Food is more than fuel, it’s communion.

Michael Pollan

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Today marks three weeks and one day without consuming meat, seafood, egg, or anything squeezed out of a beaver’s nether regions. It’s taken me 133 days to reach this point. Here are a few of the lessons I’ve learned along the way:

1. Meat eaters have fascinating reactions to vegetarians. 

Outside this blog where I’ve documented the experience with occasional dramatic flair, I’ve tried not to make a big production out the change in my eating habits.  I’ve eaten the meat I’ve been served when I wasn’t given options (e.g., work dinners) or when I’ve accidentally ordered something that had meat in it (e.g., the egg in veggie fried rice). Otherwise, I’ve stuck to what I know is safe or I’ve tried to discretely find out what’s in stuff before I make a selection. My immediate family knows what I’m up to and some of their reactions have amused me. My mom wanted to know if I’d joined a cult.  She seems more preoccupied than usual with my eternal salvation/damnation. My niece just stared at me and said, “I have no idea what to talk to you about now.”  Some folks have affirmed the value of their own eating habits. Others have gotten wildly defensive. There was one peculiar incident at a restaurant when an individual reacted like my feeding behavior was a personal affront when I passed my roll (made with egg) to a happy roll eater. Her outrage over my anti-egg behavior lasted passed dinner and well into dessert. It was confusing to say the least. After perseverating on the topic all evening, she finally concluded her speech about the fabulousness of eggs and asked what my problem was with them.  All I could think to say was that I didn’t like the way they were manufactured. There were no further questions or discussions on the topic after that, thank goodness. On a few occasions – the latest was today at lunch with an old friend –  I’ve been floored and humbled by the silent observation, acknowledgement, and accommodations made.

2. Cutting fresh jalapenos makes your finger tips burn for HOURS.

I’ve never had the need to cut fresh jalapenos before this experience, but now I have special needs that involve fresh jalapenos.  More specifically, I’ve discovered that I need this: YUM  

3.  Very few packaged and processed foods are going to work for me.

 “Natural flavors” are hiding in many of these food.  Back to Nature is an exception (i.e., no natural flavors, mono/diglicierides or hydrogenated oils). 

4. A unusual breed of vegans exists in Ft. Lauderdale and they patronize a restaurant called Sublime.

Sublime’s patrons aren’t the bicycle-riding, dredlocked, pierced and tattooed vegans you might find at Whole Foods.  These people drive SUVs and they have complicated hairstyles that require gels, sprays, and dyes to keep in tact. I have no idea who these people are and what forces motivate them.  However, the food is good!

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