Posted by: conradvisionquest | December 21, 2009

Winter Solstice Dinner: My Vegetarian Struggle

WELCOME LIGHT and longer days!

Ok, ok, I know what you are thinking… “With all the mention of vegetarian and vegan on this blog, what the %$#@ is a picture of a cooked turkey doing here?” I can explain!

I am currently in a transitioning phase as far as my diet and values are concerned.  One of the reasons it took me so long to really make a go of becoming full-time vegetarian is fear- of having to explain myself, defend my beliefs, and of making people feel like they have to go out of their way because of my choice to switch to a plant-based diet.  Fear of change.  Fear of drawing attention to myself.  All of these fears have now finally been quieted (but still there!) by my growing opposition to factory farming and the treatment of their product: animals.  During this transition, it’s as if I am blindly feeling my way around in the dark, learning how to respond to my own self-talk and to people’s questions that are sure to come up during family gatherings.  Of course, I chose the holidays to decide to give up meat!  It’s enough of a challenge starting out, and why make it easy on myself? (what’s that? SARCASM?)

I am learning that even though it’s my personal decision what I choose to put in my mouth (heheee) and on my body, that doesn’t stop the curiosity.  No, I don’t think that people who are vegetarian and wear leather shoes are hypocrites.  I think they are doing what works for them, and that’s great!  I have no desire to make people think exactly the way I do.  However, I would like to see people become more aware of what they are eating and where it comes from.  I would like to see people take the time to find out where everything they buy comes from, how it’s made, and what it’s made with.  I think if more people did this, they would make conscious purchasing decisions instead of continuing to do what’s comfortable or habitual.

Ok, back to the turkey.  Every year at my work, the boss springs for everyone to get a holiday ham or turkey.  Before I had my major vegetarian brain-shift, I  was asked if I wanted ham or turkey.  I haven’t eaten pork in a long time, so the decision was easy for me to make then.  I did hear a little whisper in the back of my head say to choose neither, but given our current financial situation (which is similar to many “situations” across the country) the whisper  was overrided by another louder voice that said, “FREE FOOD.” Hence the turkey dinner. 

Unfortunately, in my busy-hostess mode last night, I did not take a picture of the turkey as I had planned, so this is a stock photo.  The rest of the dinner was vegetarian (butternut squash soup, herb-roasted potatoes, cheese dinner rolls) with the exception of the caesar salad, which I made the dressing for using wild-caught anchovy paste. 

If any of you are struggling with being a vegetarian in a meat-eating world, I would love to hear from you!  We can trade recipes and talk turkey, or tofurky, whichever.



  1. Sosae – Reformed Meat-Eater and Vegetarian (I have “reformed” from both!)
    Have I mentioned I love your blog? 🙂

    Hubby and I went from eating homemade burgers every day to strict vegetarian – for 4 months. We suddenly (and conveniently at the same time) started getting grossed-out with meat. Don’t know what caused it. We figured we had meat-overdosed. So we started eating only vegetarian: raw fruits/veggies/lots of soy products, etc. Family thought we were nuts (but then again, they’ve thought that for ages) but they tried to accommodate us. Actually, the whole family started making more veggie-only dishes, as we all grew conscious of just how much meat we were consuming. (That’s saying a lot, because my family is Easter European, we love our lamb!) Okay, so why’d we get back on the wagon (or fall off it? – whatever!) We continually did research about a veggie-diet vs. meat diet, trying to confirm we were right in going veggie-tarian. We kept coming across info on certain proteins that the brain needs to function. Over and over (yes, we were suspicious if these sites/articles were funded by the Beef industry!) we found that the human brain requires these proteins for thought and function, and they are only to be found in the protein strands of meat. (Sorry I don’t have links, this was a long time ago!) So, there we were, making really yummy veggie dishes and learning to be creative, and also, worried that we might overlook vital proteins and such that can’t be found in legumes and veggies. So we decide to hedge our bets. The result is this: we tend to eat 80% vegetarian. Once a week or so, we’ll buy some high-quality beef and organic chicken and create dishes around it. We don’t eat meat in the quantity we used to (not even close) but we eat it in strict moderation. We also enjoy it a lot more, because we get the good stuff, and since we buy far less, we can actually afford the good stuff. One thing I did learn after our vegetarian stint is this: stay away from soy! Over 90-some percent of soy in this country is GMO, and it’s so LOADED with estrogen, that it’s scary. (There’s so much estrogen in all of our daily-food, but it’s super-rich in GM soy and soy products, that I’ve learned to steer clear of it – this is not easy, because edamame has been one of my favorite sides of all time!) Also, my family has a history of breast cancer, and it’s been noted that the high-incidence of breast cancer in this country is a result of the surge in levels of estrogen in our daily intake. Hope that wasn’t too far off topic!

    Gummybear hugs for Wendy!

    • heeeeey sosae! ah, yes, i know exactly what you speak of. my husband and i get into discussions all the time about what is truth. you can find statistics and studies to support any opinion, and yes, you must consider the source. it always comes down to what is true for you and what feels right to you. right now my behavior is on the extreme side after watching some freaky footage of how farm animals are treated (google the documentary “earthlings.” i couldn’t even get through the trailer, much less the entire film!) i’ve been toying with becoming vegetarian for awhile, now just seems the right time for me. but, i will probably land somewhere in the middle, which is where it seems you are. there is a local farm here that sells hormone-free beef that is partially grass fed and free-roaming. that’s where i will be headed if/when i am ready to purchase meat again.

      wow, i have breast cancer in my family , too (my grandmother had it), and i LOOOOVE edamame (were we separated at birth??) yeah, i’ve read up on the GMOs and soy and corn. i stopped drinking soy milk, but i think i have a bag of frozen edamame in the freezer…i wasn’t aware of the estrogen thing. that’s good to know!

      thank you, again, for your very thoughtful comment! you rock, sosae!

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