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to think my friend is being unreasonable about vegetarian food

(71 Posts)
PurpleStorm Mon 04-Mar-13 15:45:25

I had a friend over for lunch today.

We were talking about food and so on, and my friend said that she could never be a vegetarian because "vegetarian food is boring."

I said that IMO this wasn't the case, as there are loads of different ways to cook vegetarian food, so if you do a bit of research into vegetarian recipes and use a bit of imagination, I couldn't see how you'd get bored of it. I admit someone who likes eating meat would probably miss meat if they never had it, but I don't think that's the same as being "bored".

I can see that if you only cooked a narrow range of vegetarian receipes then you could get bored of being a vegetarian very quickly - but I think that it's equally possible to have a boring meat based diet, if you only cook a narrow range of meat based receipes. So the boringness of a diet isn't down to whether or not it includes meat.

Friend was unconvinced by my arguments and continued to insist that a diet without meat must be boring. AIBU or is she?

(should point out here that I'm not a vegetarian myself and usually serve meat dishes when this friend is round for a meal)

flatbread Mon 04-Mar-13 18:05:37

I think meat is easier yo prepare, but a veggie diet can be full of flavour and varied.

I love Asian cooking with flavours coming from ginger, garlic, whole spices etc. rather than cheesy or creamy dishes.

I recently went to a restaurant (part of a hotel) which surprise! had a really good veg selection. Included cashew nut freshly made burger, roasted butternut squash with figs and mushrooms, zucchini with feta and other greens etc. None of the usual risotto and goats tart.

Dawndonna Mon 04-Mar-13 18:08:05

I have two veggie dcs. I just checked with them and they're not bored with their diet. They've been veggie for six years. I make a mean veggie curry!

IJustWoreMyTrenchcoat Mon 04-Mar-13 18:29:29

Theodora, how do you make your veggie sausage rolls?

aldiwhore Mon 04-Mar-13 18:43:42

If she said that in her opinion veggie food is boring then SWNBU as that's her opinion and you can't argue it. She finds it boring.

YANBU to think it's not.

SIBU to make it a statement of fact, because it isn't.

CityTiliDie Mon 04-Mar-13 20:26:13

Having been Veggie for 22 years and vegan for the past 9 SIBU. there is nothing boring about well reseached, well cooked veggie or vegan food. just ignorant corpse munching fools who think all meals start with a large piece of flesh!

It is laziness and ignorance that stops most people becoming veggies. It is well proven to be the healthier diet to a MEAT based one, and cheaper and more environmentally friendly but why let the evidence get in the way of a good old prejudice?

whateveritakes Mon 04-Mar-13 20:35:11

I'm always intrigued by the environmentally friendly bit.

As far as I can tell most veggie food in the UK consists of out season veg, flavored by spices from 1,000's of miles away, bulked out with nuts and lentils also from miles away.

BeeBopDingALing Mon 04-Mar-13 20:41:56

I'm vegan and what I eat is anything but boring, I'm always trying out new recipes. But a vegetarian friend of mine eats the same thing again and again and I would be bored eating his diet. I think some people just get stuck in a rut with food. It depends on the cook I guess.

floweryblue Mon 04-Mar-13 20:55:02

DSis was a vegetarian for years. She is also an excellent cook. Just about any meal at her house was super-yummy. Now that she cooks/eats meat again, the meaty dishes are less fab than the the nut roasts etc she used to make. Still better than anything I can be arsed to cook though

squeakytoy Mon 04-Mar-13 20:59:46

I am not a veggie, but I know I could (if I wanted to) eat a very varied and interesting diet without meat.

When I go to chinese or indian restaurants, I almost always go for vegetarian dishes as they are lovely. I only discovered paneer cheese recently and am addicted to that at the moment.

exexpat Mon 04-Mar-13 21:03:47

The most boring diet I can think of is my parents-in-laws' diet: ham and/cheese sandwiches for lunch every day (possibly with a cup-a-soup if they are feeling adventurous) and a very limited range of evening meals based on meat and potatoes, avoiding anything spicy/anything fussy/anything foreign/anything that wasn't a standard part of the British diet in the 1950s. But I am sure it would be possible to devise an equally monotonous vegetarian diet.

Really, whether or not a diet is boring depends on a bit of imagination and a willingness to try new things, not whether it contains meat or fish. There are enough interesting ways of flavouring and cooking things out there to make any basic ingredients interesting.

CityTiliDie Mon 04-Mar-13 21:18:47

Whatever you have a very ill informed idea of veggie food!

