Don’t ask me for the exact day, but I do remember the exact moment I went vegetarian. Actually, I first went vegan (a very tough three months for poor old Matt Hribar). But for eight years I went along with cutting out meat. It was easy: I despised seafood and didn’t really eat pork or red meat. In fact all I was cutting out was chicken, some lunchmeat and the occasional hot dog.
Do I love animals? Yes! Did I do it to be trendy? No, even though I am trendy. I honestly went vegan/vegetarian because we watched a documentary called Forks and Knives in movie class. And I thought, why not try it? It was a social experiment. I didn’t know how long it would last, but it soon was like an allergy. You get used to it after a while, except you don’t have to sit at the lonely peanut free table in the school cafeteria.
My sister has been a vegetarian most of her life, but she was the picture-perfect vegetarian: thin, luscious, sunkissed and thin (oh wait, I said thin twice). My sister could hold a pineapple and cry ‘meat is murder’ and you’d expect it from her. That’s just her vibe.
On the other hand, my vibe is more: alternative lumberjack who enjoys food (animals included). It was kind of funny when people found out I was vegetarian, they’d clutch their pearls as if I was a walking conundrum. These shocked humans would be flabbergasted due to the husk of my bones, the frame of my muscles and the ginger coloration of my beard. “You’re a vegetarian?” was usually the comeback response: disbelief, confusion, surprise. The kind of surprise you had when finding out the quiet shy girl was a serial dater or when the geeky looking kid was a champion athlete.
Flash forward 8 years and suddenly my social experiment wasn’t exactly seeing eye to eye with the immediate future I was hoping to create. I had always been healthy, but two minor paradoxes had evolved into worry: was I doing all that I could to be healthy? Suddenly my simple salads and ‘moderation estimation’ wasn’t going to cut it.
I had always looked out for my body but now it was time to get serious. I rewrote my workout plan, upping the workouts to six a week and around two hours each. I changed my diet plan which becoming harder and stricter. I downloaded an app to track calories to really put on the pressure. But more importantly I questioned whether or not I should introduce chicken.
I talked to friends (some more qualified then others), I looked at possible vegetarian diet plans for building muscle while shedding a bit of my blubber…but nothing seemed as good as adding chicken back to my diet. Chicken, on it’s own, can be a superfood: high protein, little to no fat or carbs (when cooked lean). And that’s a GEM for my diet plan. So why not introduce it?
But I was scared, after all eight years was a long time! Longer than a lot of marriages, longer than the time you might spend at FOUR jobs (these days, am I right millennials?). Did I want to throw away all that time devoted to my social experiment turned lifestyle? But I was finally at an impasse: with an end goal of wanting to loose a bit of my dad so I could become a daddy, it was time to add chicken.
But I passed up every natural opportunity. “Try this chicken nugget”, “Try this chicken soup”. Like a sinner down the road from the church, I was not ready to change my ways. Instead, I needed a sign from a higher being.
And that sign happened today.
Upon visiting Costco, my sister, mother, nieces and I dined like kings upon the delicious Monday afternoon stock of samples. There was pretzel chips, some kind of peanut bar, even coconut water (sidebar: coconut water is GROSS but it was a FREE sample, so yes I had some).
We arrived at what appeared to be a veggie burger sample. Here’s the reasons I thought it was a veggie burger:
I approached the lady who was handing out the samples and said AND I QUOTE:
“Oh a veggie burger!”
And I swear on my life and the life of my future children, the sample lady said:
“Take it for a spin!”
Now, did she say ‘take this veggie burger for a spin’? No but there was an implication of the affirmation that it was a veggie burger. After all, if I had asked, ‘oh is this your cat’ and you said, ‘why yes’ even though you had your child with you…I mean, it kind of looks worse on you for agreeing that your child is a cat.
So I did take this burger ‘for a spin’. Only for my mother to say, ‘wait, is this a chicken burger?’ and for the sample lady to say ‘yes, with kale and mozzarella’.
I felt my body lurch as if a ship which had pulled out the brakes. I couldn’t even register the taste anymore, my taste buds having retreated to the underbelly of my tongue. But…but…she said TAKE IT FOR A SPIN!?
So yes, I do believe that this was a sign that it was indeed time to start eating chicken. And yes, I did enjoy two other samples of chicken (although the breaded chicken was terrible, I just want lean chicken for the protein). No worries, the buck stops at chicken (although maybe down the line I’ll include turkey. Day by day).
As for what’s next…well, I’m not trying to be the hot model, but just a better version of myself. And if that means evolving like a Pokemon from ‘vegetarianism’ to ‘pollo vegetarianism’, then so be it. With that out of the way, anyone got some healthy chicken recipes to share?
I keep saying "I write" but don't share anything. So here we go, let's share.