I have a dilemma. A HUGE dilemma.
I want to be more of a vegetarian. I don’t like the idea that an animal has to die just so that I can eat it and I would love to have the added health benefits of a healthy vegetarian diet. But…
But I love food too much. Sometimes perhaps a little too too much (my seconds are often still my appetizers), but all the same, I love food. I love all flavors and textures. I love trying new cuisines and local dishes when I travel. To me, travel and experiencing the world cannot be separated from the culture of cuisine and eating traditions.
My problem is this: I can’t seem to get the two to work together.
One particularly challenging aspect is that a majority of places I travel to just aren’t that vegetarian friendly. They do, however, have amazing food which contains meat.
Take Vietnam for example. Vietnamese cuisine is one of my favorites, but if I went all veggie, I would be eating cheese bahn mi, stir-fried vegetables, or just fresh herbs and white rice all the time. If I went all veggie, I wouldn’t get to eat the delicious meat-heavy dishes that Vietnam is so rightly famous for, such as pho, bun bo, and com tam.
Alternatively, you have countries like India that serve up some fiercely awesome vegetarian dishes in spades. With a multitude of options in terms of flavors, textures, and variety, I know I could totally go vegetarian without any problems (which I did the last time I was in India).
I want to have a heart filled with compassion and respect for all living things, but I also have a stomach that’s hungry for the different flavors of the world.
What’s a very conflicted flexitarian to do?