The environmental issue is a big one for a lot of vegans and veggies. There is an enormous amount of wonderful vegan food produced in the UK but the main argument is that animal/meat production is so wasteful, polluting, energy consuming and takes up vast swathes of rainforrest and UK farmland. In order to produce 1kg of Beef/Horse you need to feed the animal a minimum of 15kg of food! Why not juseat teh 15kg of food then you have 15x the food and can feed the planet also takes upto 100.000 litres of water to make the 1lg of meat ! Thats enough to keep 100's of people alive! All the animals reared for food produce enormous amounts of Poo and wee which all goes into your drinking water! It takes massive amounts of fuel to transport herds to the abbatoir and energy to slaughter, render, process, refridgerate, package and cook meat. Most rainforrest destruction os done to grow feed for the cattle to produce meat.

Not to mention the health benefits of the diet as well as the cost benefits.

One of the main reasons for me being Vegan is the moral issue. Who has the right to take the life of a living creature just because you are too ignorant to consider an alternative and you like the taste.

Long may your arteries harden, your cholestrol levels rise, your diabetes worsen and your moral lack compassion.

ColinFirthsGirth Mon 04-Mar-13 22:39:28

Well myself, my hubbie and our two children are veggie and I love veggie food. There is so much variety and loads of great recipes. My children eat veegie food better than they ever did food with meat in it. I think anyone that says vegetarian food is boring is either ignorant or hasn't tried enough of a variety of recipes.

ConfusedPixie Mon 04-Mar-13 23:05:52

No need to be rude City. It is a relatively valid point, many veggies (including myself) eat food that is out of season and is therefore flown in or cultivated in greenhouses, and include a variety of spices in our foods that have to be flown/shipped/driven in.

Before you say it, I know that it's probably cancelled out easily by the lack of meat consumption on our behalves, but it's still there.

Haggischucker Mon 04-Mar-13 23:18:20

Another long term veggie here, 25 years, I eat eggs and dairy but no meat replacements like quorn or even soya/tofu. Diets are very subjective and what's boring for one may not be for another.

DH eats a lot of veggie meals during the week and does not feel lacking at all but when we dine out he always has a meat or fish option. I have a bank of old faithful recipes but try new ones regularly to prevent too much repetition.

The thought of meat and two veg obviously doesn't appeal to me nor DH and he rarely has a Sunday lunch type meal. It's all about mixing up your diet, using items in season and being a little adventurous! It does grate on me when people look at me in sympathy when I say I'm veggie and the good old 'I don't know how you do it' type response, well I don't know how people eat meat. Each to their own I guess and with the restaurant point I chose restaurants based on menu not only for me but DH also and if I don't like what's on there I have been known to contact them in advance to do something else for me. Any diet or lifestyle choice is what you make it smile

AlfalfaMum Tue 05-Mar-13 00:30:23

"Long may your arteries harden, your cholestrol levels rise, your diabetes worsen and your moral lack compassion." confused you come across as ever so slightly lacking in the compassion department yourself, City. I agreed with most of your points up until then.

ivanapoo Tue 05-Mar-13 02:21:23

So Confused and Whatever surely meat eaters also eat flown in and out of season veg/pulses/spices too...?

In my experience vegetarians are more conscious about what they eat and are therefore more likely to pay attention to things like seasonality, where their food comes from and so on.

How many people eat meat or fish seasonally these days I wonder?

FWIW I think the assumption that veggie food is boring is so far from the truth - a quick trip to Ottolenghi or Terre a Terre will set you right.

But I will say that it usually requires more work and skill to create a tasty, interesting veg dish than it does to make a tasty meal based on a great cut of meat or fresh fish.

And some cuisines are awful for veggie food. Sushi and dim sum for example - never had good veg versions.

StairsInTheNight Tue 05-Mar-13 02:44:07

this thread is making me hungry. Please share the veggie curry/ chili/ veggie sausage rolls recipes. And any others! We might eat meat a couple times a week, though i usually avoid it altogether. I have never tried paneer, will have to get some!

FellNel Tue 05-Mar-13 03:45:30

And City speaking of people being 'ill informed' anyone who still think that our arteries harden and our cholesterol levels rise and we get diabetes as a result of eating meat, or saturated fat is rather ill informed themselves. I won't bore you all with the truth about saturated fat versus other sorts of supposedly more 'healthy' fats, but suffice to say that the non-animal fats many people think are healthy are wolves in sheep's clothing.

All those things you mentioned are due to a poor diet, not to a meat diet. A diet that is too high in sugar, mainly. Particularly fructose and corn syrup which is hidden in many modern convenience foods. Any of the ailments you listed could just as easily affect a vegetarian eating poorly as a meat eater eating poorly, and someone eating a very basic, pure diet of good quality meat, fish, fruit and vegetables but excluding wheat and processed sugars would be highly likely to have better cholesterol levels and more stable blood sugar than your average vegetarian who indulges in too many processed carbs.

Studies have shown that Inuits (before they got McDonalds and 'civilisation') ate a diet consisting largely of whale and seal blubber, with very little fruits/vegetables at all as they simply had no access to them and yet in spite of a diet extremely high in saturated fat and dietary cholesterol they had very low cholesterol, and very low rates of heart disease.

