Everyone knows that there are a lot of compelling reasons—considerations of health, the environment, animal rights— to go vegetarian or vegan. If you’ve ever seen those pictures of the production of meat, you know it’s a pretty heinous process, and the environmental affects of the industry are staggering. Plus, fruits and vegetables are so good for you!
In California, there is certainly a broad and robust culture of vegetarianism and opportunities to eat your way to a better life and world abound. However, there is always this pressure to be “100%!” To NEVER eat ANYTHING that has meat or animal products, or else you aren’t “truly” a vegetarian or vegan.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s definitely something to that—it’s the basic idea that the more you do something good, the better.
But there is this confessional attitude that can go with the lifestyle that can almost parallel that of AA meetings—“I was so bad, I ate a cheeseburger, shame on me! Now I’m not a real vegetarian anymore.”
Unless you are really motivated by animal rights, I think that the point should really be to encourage eating less meat as much as possible and not worry too much about being so hardcore about it, because overall I think it scares people off.
The idea is “vege-do-what-you-want,” as a friend of mine puts it. The more you eat like a vegetarian, with lots of fruits, veggies, nuts and whole grains, the better. If your body tells you that you need to supplement with some chicken, really, that’s okay too!
I understand that the idea of being 100% is to encourage society to create more meat-free options, and that’s really great. But especially when just starting out, the more you learn about satisfying dishes that are made without animals, the more accessible the lifestyle becomes.
So vege-do-what-you-want ladies!