Saturday, December 28, 2013

Going Vegan?




Last night I had dinner at Stripper Bites in Lewes with an old friend.  Hell, we're both old but that's another blog entry but back to my original programming, we had dinner at this fish place.  Since I'm to a fish eater I got my usual hamburger with :

lettuce
onion
tomato
cheese
and yes bacon.  

I got the WORKS!  And French Fries (of course).  Yes, the hamburger was good, well done just the way I like it with a hint of charbroiled taste.  LOVED IT!  But when I got back home and was talking to my vegan friend Pat on FaceTime I confessed to him that my stomach was churning, trying to process that beef in the hamburger.



My friend Pat is a vegan.  Not a vegetarian which is different but a vegan.  From what I understand a vegan not only doesn't eat meat, they don't eat any dairy products or eggs.  Pat is a vegan.  A vegetarian doesn't eat meat but will eat dairy products and eggs.  




Like most of you, I grew up in a household of meat eaters.  That was all I knew.  Beef, pork chops, hamburger, chicken.  My father was a hunter and he frequently brought home squirrels and rabbits which my Mother would make into squirrel dumplings, head and all. Yum!  Suck those squirrel brains out through their empty eye sockets.  In fact one of my favorite "meats" was scrapple which is nothing but corn meal and all the scraps left over from a butchered pig except the squeal.  I still like scrapple, properly prepared of course which few know how to do.


My 23rd birthday dinner with my friends Ed (on the left,t he same "Ed" I had dinner with last night) and my late friend Ron Hampton on the far right - that demure young man in the center is yours truly - 1964 - a typical meal back in 1964 - meat, meat and more meat

So where am I going with this discussion? The past several years my body has been telling me "Enough is enough!" after I've fed my pie hole with meat.  I think last night was the topper.  I did so enjoy that hamburger with all the fix ins but man oh man, did I ever pay the price for hogging down all that red meat, well done yet.


Pat in the center of Lewes, about a hour after I met him.  We were looking for a vegan friendly restaurant.


This past August a follower of my blog came down to meet me in Lewes.  His name is Pat.  Pat is a vegan.  We had dinner in Lewes.  He told me he was a vegan so I picked a place that specializes in vegetarian dishes.  We chose Cafe Azafran in Lewes. 

Pat and I at Cafe Azafran - our first meal together - vegan all the way - not bad!
For several years I've been trending away for having so much meat in my diet.  The only red meat I've had is round steak in my Swiss Steak recipe and an occasional hamburger when I went out dining with friends.  My main meat lately has been boneless chicken breasts but I'm even getting away from that.  I used to love pork chops but I just can't handle pork meat anymore, I get terrible indigestion. No more pork for Ron.



So what to do?  The standard salads served with restaurant meals bore me.  Always the decision "What kind of dressing do you want?"  However, I do love Eggplant Parmesan.  Properly prepared of course.
  

 The next night Pat and I went out, I suggested a Mexican restaurant that I liked in Millsboro. Acceding to Pat's desire for a vegan dish, we ordered grilled veggies. As the video above shows they arrived HOT. And they were delicious!  Of course the frozen lime margarita I had helped (I was on my second one folks).



Of course the all to frequent question to vegans is "Where do you get your protein?"  Folks, veggies have a LOT of protein.  


Pat with his smoothie at Nectar in Lewes - Pat is GREEN
Smoothies, that another thing I'm into now.  I have one every night, thanks to being introduced to them by Pat.  They are DEE-LICIOUS!  For any of you attending next March's Bloggerpalooza in Lewes, smoothies will be served at the Hospitality Suite along with Anne Marie and Sassy Bear's Cosmos and whatever other libations are on the granite counter.


Pat with his Three Berry smoothie at the Marathon Grill in Philadelphia during our November visit
I'm hooked on smoothies now folks!  I make a Three Berry smoothie every night for myself to put me to sleep.  Frozen raspberries, strawberries and blueberries with almond milk and two dollops of vanilla yogurt.  
The line at the Dairy Queen in Lewes this past summer - where I got my last Blizzard shake


Way better than one of those artery clogging, who knows what chemicals are in it? Dairy Queen Blizzard milk shakes (and cheaper too)!



Folks, I know it is somewhat late for me to get all healthy but better late than never.  After my numerous health crises last year (kidney stones, prostate cancer), I'm attempting to add a few more bonus years and extend my stay on this planet.

Pat and I enjoying yet another vegan meal at the Cafe Azafran in Rehoboth Beach this past August
I was so disappointed in myself last night that I fell back on my old habit of ordering a hamburger with cheese, bacon that was no good for me.  My body let me know because I suffered mightily before I went to bed last night.

My breakfast at the Marathon Grill during our Philadelphia visit - that was a veggie omelet - I'm half way there to a vegan meal - I have to give Pat credit because he doesn't preach but I can tell by his look that he is questioning my choices
Will I ever go "all the way"?  Maybe but it's going to be a gradual procedure.  I do like my creamed soups and butter and milk although I am becoming very used to Almond milk.

