Tag Archives: vegetarian

Dear Airlines, I’m Hungry


Long-haul flights are painful. No matter how many baby wine bottles or Blood Marys you give me, they are still painful. The highlight of the flight is the meal sessions, because something is going on and we can do something while watching movies (when is in-flight Internet going to be a thing?).

What makes it even more painful, is the illogical ‘special meals’ system that you have going on.

I’m a vegetarian. Not anything too weird, I just don’t eat meat. I’m not too anal about the whole thing either, as long as there is not a dead animal in my meal and it’s decent, I’m happy. Now I understand that there are some anal folk out there, and that you have tried to trick us all into thinking that you cater for everyone by your very many types of vegetarian options and special meals, but it really doesn’t make too much sense.

I’ve always chosen the vegetarian lacto-ovo option, which is really just a normal vegetarian meal that includes eggs and dairy (it took me a while to figure out what it was in the beginning). I.e. Normal people food, without dead animals. Not vegan – vegan is all about not consuming any animal by-products, so eggs or dairy is definitely not an option in these kind of meals.  It’s really not difficult to understand.

So PLEASE tell me why I always get a vegan meal, labelled as vegetarian lacto-ovo? No cheese, no dairy, not anything much, really. Even when there is a perfectly suitable vegetarian option on the ‘normal people’s menu’, I’m not allowed to have it, because I ordered a ‘special meal’ (which does not actually match the ‘specialness’ that I ordered).

So while others are happily munching away on their pumpkin ravioli with Napolitana sauce, cheese and biscuits and nice full salad with dressing and cheesecake for dessert,  I am picking at a vegetable pasta and a dry salad, topped off with a bunch of grapes. Well, to be more accurate, because I got my ‘special meal’ early, I’m looking at the leftovers of my disappointing meal while drooling over the cheese on the tray next to me.

Yeah, don’t judge me on the number of Bloody Marys I’ve ordered, I’m hungry, dammit.

Kind regards,
The Hungry Vegetarian

Salvation Cafe, 44 Stanley

I am a little bit in love with Salvation Cafe lately. Situated in the heart of 44 Stanley in Milpark (an old series of industrial buildings, transformed into a meander of trendy boutiques and restaurants), it offers everything that I admire in food creation. Prepared with love and their own freshly grown herbs and greens, it offers a trendy buzz of deliciousness, complete with organic ingredients and plenty of vegetarian options.

According to their wesite:

All true!

Try creating your own fresh juices – a good ol’ ABC – apple, beetroot, carrot – with a twist of ginger is divine.

Get there early on a Saturday – before 9.30am – or make yourself comfortable with the idea of waiting for a table. It’s a comfortable environment (and they have wine) so tables don’t turn over so quickly.

Being in the centre of the buzz, it’s always  a good place to play ‘which hipster has the weirdest hairdo’ too 😉

Today I learnt…fasting isn’t for sissies

I’ve been fasting for the past few days and today is my first real day of eating food again, and thought I’d share my experience with you.

As my title says, fasting definitely isn’t for sissies! I did a 3-day juice fast, which basically mean that for 3 days I didn’t eat any food and only drank water and raw vegetable juice at meal times. Let me tell you the thinking behind it before you all think I’ve gone bonkers…

So there are various reasons for fasting (health and spiritual reasons) and mine were health-related. It’s said that fasting is a healing agent, giving rest to your system and eliminating impurities that have accumulated for years. The theory behind it is that during a fast, the energy that is usually directed towards digestion is available for repair and healing of the body and clears the mind. Seeing that I’m approaching 30 (still far away, but nonetheless, approaching) and I have never given my body a proper rest, I thought I’d give it a go. A bit of clarity never hurt anyone, anyway!

Sounds so good in theory, but in practice…holy moly it was difficult. You don’t realise how much time in your life is dedicated to preparing and eating food, and how much of a social role it plays, until you take it away.

I struggled…a lot…and not because I was hungry and weak – that feeling went away after about a day and a half – but more because the rituals of preparing food and eating are such a big part of my life. Without them, I felt completely lost!

It made me realise how much I love and appreciate food and how much I enjoy socialising over a meal or glass of wine and how much I love to cook. I have a new-found respect for everything that I consume. I have been privileged enough in my life to never have had to feel hunger for more than a few hours and this was quite a reality check for me. I was grumpy as hell for those three days (thanks to those around me for just putting up with it!), but nonetheless I am so glad that I tried this out. (Losing a kg or two was a nice side-effect as well).

I can’t say that I’ll do it again in a hurry, but I’m pretty sure that I will do it again in my life. It’s like getting a tattoo…sore as hell, but feels good at the same time.



Guilt-free food?

I’m not talking about calories here – I’m talking actual physical guilt. The guilt you feel when you cause another to be hurt, or take part in that suffering some way.

We are all guilty of blindly eating foods that we have no idea where they came from (no, not the grocery store’s shelf – there’s a whole lot that happens before it gets there) or that we don’t know exactly what’s in them. It’s a difficult act to take part in, because once you know, you cannot ‘unknow’. Most people would rather not know how that juicy steak came into being on their plate, because if they did, they’d likely not eat it. This would cause some serious lifestyle changes that, let me tell you, are not a walk in the park.

