When I was an enthusiastic vegetarian in my twenties and early thirties, I found it challenging to be “the odd person out” amidst my friends and family–and mainstream food culture. Between my evangelizing and explaining my choices, meal time was not always very relaxed–for anyone.
Funnily enough, vegetarianism is much more accepted in the last 20 years and there are very few restaurants that don’t offer a “veggie’ option. These days, no one looks at you strangely at potlucks if you ask whether or not a dish is vegan. I actually have more friends who identify as vegan or vegetarian than not!
And here I am, once again striking out from mainstream food culture, but this time I am eating the foods I used to rail against–for many of the same reasons I used to avoid them in the past.
Read Lierre Keith’s intense and brilliant book “The Vegetarian Myth“–it sums up a lot of my thought processes in going vegetarian–and why I now choose to eat humanely-raised meat. Here’s an excellent review of the book.
Most of the foods I lived on in those vegetarian days are foods I no longer eat. I said goodbye to the bread, pasta, corn, beans, potatoes and rice–cheap carbohydrates that make up the bulk of most American’s diets. I now limit fruit to mostly berries. We grow most of our own greens.
I just finished reading Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers, a new book by Dr. David Perlmutter. It has given me even more reason to avoid carbohydrates.
So how do I live low carb in a high carb culture? Well, Andrew is a brilliant chef, so I am happy to eat at home most of the time. I’ve also learned how to cook eggs, steak & burgers to perfection!
We buy our most of our fish, meat, dairy, eggs and seasonal veggies direct from the local producers/fisherfolk at the Farmers Market. Cheese, dark chocolate, condiments and occasional non-local fruits & veggies are from the Food Coop.
Fortunately, I’m not a stranger to eating differently from other folks and dealing with the challenge of finding food I can eat when dining out. Burgers without a bun? No prob! I can even find something at a pizzeria, if they offer substantial salads or antipasti. Thanks to the Atkins craze 20 years ago, low carb options are starting to become mainstream. Local and organic food is not quite as available in restaurants, but it is growing in popularity. We have found that local farms+foodie culture breeds better eating-out options.
Potlucks used to be tricky, with so many vegetarian friends, but we bring some paté for me and a tortilla española for the non-low carb folk and it all works out.
Interestingly, several of my former raw vegan friends have recently gone Paleo!
When I travel, hard-boiled eggs, pre-cooked bacon, cheese and dark chocolate are my staples.
Fellow low-carbers; how do you get by in this high carb world?