Today I attended a business luncheon at a fancy hotel in town. The meal started off great with a huge wedge of lettuce with tomatoes and peppers. They were considerate enough to keep the blue cheese crumbles and the dressing on the side. Even hotels can learn.

When the main dish came I was not surprised to see the offering: chicken and ribs. Not chicken or ribs; it was chicken and ribs. They looked like they had been cooked well and would be tasty, drenched in a glistening barbecue sauce (who knows how much high fructose corn syrup was in that). There was some kind of porridge stuff underneath the meat, and the veggies consisted of two spears of asparagus, which got their fair share of the BBQ sauce.

As is almost always the case at these things, the hotel offered a vegetarian dish, which I requested. Now here’s where the surprise came. The meal consisted of two white flour pasta shells stuffed with some kind of cheese laced with a little bit of spinach, a helping of sliced vegetables (the asparagus reappeared), and all of this was drenched in a cream sauce. So, basically I got a whole lot of processed flours and stomach curdling dairy. I instantly regretted requesting the vegetarian option and wished I could have gotten my chicken back. Almost.

Do you see my point here? Vegetarian, vegan, gluten free…those are just terms that tell you what’s not in something, but don’t tell you anything about what is in your food. And as happens quite often, the vegetarian option could actually be worse for you. Between a cream cheese stuffed canoli or a steak from a pasture fed, hormone free, organic happy cow, I’ll choose the steak any time. Obviously the beef should be eaten sparingly, but it’s a whole lot better for you than a bunch of dairy and processed flours and sugars. A Twinkie is vegetarian…and we all know how good those are for you.

Don’t assume that anything with those common labels is going to be good for you. We’re after healthy foods, not just foods that lack a certain ingredient. The mission is whole, unprocessed, natural, hormone free, antibiotic free, healthy foods, which most often come from plants. I can’t wait until the day when I can go to one of these functions and request the “fooducian” option. : )

I came home and made a sandwich. Whole wheat bread, tomatoes, avocados, spinach leaves and a little bit of sardines from Vital Choice. Full stomach, happy taste buds, and my body thanked me with an evening of blissful bowels.

3 thoughts on “Regrets of choosing vegetarian

  1. Hi there, just want to say that i love your website and couldn’t agree more with your article about the vegetarian option. The same thing happened to me when i chose the vegetarian menu on a flight to Europe recently. I am actually not vegetarian but i was worried about the quality of the meats. Anyway i was so disappointed in the abundance of creamy pasta and noodles and sparse, sad looking vegetables – and endless white bread rolls! Plane food is really the cheapest, low quality staple food. I mean how hard would it be to offer wholemeal rolls as option! But i guess the majority of people are happy to munch away on refined, processed foods so there’s no need for the airlines to bother offering good quality, healthy foods.

    1. Thanks Tasha. The battle on the ground is an uphill one, but we are making progress. I guess the fighting the food in the air will have to wait. 🙂

      Glad to hear I’m not the only one that has had that experience. Sometimes it seems it would be best to take the meat option, then just chuck it to the side. Most places replace meat options with cheap cheese and white flour pasta for the vegetarian plate. Didn’t take me long to learn to avoid it!

  2. Agreed… Eat healthy, stay with your body. Not fad. Some things are not meant to be eaten raw nor together. There’s a reason you are served a salad and or fruit with a high protein meal. To balance it out…

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