Food through the prism of a vegetarian

A year ago, it never crossed my mind that one day I would be a vegetarian. At the time, I usually had very negative thoughts about vegetarianism as for the strict and picky diets people have to follow. Another reason why I didn’t like vegetarian diets back then is that when I was younger, I got to try some plant-based food that did not taste very good, much to say nasty or awful. So somehow, it prejudiced me against the thought of a meatless diet, or a veggie one to be specific. To some extent, I think those experiences gave me a very bad impression of how boring and tasteless life would be to only eat those bland ingredients for the rest of my life.

Besides, before I went vegetarian, I used to be a meat-lover, specifically a steak-lover. I couldn’t go without meat for a day, yes, even a day though I quite acknowledged myself that that kind of diet was not healthy at all! Back then, for every single meal I had, there was always the presence of meat. If it wasn’t chicken, it could only be pork or beef (I have never liked fish so that can be excluded here). I always made excuses for eating more meat than anything else. The most common reason I gave myself was that since I consumed a lot of fruits and veggies, I could allow myself to eat more meat in return (which I know did not sound convincing at all).

However, my diet has changed significantly ever since I woke up one random morning 3 months ago and the thought of quitting meat refused to leave my mind. It just happened so naturally that it scared me for the first few days. I was pretty sure that after a few days, that eerie thought would go away (and apparently it didn’t). Also, switching meat for veggies and dairy products for a few days was not that bad after all, I thought. Yet, till now, 3 months after that day, I still have no intention of having a single bite of any kinds of meat anytime again soon.

I have no religion so it has nothing to do with a religious reason to go vegetarian. It also has nothing to do with animal cruelty, health benefits or food allergies. Though I am aware that animal cruelty should be against, it has never been a really big problem to me, I have to admit. Why? Because since the start, humans have made meat an important ingredient in their diets in order to survive and provide their bodies with enough nutritions. This is my own subjective opinion about meat diets, it could be wrong, could be right, depending on each person’s belief I would say.

Toast with strawberry jam topped with sunflower seeds and rasberries

It turns out being a vegetarian isn’t as that bad as what I had thought before. The food isn’t that tasteless like what I had made myself believe long ago, instead some foods are a lot more tastier. For example, 3 months ago, I would never put sweet peppers and spinach in my pasta, let alone eating them raw. Now I do that, I enjoy eating them all raw so that I can really taste their natural states.

Vegetarian pasta with carrots, spinach, and sweet peppers

Before, my pasta was always sauced with a tremendous amount of ground beef; now it is replaced with a huge amount of sautéed spinach, kales, mushrooms, carrots, broccoli and asparagus (literally any kinds of greens I can find in the market). I kinda enjoy playing with foods, trying new recipes with vegetables and finding out which ones could go well together to enhance the best flavours. Besides, groceries shopping for vegetarian diets are fun too! I’ve got to know quite many new kinds of vegetables and ingredients which I didn’t know exist!

Going vegetarian does really help me adopt a healthier eating habit and certainly it has given me some digestive perks. I no longer feel so full after every meal I have because I believe my stomach takes less time and energy to digest fibre sources in veggies and fruits than those proteins in meats. Since my teenage years, I have already developed a habit of eating a lot of fresh fruits every day; now being a vegetarian and eating more veggies definitely intensify my fibre intake.

Breakfast with avocado toast topped with a poached egg

Avocado toasts have always been my Number 1 breakfast choice (if time permits of course), however, before going vegetarian, often enough I excused myself for choosing something else quicker and easier for breakfast over avocado toasts (possibly a bowl of cereals or some slices of bread with Nutella). During the last 3 months, I have woken up earlier to prepare my own breakfasts and lunch boxes because I know at school, there will not be many choices I can take when it comes to vegetarian foods. Either they are unhealthy (like fast-food) or they are flavourless.

The positive side is that I get to eat more avocado toasts (which I definitely love), I learn to cook a bit better than before, and I feel like I am more responsible, sensible and careful at my diets. Before, I did not even care what kind of groceries my family brought home from the market or how to prepare and cook them. Now I am the only vegetarian in the family so it basically means I have to make my own foods, shop my own groceries and control my own diets. And truly, I like it more this way because a vegetarian lifestyle fascinates me so much. Going vegetarian is a turning point in my life. To me, it’s definitely a healthy diet. It makes me think more positively. And no doubt it helps me take more proactive steps toward my life and my eating habit.

Matcha pancakes topped with pistachios and fresh pomegranate seeds

One of the downsides of being a vegetarian is that it costs me a bit more to shop for veggies and fruits, normally around $CA 90 to $CA 110 per week (before I would only have to spend around $CA 30 per week for my fruits shopping). Still, so long as it is healthy I will stick with it for as long as I can. Also, whenever I eat out with my friends and family, I always have to check with the restaurants in advance whether they offer meatless options. Sometimes they don’t offer any at all and I have no choice but to take desserts as main courses (nah, but I love desserts so that is still acceptable).

I also notice that since I went vegetarian, I get hungry more often. I no longer take large food portions or 3 big meals a day. Instead, I found myself enjoy mini-meals throughout the day. The diet actually makes me feel better in a sense that it makes my metabolism speed up and be more efficient.

Buttermilk pancakes served with fresh berries and apples

So, all told, I really like my current diet and I think I am going crazy for veggies and fruits more and more every day. I just can’t wait to wake up in the morning and having either my avocado toasts or those healthy matcha pancakes or any kinds of meals I can make from the ingredients in my fridge.

Nothing sounds better than having a dish of creamy avocado toasts topped with a perfectly poached egg, crushed red pepper flakes sprinkling on the runny egg yolk and of course a glass of warm milk with honey on a cold winter morning, by the window, with a good book in hand.

What do you think about vegetarianism? What is your favourite vegetarian food?

Please share your thoughts with me here or on my Instagram at @iamtrangdoan ! I am looking forward to hearing from you all!




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