Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Vegetarians, Soy Milk, Leather, and Fur... oh my...

I started a blog last week that had high potential to offend because I am a little steamed with a certain "group" of foodies and I just read an article by a member of this group that makes me wish they are all like her.  I wish, I wish, I wish.... unfortunately that is a dream world, but it's wonderful to know exceptions still exist.

What foodie group?


I practically am one, but they drive me up a wall.  The vegetarians I know are the stereotype that Lauren Passell asks people to stop assuming she is in her article.  I know so many that are new age hippies, go to yoga, hang out at juice bars, harp on raw diets, eat only organic, and push their amazing and perfect diet jargon on everyone.  Passell is not that vegetarian.  Thank you!  At least one exists.

I too have dated a vegetarian (that was not the stereotype either) for almost three years.  He also ate eggs and fish and he did not care that I was not a vegetarian.  He didn't push his diet on me.  Not once.  He also wore leather (often) and didn't care about organic foods as long as it didn't have meat.  I have to say our relationship diet wise functioned quite well and he did act in the manner Passell promises to do.

Lately, I have been having vegetarianism shoved at me from every angle.  Not just the standard stay away from meat but the full on lets offer up sprouts and strange oats with goji berries, organic starfruit from India with some unsweetened hemp milk.  Oh and while we are at it remove any options people do enjoy eating to force them to eat organic vegetarian choices.  Kill me NOW.  Over kill, over kill, over kill!

Side note: offer me sprouts and I might get a quite bitter.  I am sorry but those baby's have been doing nothing but spreading disease, causing major illness and death.  Oh, E. Coli outbreak from sprouts?  Hey sprouts are on sale!  Lets go get some.. sorry no, thank you.

I have always been pro-expanding vegetarian options.  Definitely all for it since I don't eat much meat myself and I would be a veggie, but I can not give up chicken.  Most people think I am a veggie because I seriously love vegetables.  Since I don't eat much meat or fish, I get very tweeky when the veggies are not what I hope they will be (or when they just are not available).  VEGGIES!  GIMMIE VEGGIES!

We recently started meatless Monday's at work.  I think it's a fun idea to humor.  We have two entrees each day, but because of meatless Monday now both entrees are meatless.  This is stupid.  I love my veggie choices completely but I don't think its fine and dandy to remove options from people who do not appreciate having their standard diets altered to that of a vegetarian.  I personally think offering one meatless and one with meat would serve the purpose and make everyone happy.  I don't make those decisions though, nor do I want to.  Remember I like tofu and meatless entrees (except stuffed peppers or eggplant, ick), but just like I don't like being forced into anything I don't like seeing it happen to other people.  It's wrong.

I like my meatless options, but no I am not interested in fancy oats and starches, soy nuts, almond butter, hemp milk (I can't even... ), etc... no interest.  A perfect dish for me is loaded with veggies, black beans (oh yeah), maybe soy beans, heaps of garlic (an Italian raised me... hee hee), some pasta (not wheat pasta), and soy milk.  Regular normal Silk soy milk, vanilla sometimes.  Oh and 1 ounce of Organice 65% Dark Chocolate... XOXO Chocolate.  I will never go back to regular chocolate.  Once I fell in love with this chocolate all other lower grade chocolates do not taste like chocolate (or good).  That includes Hershey's.

I am lactose intolerant and it took me years to switch from dairy milk to soy milk.  It's not an easy change and I understand the faces people make when tasting it for the first time.  The thing is you can't expect it to taste like dairy milk, because it doesn't. 

I first tried soy when I dormed at F.I.T.  I remember buying a chocolate soy milk with a panda on the box at Gristedes.  I have one strange memory for details.  Can't remember what I wore yesterday but I can remember strange details like the color and brand of my friends shoes on a random meeting three months ago.  Weird, I know.  I remember trying this soy milk (it was chocolate it had to be some what tasty), attempting to drink it a few times, and then I vowed to not try soy ever again.  It was like drinking chocolate chalk.  My boyfriend at the time (the vegetarian) said I picked a poor brand and to try Silk and I refused to do it for years.  Instead I just gave up milk and when I did have it I either took lactaid or suffered the consequences without it.

Eventually, and I can't remember when or why (another detail I can't remember oddly enough), I did try soy milk, but the vanilla (which tasted much better then my first soy milk) did not mask the soy enough.  I then started on very vanilla which I love, then I started drinking vanilla more often, and now I am down to regular soy milk.  I don't miss dairy milk at all and I enjoy plain soy milk when several years earlier I was quite the opposite.  I have not tried another chocolate soy milk and I do not plan on it.  I still will not drink Lactaid milk either.  I have when needed but the thought of having anything that tastes like milk turns my stomach.
FYI to my lactose Starbucks friends: from working with Starbucks I can tell you ordering soy in your latte is NOT dairy free and the whip is definitely not non-dairy (unless you are at our Starbucks where it is =D ).  The ONLY standard lattes that are dairy free with soy and no whip are Cinnamon Dolce, Vanilla Latte, Vanilla Creme, Peppermint Mocha, and Mocha Latte.  I believe even the Chai Latte has milk in the concentrate.  Being lactose and having access to the bottles I have spent time reading the labels.  Stay far away from White Chocolate Mocha, Caramel Macchiato, and Pumpkin Spice.  Three of my favorites but the sauces have milk in them.  If it's something made with just syrup, like the Cinnamon Dolce, you're golden because the syrups do not have milk in them.  Yay!  If there is a Starbucks ingredient or drink you are wondering about ask me and I will see if I can find out.