Pat and I at the Agave restaurant in Lewes - great salsa!
This one thing I do know though folks, is that when I eat a vegan or vegetarian meal it is fulfilling and my stomach doesn't suffer afterwards.  But can I ever give up chocolate chip cookies made with eggs and butter?  Hmmmm.

Pat, my vegan mentor, putting the finishing touches on a vegan meal he prepared for me
But folks, you know the best reason for a vegan meal other than your health?  It is the health of the millions of animals who are slain to feed our voracious appetite for "protein."  



So folks, I may soon be one of THOSE FOLKS who, when you dine with them, asks the waitress "What do you have on your menu for vegans?" 

Oh yes, I will again be the black sheep in the group and LOVE IT!

20 comments:

  1. Hey Ron - I think I'll send this blog to the Toronto Vegetarian Association (TVA) - I bet they'll enjoy your message. Yep, I'm a card carrying vegan and I get lots of discounts at sponsor stores. Many probably figure it to be too hard to desert their cherished familiar foods. It helps when you get to eat really good tasty nutritious plant based meals that it becomes a more natural transition. What is so great, for me, about plant based foods is that my body seems to get the nutrients it needs pretty fast and my appetite disappears. Love the cartoons too Ron. Love your message - but, of course, I'm in the choir.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pat,
      You've given me a good push in the direction I was going anyway. I'm undergoing the natural transition now. Have been for a few years now, just a little faster now. My body does say "YES!" though when I have a good vegan meal. Thank you Pat!

      Ron

      Delete
  2. A wonderful post, Ron! You go to a lot of trouble with photos and graphics. Good on you for making healthy food choices!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Paul,

      It's no trouble for me with the photos and graphics. I like doing them. Always good to hear from you Paul.

      Ron

      Delete
  3. Pat has such a wonderful influence on you. I love him the more for that. I am 90 % vegan (I hate the word). If I go to someone's house, I will
    eat some cheese and a little bit of meat to be polite, but I would rather not. I am doing it for health reasons and because I feel so much better
    on a plant base diet. I do not criticize people who eat meat… but being plant strong is the way for me and I really enjoy it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nadege,
      Pat is an excellent influence on me! I tell him he is an angel who came down from Heaven to make me a better person. He is delightful man who makes me want to be a better person.
      I think I'm like you, about 90% vegan (I hate that word too). I just can't eat big slabs of meat but I do like a little meat now and then. After that monster hamburger last night I made up my mind that I'm never going to order a meat entree at a restaurant again. They're just too large. I'll order a veggie wrap or veggie platter. When Pat visited in August that's all we had when we ate out and I enjoyed all our meals. Same think when we visited Philly. Only problem is that still too many restaurants don't offer much in the way of variety for a person who prefers a vegetable entree other than the "Want a salad?" Iceberg lettuce with tasteless tomatoes and a dressing bore me. I want something more adventurism. Plus, I always feel good after eating a vegetable entree. My body says "Thank you!"

      Ron

      Delete
  4. As more and more people eat a plant based diet, there will be more choices in restaurants. In California, there are so many plant strong restaurants, we are very lucky. You can always order a pizza without the cheese too… The quintessential "veggie-burger" can be delicious when it is other than soy… We just have to be smart about the way we eat. If you are fat, out of breath, full of arthritis, aches and pain, and
    exercising or plain walking is a chore, there is something very wrong with your diet. I know moderation is key but once you find what really
    works for you (even with a bit of meat, cheese or eggs), it just feels right. People won't know about it until they try it. It is all about education. I've got some great websites if Pat, or you are interested.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nadege,
      I was surprised when Pat and I visited Philadelphia last month that there were so many vegan options. Years ago I tried a vegan burger, it was awful. However, Pat tells me that the new vegan burgers are better. I'll give it a try. You have a point with soy. I don't like soy. I tried Silk, the soy milk. Don't like it. I like almond milk. Goes down a whole lot easier. Soy milk bothers me as do soy products. You body tells you what it likes and what doesn't work. One thing I know, when I eat a good vegan meal I feel good.
      Ron

      Delete
  5. With any dietary change, there are consequences. Changing back can have an effect, too. My doctor would love for me to go vegan. Quite frankly, it's a pain in the stomach to eat vegan. Even 100% vegetarian. But I compromise by trying to eat at least 5 meals a week that are at least vegetarian. Sometimes more. I know I lost weight when eating better meals. I felt better. As long as you are getting all the nutrients you need in your meals, without stupid supplements (which are starting to be shown to be useless or worse), then you should eat what you want.

