The Life and Times of a Carbo-tarian
In 2004 after a disturbing Thanksgiving experience, I became a vegetarian. Since I grew up in a typical Jamaican-American household, I was clueless on how to find and prepare vegetarian meals and unfortunately for me, meat alternative brands like MorningStar, Boca, and Tofurky weren’t as popular or accessible as they are today. In essence, I had to go “cold turkey.”
The transition was difficult. I was accustomed to a “Fast Food” lifestyle and my choices became limited and in some cases nonexistent.
In the beginning, french fries, mozzarella sticks, potato chips, biscuits, pastries and pizza were my staple foods. To me, most vegetables seemed strange and exotic and the idea of boiling all of my food wasn’t very appealing either.
My family and friends seemed somewhat upset that I chose to no longer eat meat. My friends made up fictional studies stating that it was unhealthy to live without the protein and amino acids only found in meat. My mother seemed annoyed that I refused to eat the specially prepared holiday meals, “all of the sudden.” In general, most people frowned or looked at me as if I were insane when I told them that I was a vegetarian… some still do.
Today, it is much easier to be a vegetarian in a carnivore’s world. Health and wellness has become trendy. Meat alternatives are readily available in every grocery store and vegetarian/vegan eateries are popping up in every city. The globalization of most major cities has created an opportunity for Americans to eat cuisines from India, Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Vegetarian dishes that were once exotic are now around the corner. Now, my friends and family, who were once skeptical, call me for my recipes and advice.
Due to my trial by fire, I am able to help them avoid the awkward “Carbo-tarian step and provide information, recipes, and support on their journey towards a happy vegetarian existence.