To Veg or Not to Veg

I was a vegetarian for a couple years, a couple years ago. It started when I was doing some grad work at Penn State in Elementary Education (which didn’t quite pan out for me). I was doing a hundred book reports on all sorts of children’s books when I stumbled across a book that changed my life, oddly enough. (I’ll have to poke around the Paterno Library and figure out what this book was called some day.)brocolli

It was a book targeted at teens or even younger, who wanted to educate themselves about being a vegetarian in order to allay any fears their parents might have about it. It offered solutions to counter pretty much any objection a parent might have, from how you would be able to co-exist with non vegetarians in your house, to health concerns.

I read this book just sort of randomly (we had to do SO many reports for Children’s Lit that I wasn’t took picky about what books I’d grab) but it really opened my eyes about vegetarianism. It seemed really healthy, and it seemed doable. So I gave it a shot.

When I lived in Ireland I had a roommate who was a vegetarian and it always amazed me how he was able to cook these really creative foods without having to use meat. But I really didn’t think it was for me. But I was doing it. I started out slowly, easing out of certain foods. Eventually I was full blown vegetarian. No red meat, no chicken, no fish. And I felt great.

That lasted for a while. Why did it end?

I began dating Kyli who was not vegetarian. And once you’re in a relationship and going out to eat a lot more than you might do if you’re single, you find that eating out sucks balls when you’re limited to perhaps one or two items on an entire menu (if that). We once went to a really fancy dinner put on the the campus Hotel and Restaurant Management department, where the groups had to plan out every course. I swear, everything from the salad to the dessert seemed to have bacon in it. I ate around it, but I was really beginning to get frustrated. Not long after that I was in Baltimore visiting my sister and we went out to Joe’s Crab Shack and I made the decision that I was going to just accept fish as part of my diet.

Kylene assured me this was just the first step into becoming a full-out meat eater and I guess she was right (although I never did end up eating babies like she said I’d eventually be doing). I slowly descended to the point where I am now, where stopping at McDonald’s on the way home from work doesn’t even make me flinch. I don’t think that’s exactly a good thing.

I don’t feel bad or anything. I didn’t gain like a billion pounds. I pretty much stayed a consistent weight. I think I felt healthier as a vegetarian, but that might have been in my head. You just cannot feel healthy after consuming anything from a fast food place. But have anything made with tofu or soy and you’ll feel like you just ran 10 miles.

I might do it though. I might try to start cutting back towards vegetarianism again. I dunno if I can go full out or not. But even just having a few vegetarian meals a week, or packing your lunch that way can be a good start. If only mainstream restaurants were more accommodating, it would make things so much easier.

Adventures in Sushi

Fridays are typically a day that, either out of laziness or some innate desire, I don’t pack a lunch for work. And it then means that I will have to inevitably order something.

I’m a big fan of LionMenus, an online ordering system for Penn State. For months you could count on me hitting up trusty Uncle Chen’s for something or other on any given Friday. But that changed when the delivery guy sorta went a little crazy. Apparently one time when delivering to the building I work at, he got his car towed. (I don’t see how that could possibly happen when making a 5 minute delivery… but I digress.) I guess he made up his mind he’d never walk into my building again after this. A few weeks later the same guy was delivering to me and apparently was trying to call me to tell me to come out into the parking lot to meet him.

Now, I would have done this, I’ve done it before for various delivery guys. But I didn’t happen to have my cell phone in my pocket at the time, and it vibrated noiselessly through his dozen calls. The delivery guy finally came inside and kinda let me have it, saying he called me a ton of times and he was never walking up here again… Now I suppose I’m just not too keen on ordering from those guys again. I’ve seen Waiting.

So today I hit up a new place, Fuji and Jade. I talked to a very close friend for some advice on what to order. You see, I was in the mood for some sushi. I think the first time I had sushi was in Pittsburgh in probably 2000. I was at a hibachi grill and somebody at the tabled ordered some, and I reluctantly tried it. Not bad. But since then I had only had sushi from the little take out trays at Panda Express, or the premade stuff you get at the grocery store. I never actually ordered a specific type. I was overwhelmed with options.

My friend lives in NYC and knows a thing or two about sushi. She recommended the Boston roll, which had lettuce and crab and other stuff in there. It was pretty awesome. And I also had a Philadelphia roll. (In case you are unaware, even though I didn’t grow up in the city of Philadelphia, I was raised on that side of the state, and am pretty much a fan of all things Philly. Would that carry over to sushi? Yes!) It was sushi with a bit of cream cheese in it! Crazy right? But it was pretty good. So who knows, this might become a new thing with me.