India is the place with the fastest rising rate of Diabetes, and it has the second highest rate in the world, yet it is estimated that vegetarianism is practised by anywhere between 30% and 40% of the population.

Funnily enough the rate at which heart disease and diabetes has skyrocketed has almost perfectly coincided with us being told around 40-50 years ago that we should eat more carbs, less red meat and as little saturated fat as possible. Another coincidence hmm was that is was also exactly when they started stuffing ready made foods with refined sugars and hydrogenated vegetable fats, and telling us they were 'healthier'.

If you want to be a vegetarian then by all means go ahead, but if you want to get preachy you need to be very, very sure that you know exactly what you are talking about.

chandellina Tue 05-Mar-13 07:14:16

Ridiculous. You can replace meat with substitutes so the argument doesn't even pass the first hurdle. I am not currently veggie but for no particular reason eat meat or fish in maybe two meals a week. I cook every night and prefer veggie.

exoticfruits Tue 05-Mar-13 07:20:31

Just agree to differ- any diet is boring if you don't have a wide range if foods. Vegetarians have a wide range- if they want to.

MrsHoarder Tue 05-Mar-13 07:28:51

I think she has a point, because its easier to have the variety if you can just throw some meat in. For example I've found that the perfect ingredient for most veg soups is one rasher of bacon. Just gives it something that I can't get when I make a vegetarian version.

We're not a meat and two veg type of household, but a small amount of meat/fish does make cooking interestingly easier.

lljkk Tue 05-Mar-13 07:28:59

Boring is a matter of opinion, how can you argue over that?

mmm... I was veggie for 16 yrs which was fine, never seemed boring, but have to say that in last 12 yrs that I eat meat, I find some veggie fare quite boring.

ConfusedPixie Tue 05-Mar-13 07:45:26

Ivana: i wasn't arguing that meateaters didn't eat things flown in, just that there was a point in that veggies do!

These days I know more meat eaters who care about where their foods comes from and it's seasonality than veggies who do weirdly enough. I know it's not always the case but I think awareness of where food comes from is increasing in all circles.

Fell: nice to see somebody in here who speaks perfect sense! It's amazing how many people know so little about when our diets changed for the worse and why.

I am a veggie out of habit. I stay veggie because I dislike the hypocrisy of a lot of people in this country in judging the meat other countries have, but have no issue in throwing away half a carcass abecause every don't fancy eating the lesser cuts. Many people these days also wouldn't be happy killing or preparing their own meat, which I find extremely ridiculous. Fine are the days when people really understand where where food came from.

It's also significantly cheaper than buying great quality meat!

curryeater Tue 05-Mar-13 09:30:36

All that angry, self-righteous guff from City is such silly rubbish. It's tempting to be cross at the ill-informed self-righteousness. But we should feel sorry for her, not angry, because it's hard to manage mood in a state of malnutrition.

As everyone else knows, high-carb = public health disaster, so we don't even need to go into that.

My own position, for full disclosure, is that I struggled on as a vegetarian (not even vegan, which I felt guilty about) for many years and only now while eating meat and fish again feel remotely well. I believe (because they tell me so) that it is possible for some people to be happy, healthy vegetarians, or even vegans. but I know I can't. I know it the bloody hard way.

However, although initially it pained me very much to feel as if I was prioritising my health over the environment, now it pains me in a completely different way to come to the horrible realisation that there is no non-disastrous way to feed 7 billion people on this planet. Agriculture - large scale grain production - has destroyed, for instance, the American prairie. I am sure many of you read about the humanitarian disaster caused by high prices of quinoa caused by Western trendiness of this food and the people who grow it not being able to afford to eat it.

The "one rasher of bacon" which someone mentioned above seems to me to be a brilliant solution to a lot of these problems - keep a pig, feed it on rubbish, convert rubbish into protein, salt and preserve the protein and eat it over the winter with your otherwise fiendishly boring and hungry-making local vegetables, like kale and turnips and cabbage. All low-impact ways of using the earth. Keeping animals is how to get nitrogen back into the soil, and they give us protein. Eggs only, if you can't stand to kill. If we could manage a way to live off the local earth like this maybe we could get all smug and high and mighty on message boards. But I'm afraid I don't. Not sure whether we could feed cities this way even in theory. In practice... oh it's exhausting.

So all I can do is not buy apples from stupid places like New Zealand (etc) and try to be healthy for my family, and keep them well. Pathetic. But at least I am not attacking anyone else about it.

aurynne Tue 05-Mar-13 10:11:27

"One of the main reasons for me being Vegan is the moral issue. Who has the right to take the life of a living creature just because you are too ignorant to consider an alternative and you like the taste."

I will just make a short intervention to remind all the holier-than-thou veggies that plants are living creatures too...

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