July 11th is Vegetarian Food Day, a day to explore all that vegetarian food has to offer. In its broadest sense the term “vegetarian food” refers to foods that do not include meat and animal tissue products. There are several types of vegetarianism, such as lacto-ovo vegetarianism which allows for the consumption of eggs and dairy products, lacto-vegetarianism which allows for the consumption of dairy products only, and veganism and frutitariansim which exclude all animal products and honey from the diet. While many foods are traditionally vegetarian (cereals, nuts, fruits, etc), in today’s market there are many options that have been manufactured to mimic actual meat. These products are called “analogues” and are growing in popularity alongside soy and tofu products. Vegetarianism is practiced worldwide, and even dominates some cultures and locations, as it does in India and other parts of Asia. In the U.S., vegetarianism is a growing practice, and with vegetarian numbers on the rise, many analogues and soy products have shown vast improvement in taste and availability over the past couple of decades.
Earlier this month as we celebrated International Chicken Wing Day and National Fried Chicken Day, I shared my thoughts about my inner-struggle with the idea of adopting a vegetarian lifestyle. As I stated then, my love for animals and outrage at the conditions they are forced to suffer has made me consider removing myself from the equation of our meat industry. Right now I’m still part of the problem; I eat meat, and I enjoy it. But when I really stop to think about what I’m eating I get upset. In reality, I think the best I could do would be to limit my meat consumption to the occassional restaurant trip or social situations where there’s nothing else available; I’m not sure if I could quit cold turkey (no sick and twisted pun intended). But some of the analogues on today’s market do make it a lot easier to go vegetarian at home. Chris and I often buy MorningStar Farms products, not so much because they’re made of soy, but because they’re usually low calorie and delicious. I really like the corndogs, and both of us love the soy bacon and buffalo wings. Granted, they don’t taste like real bacon or buffalo wings, but they’re good in their own right.
To celebrate Vegetarian Food Day Chris and I vowed to eat vegetarian all day long. I’m sure there are plenty of days where we don’t eat meat, especially evenings where dinner consists of MorningStar buffalo wings, but it’s not usually something that we actively think about.