at least 60 in England.  I had a very yummy bean burger with super skinny fries (oh, the irony!).  My meal was delicious.  I do feel that it that it was over-priced though. Everything is an extra, including the chips and sauces!

“You can see the best sights in the world, but the eating is the best part of the day”.  Father Asparagus, Windsor, 2012.

With Love,

The Chubby Asparagus

Day 113: Super Soya

Hello darling.

My ‘Site Stats’ for this blog have shown that people have found The Silly Asparagus through Google by asking the question, ‘Do Marks and Spencer sell Quorn?’.  I haven’t discussed this before.  In the last year or so, Marks and Spencer have started selling food from brands other than themselves.  You can now go into M&S and find Cadbury’s chocolate, Kellogg’s cereal, etc.  However, as far as I am aware, they do not sell anything by Quorn.

If you have been following The Silly Asparagus from the beginning, you will already know that I love Marks and Spencer.  I might be a student, but places like Asda just aren’t my scene.  Whilst Marks and Spencer do not stock Quorn, they do have their own range called ‘Super Soya’.  Today, I bought the ‘Super Soya Sausages With Onion Gravy & Mash’.  Okay, I’m still not exactly cooking, but this was very yummy!

As well as the ‘Super Soya’ range, M&S also have a great vegetarian range.  I have briefly mentioned the range before (https://sillyasparagus.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/day-67-catch-up/).

I am clearly hoping that those in charge at M&S will see my enthusiasm and passion for their company and hire me as their vegetarian spokesperson.  I can see the posters now: ‘This is not just any silly asparagus…’.  Unfortunately, whilst the likes of Rosie Huntington-Whitely are around, I have no chance.

Well, that is quite enough free advertising for one day.

Bye bye.

The Silly Asparagus.

Day 111: My McLife

Today was not blessed with a yummy roast dinner.  Some of us are far less conventional and enjoy spontaeneous Sunday outings to McDonald’s.

I went up to the counter and asked for a veggie burger.  The response: “I’m sorry, we don’t do veggie burgers”.  The lady then raised her hand and pointed to the Deli menu.  Is McDonald’s now looking for Michelin stars?!  I definitely had a plain veggie burger at a McDonald’s about two weeks ago.  Maybe I just went to a posh one this time?

So, instead of having a veggie burger, I had the Spicy Vegetable sandwich.  It was yummy, and guess what?  It tasted exactly like a veggie burger.  This asparagus is silly and needed to pick out the salad.  Here was the meal…

Image

It doesn’t look great, but it tasted good.  People have asked me if I have lost weight becoming a vegetarian.  I can confirm that I have not.  I may not have consumed a BigMac, but I did consume this…

Image

In other news, today is Mother’s Day in the UK.  Happy Mother’s Day to all mummies out there and those that are no longer here.  Mother Asparagus does not read my blog (she is still coming to grips with things like laptops and iPads), but here are some old photos of the pair of us that adorn my wall:

Image

Image

Enjoy what remains of the weekend.

Veggie McLovin’

The Silly Asparagus

Day 110: Unlucky Charms

Happy St. Patrick’s Day my little leprechauns!

I am rather saddened today.  I went out last night, and in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, the club was handing out boxes of the American cereal, Lucky Charms.  After some two-for-one cocktails, my friends and I were sat around a table eating the sugary delights.  I took a handful and picked out the good bits: the marshmallows, and discarded the rest. This morning I awoke and realised that marshmallows contain gelatin(e).  I have therefore consumed a weird concoction of animal bone, skin, organs and intestines.  Whilst I am disappointed, it is the first veggie mistake I have made and it was unintentional.  I do know vegetarians who eat gelatin(e), but it is not something I will be eating again in the future.

I will be staying well away from Lucky Charms from now on.  Póg mo thóin,  leprechaun!

Enjoy your Guinness and jig!

Gráim thú followers!

The Silly Asparagus

Day 109: Ich bin ein Spargel

Hello.

Today is partly a confessional and I hope that you will be understanding.  Since becoming a vegetarian, I have been tempted to eat meat 4 out of 109 days (only tempted)…

Those four days were during my time in Berlin, about three weeks ago.  Before turning vegetarian, hotdogs were one of my favourite foods.  I quite simply loved them.  I would go to the cinema, mainly for the hotdog and not for the film.  I would slice frankfurters and sprinkle them on pasta.  I would have hotdogs on the BBQ.  Considering I am fussy, it was a weird food for me to like anyway — goodness knows what sort of meat they are made from.

Anyway, Germany is home to the sausage.  You can buy a coffee and a bratwurst / frankfurter for €1!  I ended up with a bratwurst in my hand.  Mr. Carnivore bought us one each on our third day.  A kind German man even covered it in ketchup for me…

So, I was about to eat this rather amusing looking food, but I just couldn’t do it.  No matter how much I used to love them, I am now a vegetarian and they are off the menu.  To his delight, Mr. Carnivore ended up with two.  The asparagus won.

I loved Berlin.  If you are looking for a cheap city break then I would recommend it.  When I went to Paris, I paid €7 for a Diet Coke.  In Berlin, you can get drinks from as little as 45¢!

Here are some more photos of the German food journey…

Standard airport breakfast…

Airport breakfast

Playing it safe with a pizza Margherita.

Dunkin' Donuts are everywhere in Berlin!

I adore the Hard Rock Cafe and the one in Berlin was no disappointment. As a starter Mr. Carnivore and I shared potato skins. Half had bacon on and the other half were without.

I had never seen whipped cream in soup until this trip...

Ich liebe dich, Berlin.

I hope you are impressed that I managed a post about sausages without making any puns.  Keeping it classy.

With love

The Chubby Asparagus.

Day 107

I wasn’t going to do a post today, but I have just read an amusing article by Suzanne Moore and thought I would share it with you:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/mar/14/meat-vegetarianism-dietary-advice-class?CMP=twt_gu

Whilst she is not a vegetarian and will continue eating what she deems ‘Frankenmeat’, Suzanne shares some funny anecdotes about her vegetarian daughters.  I can especially relate to the part about Quorn.

Enjoy.

With love,

The Silly Asparagus.

Day 102, Alphabetti:

I am a pathetic excuse for an asparagus.  When I began this blog, I had every intention of filling it with beautiful recipes.  I thought I would be able to convince carnivores, with my magnificent culinary skills, that turning vegetarian was the way to go.  I had dreams that my creations would even inspire those who have been vegetarians since breaking out of the womb.  The truth is, after 102 days of being a vegetarian, I have not cooked a proper meal.

I have friends that have become vegetarian or vegan for lent.  They are putting me to shame.  After two weeks, Alys has already posted some rather lovely dishes on her blog (http://hereistotheveggies.wordpress.com/).  My vegan pals have been making some snazzy food, including caramelised-onion tarts.

This is the stage I am at…

I am going to improve.  For the sake of my health (and fat ass), I need to widen my diet further than my favourite food group: chocolate.  You will find some yummy recipes on here.  Just not today.

I hope you are well and looking forward to the weekend.

With love,

The Silly Asparagus.

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