Having watched some of the Earthlings documentary recently, I’ve started to have to think more ethically and wondering how on earth I’m going to cope with this. The scenes in that movie show you your worst fears of how animals are treated in this world in the name of ignorant consumerism – they cannot be unseen. Traumatised after 30 minutes and jolted into the realisation that humans are indeed @ssholes.

Where do you stop? How do you live a normal life? How do you eat out socially with non-vegetarians? What started as pescatarian, moved on to vegetarian, is now leading into veganism. We’re not just talking food here, we’re talking clothes, pets, cosmetics, non-animal-friendly materials and unethical products in all areas of your day-to-day life. All these things contribute to the violent torture of animals and the raping of our environment and it’s not easy to find vegan-freindly alternatives.

Having some amazing vegetarian/vegan friends along the way helps a lot, but mingling with the rest of society seems to be a problem.

I just know that I’d rather consume life-giving food than life-taking foods. And I don’t want to be part of any industry that contributes to the unethical treatment of animals. Maybe it really is that simple.

Stick around for some more posts about this journey, I’m sure I’ll have lots to share along the way. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter too.

Earthlings: The violent and heartbreaking truth about society’s treatment of animals

Earthlings’ documentary on the truth of society’s treatment of animals was brought to my attention by @claremelina recently. Human beings are @ssholes. Not all of us, but as a race in general, we really mess it up. As a vegetarian, I already don’t agree with the way that animals are treated and the impact of meat production on our world, but I usually steer clear of all those shocking ‘look how horribly animals are treated’ videos.

At first I decided that I didn’t want to watch even the trailer because I know the horrific way that animals are treated and I don’t need to see it with my own eyes to believe it.

I decided to eventually watch the trailer because it has been on my mind since then and I am sure I’ll be watching the full movie as well.

It’s important for us to remind ourselves why we do the things that we do and why we believe in what we do. Especially as a vegetarian in a meat-obsessed country where it is difficult to stick to your beliefs without having some form of mockery and disbelief directed your way. We need to FEEL the impact that we have on our world and this is what makes us human beings.

I urge you to watch just the trailer. It isn’t very long, but at least be informed – whether you eat meat or not. Just know what is happening out there. Let yourself as a human being feel…I think somewhere along the way that’s been lost.

Gingko Restaurant – Parkview

Always on the lookout for a hot wi-fi spot, I came across Gingko Restaurant in Parkview today. Although not a vegetarian or vegan restaurant, it boasts a menu with extensive vegetarian and organic options, with all fresh ingredients, free from preservatives and all that other rubbish that molests our food these days.

Jozi has some vegetarian and natural food restaurants (check them out here), but they tend to have a very cafe kind of feel, which is great, but Gingko is more of a ‘real’ restaurant in its’ setting.

I’ve only tried their breakfast menu, which has extensive options – enough teas and smoothies and shakes and and and to make anyone drool. I’ll definitely be back for some more and to relax on their deck with my Mac-Baby to get some work done from time to time.

They also have a small section where you can buy healthy foods. I think it’s great.

The Fat Vegetarian

If you read my blog often you’ll know that I am quite peaceful vegetarian and don’t push my dietary choices on anyone else, ever. From time to time, though, I do need to have a rant at the ignorance of others towards vegetarianism.

I am a firm believer in accommodating others’ beliefs and most people generally are too…except when it comes to vegetarians. It’s like as soon as you utter the ‘V’ word, you become a disgrace to society and a disappointment to the human race. If certain religious beliefs require you to abstain from certain foods, e.g. Pork in the Jewish faith, how is this acceptable to others whereas vegetarianism is not?

From now on I’ll just call it ‘V’ so as not to offend anyone. Like the ‘F’ word sounds much more PC than swearing directly on my blog.

I think it is far more difficult in a rampant meat-eating country like South Africa to have a non-meat diet, which is why you lucky readers get to hear my rants from time to time.

I’m at a beautiful resort in the Transkei at the moment, which I’ll blog about when I’m back, with fully catered meals 3 times a day. The mass of food is insane, and the variety is crazy…yet I am still struggling to have a healthy ‘V’ diet here.

Any other ‘V’s out there will know how this is so, as the mentality seems to be: ‘What should we feed these stupid ‘V’s? I know, whatever we would feed the ‘normal’ people, but without the meat.’

So we end up with side veggies and potatoes most of the time (Oh ‘F’, should I have used the ‘V’ for that too?). Or a ‘V’ pasta with leftover veggies and loads of oil tossed in pasta. Or some sort of pasta bake drowned in a creamy cheese sauce. Or my personal FAVOURITE…spinach and feta in some sort of oily pastry.

I may be a bit dramatic in this post, but it honestly does not make sense to me. Generally speaking, ‘V’s are health-conscious people, so why would caterers want to feed us such rich and starchy rubbish?

In a world that is falling apart and being raped of resources (much of this is attributed to meat production) many people are already more socially aware of their impact on the environment and their general health. Where is South Africa in this debate? Nowhere.

At least be accommodating of other people’s beliefs and lifestyles, whatever they are. It helps. A lot.

On that note, let’s all go hug a tree and pray for a ‘V’.