CarniBORED of your diet? Lettuce discuss some alternatives
A study by Serecon Management Consulting Inc. on Canadian food trends shows people are eating less meat and more veggies. These new diets have been growing in popularity among Ottawa students. Leaf-lovers are no longer the outliers they once were. Their growing population brings new lessons and lifestyle choices for the foodies among us.
Algonquin student Callie Fox currently eats small portions of meat but was a vegetarian for most of her youth. She is considering the lifestyle again due to the variety Ottawa offers.
“Ottawa is great compared to the small town I came from,” she says. “There are a lot more vegetarian options here and even the college cafeteria has way more to choose from.”
Fox dealt with a lot of vegetarian struggles in her hometown, including a mother that would sneak dairy and meat products into her cooked meals.
But Fox isn’t the only one. Algonquin student Martha Reid also went back-and-forth from eating meat to becoming a vegetarian due to difficulties back at home. Now in Ottawa, she has had a supportive group of family and friends that have helped her maintain her diet.
“The fact that it’s quite easy to find alternatives in Ottawa has made me change my diet quite a bit,” says Reid. “I still eat meat from time to time but it’s not a big part of my diet by any means.”
Dining with Friends
Whether you’re a vegetarian or meat eater, there are challenges at dinner parties.
Vegetarians visiting a meat eater’s place worry if there will be anything to eat besides just salad or if their food has been tainted by meat.
Meat eaters worry if there will be any meat at all or if the meat will be cooked properly at a vegetarian’s home, as it’s hard to cook something edible that you won’t be tasting.
Martha Reid dealt with her own struggles during her time away from meat. “People could be quite close-minded coming over. If you fed them veggie burgers, they’d tell you how delicious the meal was until they found out it wasn’t ‘real’ meat, then they suddenly wouldn’t like it anymore,” she says. “It’s more of a mental thing than anything else.”
But Ottawa jail hostel employee Cory Lefebvre and his live-in vegetarian girlfriend, Algonquin college student Emily Armitage enjoy bringing new dishes to gatherings to see the positive reactions people that don’t normally eat vegetarian.
Lone Star, a meat eater’s place according to general manager Randy Barker, has cooks that are more than happy to cater to vegetarians and vegans. As long as it’s something they have in stock, they are even willing to replace the meat portion of a meal.
“We get more and more people coming in that ask to have their meal altered, but the majority of our business still eats meat,” says Barker. “We take it on a situation to situation basis. Some tweaks are made like avocado appetizers but we can’t really offer stuff we don’t have in store, like tofu.”
Carleton University student Isobel Smith has solved the issue of eating out with vegetarians and vegans by checking the menu in advance.
Smith is a meat eater but her sister is vegan and sometimes family outings can prove awkward.
“The hard part is if I mention how good a steak tastes, her comments aren’t far behind about how gross it is that I’m eating animal flesh,” says Smith.