    Peace <3
    Jay

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jay,
      I don't think I could ever go totally vegan mainly because I too love eggs. I can see cutting back on milk. But I like creamed soups and I don't think almond milk would be the same when I make a cream based soup. As I've gotten older my body is demanding that I not eat as much meat, including my much loved pork (love pork chops!) I definitely don't do supplements. Never believed in them. I say listen to your body, it is your best advisor as to what to put down your pie hole.
      Ron

      Delete
  6. Ron, I do think your body is trying to tell you something. You don't need all that meat and fat, you have to listen to your gut,literaly. I don't eat out at fast food places hardly at all. Any more if I eat any meat I'll portion it like a condiment rather than a main dish. Americans eat twice as much food than they need, mostly the bad stuff too. I also get the terms vegan and vegetarian turned around. To me a vegan sounds like they'll eat veggies and dairy and eggs, maybe fish. And vegans eat only veggies and fruit only. One thing I do know if I end up going to an all you-can-eat buffet with friends, I feel lousy for a good 12 hours after. It's kind of difficult not to do with Nebraska being beef country. Say you still going to Philly of New Years with Pat? If you are have a great time. Randy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Randy,

      You're right, your body talks to you. I don't need all that meat and fat. I stopped eating fat years ago along with steaks. It's just been the past five years or so that my body has really began is rebel after I eat a lot of meat (pork, chicken). I know one thing, when I have a good vegetable based meal, my body seems to be saying "THANK YOU!" I now have a smoothie every night. My gut is so appreciative unlike when I have a McDonald's (who knows what chemicals they put in it?) milkshake.
      A vegan is vegetable and fruits only, no dairy products. I'll always eat dairy products but I feel like I'm calming down on those too. I use almond "milk" to make my smoothies.
      I've felt the same way as you Randy after one of those all-you-can-eat buffets (which, by the way we're having at the Bloggerpalooza) meals. Even after I eat cheese I feel "down."
      Going to Philly with Pat for New Year's? No, Pat had prior commitments in Toronto. In fact today is his 65th birthday. He had a grand party last night. I'll see him in March at the Bloggerpalooza. I would have liked to bring the New Year in with Pat, maybe next year. We both love Philly.
      Ron

      Delete
  7. If any decent person saw how animals are "raised" for our consumption they would be horrified. I try my best to avoid animal products but do give I from time to time. I do not eat any red meats.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stan,
      My father, although a hunter, would never eat "baby" animals (lamb, veal) because of his time working in a slaughter house when he was a teenager. I'm like you, I avoid animal products most of the time but I do not eat any read meats (steaks, verboten). That hamburger I had a few nights ago, that was the last one. My neighbor Barbara will not eat chicken. She toured a chicken "processing" plant once. We have tons of them down here in southern Delaware, I will not go into one because I know that would be my reaction too. It's bad enough to see the trucks loaded with crates of chickens going to their doom. That images always stays with me.
      Ron

      Delete
  8. I saw this coming; I figured it was just a matter of time when you go vegan for Pat. Will Bill be joining you?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dr. Spo,

      I am so transparent, especially around you. :) Bill's been a vegetarian for years. Will eat the occasional meat (Quiche Lorraine) and dairy products but stays away from meat. LIkes fish though (which I don't).
      Pat is a good influence for me. I have already made some other changes in my life and will be making more as a result of Pat's influence. He's a good man.
      Ron

      Delete
  9. A lot of 'Food for Thought' here, Ron. Although I've been veggie for over 50 years I've always been nudging myself towards becoming vegan without ever having taken that final definitive step. I am careful about the cheese I choose to eat - and the eggs have GOT to be free range. (Would be a great sacrifice to give up on eating eggs 'cos I so LURVE 'em.) And I've gotten myself to use soya milk.
    But a real question to Pat would be - why does he not go one step even further than Veganism and become Fruitarian? I would if I could afford it - but having fruit, nuts and other permitted foodstuffs (there aren't that many, really) specially chosen (and delivered?) all costs more money than I can possibly afford to spend. I'd be very interested on hearing his answer.

    Btw: I've seen that you noticed my pussy cat posting and commented on it, to which I've responded. But one of the downsides of having pussies is that one has to feed them with meat and fish (from tins or sachets, of course) all the time. I find serving them lamb and rabbit, for instance, are things I prefer not to think too deeply about, though feeding dogs would be many times worse!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ray,
      Indeed, a lot of "Food for Thought." Even before meeting Pat I was going in the direction of a more vegetarian diet mainly because my body has been telling me to "Stop It!" when eating so much meat, especially red meat. I don't think I'll ever go "vegan" which is no dairy products (can't stand soy products either) but I'm just about done with my hamburgers and Swiss Steak. I thought I was safe with chicken but that's on its way-out too along with pork which I stopped eating about two years ago (used to love pork).
      I don't have a problem feeding cats or dog animal based food. To me, even though I don't like to think about how animals are raised solely for food, it's more about what my body is telling me that it just has a hard time digesting food rather than the ethical question of eating animals (although I don't like that either). One thing that definitely sickens me is the Asian habit of eating dogs and cats. Every time I see a Korean Airlines commercial I think "Do you serve puppies and kittens?"

      Ron

      Delete
  10. Ron,

    Might have been the French Fries!

    Lar

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lar,
      Oh no, NOT THE FRENCH FRIES LAR!

      RON

      Delete