Monday, March 21, 2011

It All Comes Down to a Crumbled Ball of Tears & Snot

Are you there God? It's me, Fat Cat. Like Margaret, I find myself dazed and confused over all of the ruckus I cause when questioning my status out loud... I don't eat meat followed by an infinite number of answers ways and opinions on what I should be doing according to every arm chair herbivore and all I want is a pocket sized rule book authored by Vegetarians on how to be a good Vegetarian but nooooo it's not been printed yet and probably never will be because everyone and their monkey's uncle has to step up and tell me what the fu*k I can  can't and should eat and oh by the way restaurant people CHEESE is NOT a MEAT ALTERNATIVE and if I wanted more FAT on my ASS I would smear fuc*ing LARD on my THIGHS! Whew. Deep breathe. I think I just broke about 50 grammar rules and I am feeling a little bit like a rebel. Suck it MLA, I don't need you today.

I have been a vegetarian for 51,840 minutes /2,160 hours / 36 days, but who's counting...oh yeah, I am, because it's been a long month with some hungry and upset stomach days, tough choices and less than stellar weigh ins. What? Vegetarian does not = super model? Holy shit snacks! I have found it is way too easy to trade meat for oh so yummy all things bread and breaded.  If i'm being honest- then I have to say my weight and addiction to being a size 10 again is driving me to succeed in this diet lifestyle change and driving me to declare war on carb overload. I would love to say I am enlightened and want to do better by Mother Earth and reduce my carbon footprint by opting out of cow and pig production. That I am suddenly an uber hip urbanite that eats Vegan style, wears hemp and Birkenstock shoes. That I am striving to be the perfect specimen of health while overcoming numerous health issues and setting a sparkling example of health and eating to my 18 year old daughter. No, I am doing this because I am a Leo- the worst kind born under a fixed Sun sign. Vain and flashy doesn't even begin to cover it. Look it up- bad. I have ceased in meat consumption because nothing tastes as delicious as shrieking in joy when trying on a new hot pink bikini with sparkles while your neighbor is crumbling into a ball of tears and snot and smashing the dressing room mirror on the way down to the floor to sulk and contemplate if the Spanx people have come up with an undetectable bikini body shaper yet. Sigh. Honesty- not so delicious. Roooar!

On the easy scale of 1-10, I would rate my transition a healthy 7. Giving up meat has been surprisingly easy- although there have been moments of , "well maybe if I just eat chicken and fish". Those moments have come pretty much daily in the last two weeks as I ready a house for market, finalize a long pending divorce, move in with Mr.Man and get ready for my daughter's prom and graduation. There has been alot of eating out. Alot. My choices have been slim and I have noticed most restaurants hear "loaded with cheese" when I ask if they have a vegetarian alternative I can try....but I will leave that rant for another post. Regardless of reasons, the scale does not lie and if I don't get my lioness ass back in gear and stick to the program  (the hot pink sparkly bikini program...not the tofu and soy tastes great breaded and fried program) I will find myself on the wrong side of the dressing room this summer wiping tears into my mane and picking mirror shards out of my perfectly manicured paws.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Let's Play Hide The Meat

I had no idea meat products are used in SO many things I thought were safe. Trying to avoid meat has been a freakin' culinary obstacle course. Are there band-aids for my hurt feel-bads when I discover I have eaten a little bit of meatiness? I imagine there are some people flinging their heads back in an evil diabolical laugh as I post my proud pictures of my fabulous-look what I found- meat free meals.  I said I imagine it that way...not necessarily that you do...i'm just neurotic that way. But I will save that for another blog.

In yesterday's post, I was so happy to have avoided 3 meat traps (one was sorta not a trap as much as it was being lazy). One dish, I forgot had bacon in it, until Mr.Man pointed it out and then I went to order another and found out it had lard in it. Jeez what's a girl have to do to get a guilt free meal on this planet!  I was feeling guilt free until my Sister In Hawaii called and let me know that the tortillas in the pic I posted includes,  you guessed it, lard! What's a little lard you say, it's just grease. Yeah well read on to learn how that's made...insert sound of me pounding my head on my desk here.

