I have been largely vegetarian for over a decade, and sometimes it’s easy. My parents have always been fans of serving up fresh fruits and vegetables, so they sometimes voluntarily make vegetarian meals. My dad’s specialty is zucchini-mozzarella pie, and my mother is partial to minestrone soup. I’m lacto-ovo vegetarian, which means I eat milk products and eggs as well as plant-derived foods.
Other times, it’s far more difficult. Upon finding out that I’m a vegetarian, many family members or friends have looked at me doubtfully and said, “Well, I suppose I could make you a salad,” when they had planned on grilling hamburgers for supper. Generally, they are all well-meaning, but have very little clue about what I can or will eat.
Over the years, I’ve been offered so much salad that I’ve rather gone off it. It lacks the heartiness of baked macaroni and cheese. For simplicity, I’d rather have a potato-leek soup, preferably with heavy cream drizzled over it. My number one comfort food is ice cream with raspberry jam and dark chocolate chunks. It might sound like being a vegetarian is all tofu and salad, but after eating vegetarian food for so long, I can say with some authority that there is a huge variety of vegetarian foods out there.
Some of them don’t strike my fancy – for instance, I personally despise tofu, which is often used as a meat substitute. Some of them I eat often, like a simple sauté of onions, mushrooms and tomatoes over linguine or fettuccine.
For vegetarians, Ypsilanti is not a bad place to live. The black-bean burgers at Sidetracks are lovely, with a spicy kick, and can be ordered as sliders as well. La Fiesta Mexicana has a variety of authentic Mexican plates that can be ordered as either meat or vegetarian dishes. Tower Inn makes a gigantic calzone “prestozone” chock full of veggie goodness. On North Washington Street, Beezy’s has homemade soups and sandwiches that are always worth walking a few blocks for. Over by Michigan Avenue, Café Ollie has homemade soups and sandwiches that are also always worth walking a few blocks for.
The Eastern Michigan University campus also has its own variety of options. Whether you frequent the Commons, Subway or Salsa Grille in the Student Center or buy snacks from the little stores around campus, vegetarian food is available. By the Towers, the CrossRoads MarketPlace offers freshly made sandwiches and vegetarian sushi.
In the Student Center, GreenMarket Bistro is a great option, with vegetarian stir-fry, wraps and sandwiches on its menu. Even if you’re carnivorous oromnivorous, try it sometime. You might like it, and eating vegetarian dishes doesn’t mean you are required to be a vegetarian.
It’s easy to sound condescending about food choices and to come off as rude when I ask, “Do you know where your chicken came from?” Many vegetarians are concerned about both animal rights and food processing. The latter, especially, can have traceable effects on our health. That doesn’t mean, however, that being vegetarian is necessarily a better lifestyle. I still eat unhealthy things like potato chips, ice cream and deep-fried onion rings. I eat them because they are delicious and like most people, I have a weakness for delicious things because it’s simply human nature.
For me, being vegetarian is the lifestyle that makes most sense. My choice is based on the fact that I don’t enjoy eating meat, but other vegetarians have their reasons. When I eat, I have two goals – to be conscious of what I’m consuming and to be open to new food experiences.
It's an opinion piece, you idiot.
Your takiya fools no one, budallah.
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