Tuesday, 12 May 2015

confessions of a former vegetarian

It feels like everyone I know is either eating vegan - no meat, no dairy or Banting - mostly meat and dairy. Two opposite ends of the diet spectrum. Both have their merits and I have tried elements of each. You see, I used to be a vegetarian. Strictly speaking I was a pescetarian as I only ate seafood and dairy and eggs as animal sources of food. I would have loved to be vegan on principle, but it’s just too time-consuming for the life I lead. And, well, cheese. And sushi and Mom’s carrot cake with cream cheese icing and milkshakes and Pad Thai and… 

I was never on my soap box about being vegetarian. I couldn't say it was because I love animals (which I do) because what about the poor fishies, do only the fluffy animals count? I couldn't say it was because I don’t agree with factory farming because fish are some of the worst factory farmed creatures on Earth. I couldn't say it was because I didn't like the taste because I stopped eating red meat at the age of 10 and chicken when I left home to go to varsity. It wasn't like I hadn't tasted it. A few people accused me of just being fussy; others said I was using it as an excuse to starve myself. Maybe I was. The best way to describe it was that I just didn't need meat. And I was healthy without it so why not?

Then I decided to have a baby. With a carnivorous, chocolate scoffing South African man who had been warning me for more than 5 years – the entire time we had been together – that when I was pregnant I was going to want steak. The man knows me well. Before I decided to have a baby, or try for a baby at least, I knew it would change me. But nothing prepared me for ALL the ways in which it changed me. Number one: my diet. One day after three months of non-stop vomiting and nausea I could finally eat something other than salt and vinegar chips and marmite on toast. It was chicken. Plain chicken on plain brown bread (not the low GI seedy stuff, don’t be silly) was the only thing that didn't send me running to the porcelain throne. I can remember a particular day, not long after the chicken sandwiches had become my staple diet, when all I wanted was a roast. A beef roast. Nic thought I was losing it, he couldn't quite believe that what he had been saying for half a decade was coming true. He thought I wasn't pregnant but undergoing a slow lobotomy, day by day. Where his meat-eating genes were taking me over. Well, that’s exactly what happened. The only thing that kept my tummy full enough to end the cycle of starving, eating something, vomiting it up, starving again and then feeling sick from being starving…was meat. Yes, I'm ashamed to say any principles I may have had about animals and farming and eating cute fluffy things went out of the window. And before you judge me (yes you on your soap box!), try vomiting 25 times in one day. That is more than there are HOURS IN A DAY. You will not have the energy to fight for your principles; you will do anything short of harming your tiny baby to feel better. Believe me. Mini Nicholas was clearly in charge and there was nothing I could do about it.

So ladies you have been warned: before you let a man make you pregnant make sure you like him. And his inherited traits. And his diet. And his eyes. And most things about him. Because they are coming to take over your body. 

// image of delicious smoked salmon omelette with chive creme fraiche from drizzle and dip