Let's go to lard school, shall we!

Lard can be obtained from any part of the pig as long as there is a high concentration of fatty tissue . The highest grade of lard, known as leaf lard, is obtained from the "flare"  visceral fat deposit surrounding the kidneys and inside the loin . Leaf lard has little pork flavor, making it ideal for use in baked goods, where it is valued for its ability to produce flaky, moist pie crusts (suddenly I hate flaky, moist pie crusts). The next highest grade of lard is obtained from fatback , the hard subcutaneous fat between the back skin and muscle of the pig (I just threw up a little). The lowest grade is obtained from the soft caul fat surrounding digestive organs , such as small intestines , though caul fat is often used directly as a wrapping for roasting lean meats or in the manufacture of pates. Wait, we roast lean meats in low grade pig fat? I'm confused. Thanks Wikipedia- I am forever scarred.

"And how would you like that veggie burger...deep fried in lard,
or smothered in bacon bits and covered in salami?"

Besides the once delicious stuff above, here's more of what I have learned to avoid in my short Vegetarian life:

*Hostess, Nabisco cookies and other wrapped bakery items. Yep, Oreos & Ding Dongs are off the table.

*Commercially prepared cakes, pies, cookies, bread, you get the idea.

*Soups & broths  -unless labeled Vegetarian and even then double check the ingredients.

*Prepared beans- most have lard! Boo!

*Tortillas. Double boo.

*Jell-O, marshmallows and anything with gelatin. I had no idea gelatin is made from boiled  hooves and butt holes...blech. Sorry but not even Dream Whip can make that thought taste good.

* Processed & boxed food. Who knew Hamburger Helper is flavored with "beef powder". Sounds icky. Now you might be asking why the hell am I eating Hamburger Helper anyway? Hello- hamburger is printed in giant -you don't need your old lady glasses to see- colored font right on the front of the box! I thought maybe soy-burger would be good in that dish but Mr. Man said he already learned this lesson the hard way: just because it says to add beef- doesn't mean there isn't already a little cow lurking inside the flavor packet.

So I ask you, what else has hidden meat or meatish ingredients in it? Help a sister out and comment below if you know of anymore surprise meat bombs lurking in common food.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

There's a Pig In My Beans

There are lots of potential opportunities to be an epic failure in trying to go veg. Used to be, I would mindlessly eat. Mostly because I didn't care that much about me and I thought, "what the hell, there are always sweat pants as a wardrobe choice if I eat too much queso!". Secondly, pretty much all foods were on the table (except bugs, organ meats and stuff with bones...ick!). Now I have to think about everything I want to nosh on- especially if it is in a restaurant. Thank goodness my Main Squeeze has lots of vegetarian experience and is always handy to keep me from falling off the food wagon accidentally (OK maybe accidentally on purpose). He has lots of other experience too, but to list the top 10 here would be bragging and borderline pornographic.

We went out to eat last night and he said he wanted Mexican food. Before 2/14 I would of been all kinds of excited- yum i'll take cheese dip, beef fajitas and barracho beans! Oh glorious fiesta of indigestion- I can't wait to hug you again! However, it is post V Day 2011 (if you don't know what that fun day entailed- read here: ) and I am obsessed with eating right (right to me- not necessarily by definition of everyone else's right so don't email a nasty gram to me accusing me of preaching..m'kay?). The mention of Mesa Rosa made my heart race and holy shit what could I possibly eat there and stay on track? That place is a dieter's hell with every kind of land and sea animal available on a tortilla covered in cheese. Could I possibly make dinner out of chips and salsa?

So I study the menu and figure Shrimp Fajitas would be OK- I mean that is technically meat but I don't feel bad about those little water roaches getting whacked in the name of nutrition, plus it's my only option besides a guacamole salad and salsa!

Main Squeeze asks the waitress to put the shrimp on the side (nicely played M.S.).

Now what kind of beans...i'll take barracho! Yum!

M.S.:  There is bacon and lard in that dish.

Fuck. I love those beans- or I did.