There once was a time when I was at Starbucks several times a day (up to three, not including work) and I did not know about the dairy in the sauces and I never knew why I was so sick until one day when ordering my venti white chocolate mocha with soy no whip the cashier told me there is milk in the sauce, which lead me to investigating the bottles.  I am very grateful to her because otherwise I would have never looked and I now order more appropriately and I take lactaid when cheating for my old favorites.  :D

Anyway, I have gone on a huge soy and lactose tangent, but it all relates to vegetarian diets.  I also don't buy that I don't eat anything that was living.  I am sorry but that carrot your eating was alive until it was ripped out of the ground.  I don't eat most meats not because of saving the animals, but because I don't like it and I never did.  Not that I want to murder animals either.  As a kid I refused to eat meat other then chicken, hamburgers, and hot dogs.  I haven't changed much except I don't really eat hot dogs anymore.  I would not eat pork, lamb, venison, steak, seafood, shellfish, etc.  Was not happening.  Now I will have a filet mignon or pork tenderloin every now and then, but for the most part I have not changed.  I never liked it and I never will.  Unlike most vegetarians, I don't like leather and it has nothing to do with it being from an animal.  I don't like the smell of leather.  Bring me into a leather shop and I will go willingly but my nose will be clamped shut and my face will twist around all sorts of crazy.  I also do not care for the feel of most leathers and the ones that I do like creep me out.  Do me a favor and please do not tell me the type of animal and age.  It kills me.  I do not NOT buy leather though, it's just not something I look for.  Quite a few of my accessories are leather and if I were to get on the back of a motorcycle again I would have no problems putting a leather coat on.  None.

It's never been about saving animals for me.  I do believe in the food chain.  If I have a choice I prefer to eat free range and cruelty free meat products.  Even the major make up products I purchase are cruelty free (and PETA approved).  I think PETA is a bunch of bullies, but they do some good things and they put some good information out there.  Sometimes they leak information and spin it incorrectly but you can't deny that have some great information on cruelty information.

The one industry that relates to this that I do not care for is the fur industry.  I don't like it and I don't wear it, but I will never preach to someone that does wear it.  Although admittedly it does freak me out a lot when I see people in fur pieces and coats.  Leather to me is similar to fabric and fur most definitely is not.  I took a class at NCC called something like Home Furnishings and Accessories which was about various pieces to the fashion industry.  We learned about different aspects of jewelry.  The types of metals and all about different gems, where they come from, how they are graded, how they take on color (has to do with chemicals in the rock), etc.  Another thing we learned was about all the different parts of a shoe (toe box), the different soles, and the quality of work in relation to sewing verses fusion.  One of the reasons I do not buy Steve Madden shoes is because of that class (and a pair that fell apart on me).  Steve Madden soles are fused and not sewn which would be fine if they were at Payless, but for the cost of the shoe the quality of product and durability is extremely low.  Fused shoes, I believe, can be reglued together at the soles but for the price they charge this should not be the case.

We also learned about leather and fur.  I remember my professor saying how she was a meat eater and how vegetarians always looked unhealthy (which is not true).  In the same breath she said how she will not wear fur, but does wear leather because she eats meat and thinks of it as a by product of the meat industry.  Odd, yet settling.  While I don't remember much from this part of the class (as I was grossed out).  I do remember the actual workmanship that goes into leather and fur is completely different, both are lengthy processes.  She passed out examples of fur and it was like playing hot potato in class.

I don't care for fur, but I don't care if you do.  I may not be vegan, but I don't care if you are.  I also am a part time vegetarian that comes from a family of hunters and fisherman.  I am talking true hunters that have their prize deer's head mounted above the dining room table (okay so it is above the TV, but still).  I stopped eating fish after both almost falling into a lake where my grandfather was ice fishing and later the same day seeing one of the fish laid out in the basement for fileting and having the (what I thought was dead) fish's eyes move and look right at me and start flopping on the table.  I was really young and that memory still freaks me out.  So I don't eat fish much, but I don't care if you do.

I think Passell's article goes for all diets and all people, not just vegetarians.  Often we forget our own choices are not for everyone but just us.  It's not a bad idea to introduce something new but lets stop harping on what other people should do and just pay attention to ourselves.

I think vegetarians need to calm down their diet preaching because all it does is make me (miss. veggie lover) want to eat a Porterhouse Steak.  Yep.  Rebel I am.

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