Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Vegetarian Thanksgiving

I've been a vegetarian for a few years now, and normally this doesn't interfere with my life...except for when I am desperately trying to build muscle at the gym.  ...okay, so I lied.  Not eating meat has a big impact on my personal life, but the impact is usually limited to feeble attempts at body building.

Aside from making me look like a living skeleton, not eating meat makes social gatherings that involve food a little awkward.  ...and almost all social gatherings involve food.

I freaking dare you to think of a social gathering that doesn't involve food.  ....Go ahead, take your time.

That's right, you can't!  Food is always involved when people get together.  Having someone eat something that you brought/preapared is a great way to show that you care about them.

But what do you do when that person refuses your offering of delicious food?  You stare awkwardly and wonder what the hell is wrong with them.  There's nothing wrong with me, I just don't want to eat meat.

Most of my family and friends are quite supportive of my eating habits since they really seemed to help with my weight loss and active lifestyle.  However, my "little" brother knows that if I ate meat I would be ripped out of my freaking mind...thus making me less of an embarrassment to his god-like biceps.

Unfortunately, not everyone in my family understands the benefits of a vegetarian diet.  My grandma is nearly 100 years old and finds it to be confusing at best, and deathly at the worst.  Yes, my grandma is nearly a century old...but that doesn't stop her from making sure all her grandkids are happy, healthy, and have a mountain of hearty food available.  I would rather gnaw off my left arm than disappoint her (I'm notoriously left-handed), so this makes meal time with Grandma a little difficult. 


Do I cave in to her request and break my vegetarianism to make her happy or do I run away screaming?  Neither!  I just eat obscene amounts of everything else!

Usually I can get away with eating a veggie burger or tofu-dog and this makes her extremely happy since if it looks like meat then it must be just as good for me.  Unfortunately, tofurkey is expensive and nasty, so faking it just isn't an option for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.

If you haven't tried tofurkey, it is like taking sawdust, tofu and breading, compressing it into a blob and then smothering it in spices.  Disgusting.

The only thing I hate worse than upsetting Grandma is upsetting my niece.  She is by far the sweetest and most adorable kid on the planet...and SHE KNOWS IT.  Brittni can get me to do anything, and I am not exaggerating.  I ran 16 miles during a heat wave only to bump into her at the finish and then take her to get shaved ice immediately after instead of passing out on the floor with a gallon of water as usual.

It's not that she condemns my diet and thinks it is stupid like my brother does.  She just thinks it's weird for me to refuse to eat anything that is delicious

Fortunately, there is one sure way to make any awkward situation enjoyable...booze!  As I have said before, I don't drink much or often; so when I do have something flammable in my glass the reaction is fantastic.  ...and family gatherings are always a good reason to drink.

My brother-in-law, Kevin, is easily the coolest relative I have since he knows how to solve problems, particularly the ones involving me awkwardly bumbling around the house trying to avoid questions about what is (or isn't) on my plate. 

If I were half as cool as Kevin, everyone would think it's awesome to be a vegetarian...when it really kind of sucks.


Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say, "Good luck, we're all counting on you."

Matt said...

The pressure is...is...like trying to fly an Airplane!

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I got my English degree and mountain of student loan debt from the University of Iowa. I like boo berry cereal, martial arts, running and cats.
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