OK I will not cry about that and I will have refried beans- see look at me staying on track!

MS: Lard in those too.

Ugh. Black beans?

We have a winner!

Thank you Main Squeeze, for saving my ass (and I mean that quite literally) and always looking out for me. You make this whole journey fun, educational and sorta hot !

Veggie Fajitas, Black Beans & Rice @ Mesa Rosa

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

It Takes a Village Idiot

Being a Vegetarian is hard. Being a Vegan is way hard. Doing either of these becomes a daily battle once people start hearing about the changes you are making and then proceed to prove you wrong and dissuade you. One of the reasons I am trying so desperately to change my diet is to lower my blood pressure (one night in the ER thinking you will die from high BP would motivate you also), ironically, people challenging my choice sends my BP through the roof. So let's go to school, shall we? There are lots of variations of the two eating styles, my guess is there are more, this is just what I found:

Lacto-Vegetarians = eats dairy but no eggs
Ovo-Vegetarians  = eats eggs but no dairy
Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarians = eats eggs & dairy
Vegan Light= Eats zero animal products (including Jell-O, Oreos, most soups, etc.)
Vegan = See Vegan Light + will not use/buy anything made from animals (leather,wool, silk, etc.)

I am resting comfortably between Ovo-Veg & Lacto-Ovo Veg. but aspire to be Vegan Light. I don't like labels- I prefer to do my own thing- eat what makes me feel good- eat outside the box so to speak. Now you may be saying ,"Geez Cat, why do you need to split hairs- will there be a quiz or something?". No, no quiz- but some people still subscribe to the "it takes a village" philosophy of making their neighbor act right. By act right, I mean act like them-eat like them-don't you dare threaten to put the meat industry out of business-it's my job to change your mind- you're gonna die from protein deficiency- helpers. I did not know that there was a secret society of protein Nazi's out there that would interrogate my beliefs, goals and diet upon learning I did not want to eat meat anymore. WTF everyone! I think there are bigger problems in the world to resolve than what I don't want to eat or how I classify myself.

Most of my village people have hi-fived me for my efforts to be (in my humble opinion) a better me. Some have said you're crazy but go you! And then there are the village idiots. These are the few who act like they are interested in my new found enlightenment and engage me in conversation, ask questions, nod in agreement and then WHAMO say this: but your shoes are leather, animals are used in your make up, do you have silk underwear, where will you get your protein, women have to eat meat/milk/anything else village idiot eats but feels bad so I should eat it too- you have to eat meat because the Government put it on the food pyramid (guess they don't know the meat industry leaders helped design the food pyramid)- nanny nanny boo boo. Holy fuck- can ya just say good for you? I mean, when I was continuously eating  potato chips, soda, pizza and cheeseburgers- I don't recall anyone so passionately (well, not at all) attempting to stage a full on diet intervention! No one was worried about my protein or calcium intake- much less all of helpless saturated fat filled snack cakes I was consuming -much less pointing out the cons of my not so great choices-much less letting me know my ass was quickly approaching maximum density. Where were you then, food hero!

So why then, is it that when I say "I am trying to be a Vegetarian" do so many people whip out their Power Point presentation to show me how hypocritical I am by wearing leather but not eating the cow? Why do they insist on telling me i'm not a Vegetarian if I eat eggs, they are baby chickens you know! (yes I do know that- and if another person says that to me I swear to all that is Holy and the Steak & Shake Gods that I will resort to violence). And I thought the Jehovah's Witnesses stalking my apartment complex are invasive. When it comes down to it- I didn't put this choice to a vote. I am doing this for my health on my terms and rather enjoying the adventure.

In an effort to control my BP and trips to jail for homicide, I am adopting a new approach. If they ask about my diet I will reach out to them and share my new food adventures, how great I am feeling and how I don't feel any guilt while noshing down my new cuisine. And while I am still reaching, whack them in the forehead and let them know I am working hard to detox and I don't need their poison tongue mucking up my road to awesomeness. I might whack them again to make sure my message sunk into their little village idiot closed mind. Trust me, I know how to slay that kind of idiot, because I used to be one.