I’ve been vegetarian for half my life. I started in my third year of university, but at that time, being skint, I continued eating fish as a protein source. A couple of years afterwards I went fully vegetarian, and that’s been the way ever since. It’s never seemed to be too much of a problem, apart from when I’ve been pregnant, when a succession of midwives have ummed and erred over my iron levels.
Until this year. Fourth baby born and unlike each of the other times, I didn’t feel like my body was coming back to me. Over six months down the line and I was still getting twitchy legs at night unless I remembered to take my vitamins, which let’s face it, I’m not going to do. And I felt constantly dissatisfied with food – I put this down slightly to Thinking Slimmer changing my relationship with eating. I just wasn’t happy with cereal for breakfast, bread for lunch and vegetables and carbs for tea.
The cereal was the first to go. Replaced by scrambled eggs with one or two slices of toast for breakfast. Shared with the baby it sets us up pretty well for the day and I’m not starving two hours later. Seemed good.
Lunch was still a problem.
Then I started making my own soups. Lentil and onion, following a recipe in my Rose Elliot Mother and Toddler cookbook turned out to be really easy and really filling. I do tend to have a slice of bread with it, but try to make sure it’s just the one slice. Broccoli and stilton another good one, and who knew roasted butternut squash soup could be so good?
Making them myself makes them incredibly cheap in comparison to shop bought – a pack of lentils with the onions required costs around £1.50 I think, and does around 9 days of soup.
But that still left dinners. And I found myself looking more and more often at the meat I was dishing out for the rest of the family.
So one night, I tried chicken.
Didn’t like it. Tasteless, little texture, complete waste of time. I felt really disappointed.
Next time around, I tried bolognese.
I loved it. I could see my vegetarian days slipping behind me. Except for one thing. A lot of the meals I’ve invented through the years I really enjoy. Particularly things like my vegetarian not-toad in the hole. And I don’t want meat every day. Certainly not twice a day. I seem to want it two to three times a week – I have a small amount of the fish when we have fish and chips, enjoy bolognese and have a slice of chicken when I roast one. But I’m still mainly vegetarian. If you asked me, the odds are I’ll forget that I ate chicken last night, and tell you I’m vegetarian.
But I suppose I’m not really any more, am I? Does that make me just a hypocrite?