Thursday, 21 April 2016

My Life as a Vegetarian

They say you are what you eat. If that's true, then I'm a bacon butty. Only joking, sometimes I eat sausages. And burgers. And other stuff like that. Y'know, meaty stuff. If you cut me in half, you would see 'carnivore' written all the way through me.

I have tried a vegetarian diet, many moons ago when I was an impoverished student. When I say 'vegetarian' I don't mean hardcore 'healthy' vegetarian, I mean things like egg, chips and beans. With lots of mayo.

But I did spend a year – actually, it might have been just six months, but it certainly felt like a year – sharing a house with two guys who wanted a vegetarian to occupy the third, and by far the tiniest, bedroom. The deal was that we would all contribute to the food budget and take it in turns to do the cooking. So I got the gig, but what they hadn't explained was that the flavour of vegetarianism they practiced was macrobiotic.

That was new to me, but here's a quick rundown of what macrobiotics eat. Grains, fruit and veg, no dairy, no meat, and a weekly fish allowance. And if I remember correctly, members of the nightshade family such as spuds and tomatoes were considered to be the work of the devil. And it goes without saying, you have to balance the Yin and Yang in every meal. And chew everything 50 times before you swallow it.

Hard work doesn't even begin to describe this diet. It was awful.

Things came to a head when I spotted one of the guys from the house outside a MacDonald's furtively eating a Big Mac. I left that house shortly afterwards, headed straight for the meat counter, and haven't looked back since.

So that's macrobiotics, and allegedly if you are a reclusive Japanese monk living on top of a mountain and you follow this diet, you can easily expect to live to be two hundred years old. Imagine, two hundred cold, miserable years without a single cheeseburger. I'll pass thanks.

I have many friends who are vegetarians of one sort or another. In fact my wife would probably be one if I let her in the kitchen. And that's fine, but just as I don't go round trying to make vegetarians eat meat, so I don't welcome attempts to convert me to a vegetarian diet.

Pop star and militant vegetarian Morrissey is fond of saying 'meat is murder'. And I can live with that. You may have my bacon butty when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.

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