Wednesday, June 29, 2011

¿Qué comen los vegetarianos?

I come from a vegetarian family, and up until a couple years ago I ate an entirely vegetarian diet. I eat meat occasionally now, but I rarely cook it (nor do I really know how). My day-to-day meals remain largely vegetarian or vegan. When I was growing up, being vegetarian was still considered odd in the U.S.; even in San Francisco people found it strange, especially for a little kid. I probably would have been teased a lot if I  had cared, but given that I never reacted it was always a subject of light humor as opposed to let's torture the weird kid with tofu for lunch. These days most Americans won't even blink if you say you're vegetarian (though I say this never having been to the American South, where I imagine you'd still garner a reaction). In South America, vegetarianism is still a novelty and an oddity, and especially given that eating meat is associated with wealth, it's not something that most people are attracted to. I get asked all the time, what do vegetarians eat? And though I used to say, everything you eat, without the meat, I don't think that's really true. And I do think that's why so many people who decide to become vegetarians end up feeling and/or being undernourished when they eat everything they used to, without the meat, or they replace the meat with fake meat substitutes. So what do we eat? To help to answer that question or at least, what do I, being mostly vegetarian, eat, from here on in I will be occasionally be posting my lunch (which could just as easily be dinner): normal, generally quite inexpensive, everyday vegetarian food. I should add a caveat, which is that what constitutes a typical meal for me changes depending on where I'm living and what happens to be available and inexpensive (South Americans aren't wrong that there can be a strong economic advantage to not eating meat). Plantains and coconut definitely count as everyday food in Colombia; in Argentina, not so much.

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Soy de una familia vegetariana y hasta hace un par de años tenía una dieta solamente vegetariana. Ahora como carne de vez en cuando, pero rara vez la cocino (tampoco es que sé mucho de cocinarla). Mi comida diaria en general sigue siendo vegetariana, sin lacteos aún. Durante mi niñez ser vegetariano todavía se consideraba raro en los EE.UU., hasta a la gente en San Francisco le parecía raro y más para una niñita. Me imagino que se hubieran burlado de mi mucho si a mi me hubiera importado, pero como nunca reaccione, hacían chistecitos sobre el tema en vez de tratar de torturar insistemente a la chica que trajo tofu en la lonchera. Hoy en día la mayoría de los estadounidenses ni parpadean si vos decís que sos vegetariano (aunque lo digo sin conocer el sur de los EE.UU., donde me imagino que todavía te mirarían raro). En sudamérica, el vegetarianismo sigue siendo una novedad, y supongo que en parte porque  culturalmente falta de carne significa falta de plata, la idea de ser vegetariano no es muy atractiva a mucha gente. Me preguntan todo el tiempo, ¿qué comen los vegetarianos? Antes contestaba, lo mismo que comen ustedes, sin la carne, pero ya me di cuenta que no es así. Y creo que por eso es que mucha gente que en un momento decide que quiere volverse vegetariano termina sintiendose enfermo o con hambre cuando sigue comiendo lo que comía antes, sin la carne, o reemplaza la carne con substitutos de soja. Entonces, ¿qué es que comemos? Para ayudar a contestar esta pregunta, desde ya estaré poniendo aquí algunos de mis almuerzos: comida vegetariana normal, corriente. Aclaro que lo que constituye una comida típica para mi cambia dependiendo en donde esté viviendo y que esté disponible y barato. Platano y coco cuentan como comida corriente en Colombia, pero no en Argentina.



Curried coconut rice with plantains, carrots and potatoes
Red cabbage with green onions, cilantro and lime
Avocado

Arroz con coco con platano verde, zanahoria, papa criolla y especias
Repollo morado con cebolla larga (verdeo), cilantro y limón
Aguacate (palta)

2 comments:

  1. this is all i want to eat every day

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