So we had a much-delayed team lunch during the week at a restaurant I had recommended largely because of the mouth-wateringly excellent burgers. But because it was delayed, suddenly it was November and I had taken a vow not to eat any meat for a month. So while my Allure colleagues enjoyed pulled pork burgers and duck ravioli, I ate pumpkin and beetroot skewers.
I like beetroot. I frequently add it to sandwiches. The only real downside — as I was reminded the day after I ate the skewers — is that the colour can pass right through your digestive system and come out the other end. But having to eat just beetroot and pumpkin while someone else consumes a burger is not good for the soul.
So far, this is the trickiest part of Veghacker: being reminded that my choices are restricted when I’m eating with others. I went to an even swankier work meal during the week, and there was a vegetarian option available for every course: It was all excellent: I had cauliflower custard with mushroom followed by charred pumpkin, black rice and broad beans. (Again with the pumpkin? Are there Halloween leftovers everywhere?)
This was much fancier food than I would ever cook for myself. But I didn’t get any choice about it. While my fellow diners could select between three courses, that was all I could select. And that’s undoubtedly part of the vegetarian experience. You’ll get an option, but in the mainstream dining world, you won’t get numerous options. For our work Melbourne Cup do, there was vegetarian sushi, but there was a lot more stuff with fish and meat in it.
Sometimes you don’t get an option at all. I went to a work breakfast and the same plate was offered to everyone. I could eat the yoghurt and the fruit sticks and the avocado (and I did), but all I could do with the scrambled eggs and salmon was scrape the food off the top so I could enjoy the toast.
When cooking for myself, I’m not so aware of the contrast. Here’s a non-exhaustive selection of some of the dishes I rustled up for myself during the week.
One option I was keen to revisit was Quorn, which is a meat substitute made from mycoprotein (no, me neither). The faux schnitzels were most enjoyable.
I was less taken with the faux mince used in a faux bolognaise — the texture isn’t quite right. I enjoyed the sauce of tomato and kidney beans I’d made earlier in the week more.
Dining in an airline lounge is also not a problem. Salad ahoy!
A final note: one week in, I weight the same as I did last week. Going vego doesn’t seem to be fattening me up, but the kilos aren’t dropping off either. I’m not doing this to lose weight, but so many people seem to think that’s an inevitable consequence. We’ll see. Either way, next week will bring a new complication: I’m on the road for the Note 4 Roadtrip, so I have to try and eat well without a kitchen and without breakfast bacon as an option.