My good friend KR once observed, as we discussed careers over burritos at my favourite Mexican place in Ottawa, that I was much better at expressing what I didn’t want in a job than what I did. In fairness, I was smack dab in the middle of a job low (brought on, in part, by the fact that she had recently left my division!), but being the self-reflective person that I am, I took this comment seriously and have used it several times in the years since to remind myself to direct change towards good, and not just away from bad.
This past weekend (Canadian Thanksgiving for those of you reading from elsewhere in the world) I celebrated 19 years as a vegetarian.
I was 14 when I made the several month transition into not eating anything with a face, as I sometimes describe it to people who want to know what kind of vegetarian I am, and to whom “ovo-lacto” would sound like a kind of supplement. Thanksgiving was my official start date because in the week leading up to the holiday, someone in my grade 9 geography class had called me on the fact that if I wanted to be taken seriously as I waxed poetic about rain forests being cut down to raise cattle in South America, I really couldn’t feast on turkey that weekend.
So, here I am, 19 years later, and, while I’ve come to terms with the fact that my vegetarianism has more to do with simply not liking meat than it does a grand attempt at helping to realign humanity’s relationship with plants and animals, I’m pretty proud of having stuck with this choice for almost two decades.
(Aside from a couple of dozen exceptions while traveling, being a polite guest, or, giving into my weakness for the salty goodness that is bacon . . . the potato chip of meats!)
That is, I was feeling proud until my self-reflective brain pipped up and pointed out that one of the things I’ve been the longest in my life was a “not want,” rather than a “want.”
So, yesterday I was determined to mark my 19th year as a veggie with a want.
I wanted to cook a nourishing, delicious vegetarian dinner using ingredients grown locally and disconnected from the less appealing parts of our food system (I may no longer be the type of vegetarian who waxes poetic about deforestation, but I still try to take advantage of the more healthful food choices available to me when I can!)
Roasted heirloom carrot, beet and potato soup.
Made with locally grown, organic veggies bought at the farmer’s market that takes place in my hood each Monday afternoon.
Something to think about as I start the countdown to my 20th veggie-versary!