Apart from Thanksgiving, July 4th might be the most difficult holiday for vegetarians. Unless there are allies behind the stove, non-meat eaters often find themselves hungry, tempted, or dissatisfied. All weekend, I’ve been surrounded by carnivores that have an undying appreciation of meat. Chicken, beef, turkey, pork, you name it. There have been significant servings of everything meaty and of course, unhealthy.
As this is my first vegetarian Fourth of July, I’ve struggled to maintain my vegetarian lifestyle or even tell my family that I no longer eat meat. Discreetly, I’ve fixed my meatless plates with vegetables and carbs at each meal. But I’d be lying if I said the chicken and turkey burgers didn’t look delicious, as those used to be my favorite meat selections.
I’d argue that it’s easier for political vegetarians to avoid temptation during the holidays. I’m not an extreme environmental or animal rights advocate, even though I certainly care about both movements. My decision to go vegetarian came as a simple health precaution. I actually like the taste of fresh organic meat, but I don’t appreciate how it lingers in my digestive system and makes me feel bloated. The July 4th weekend certainly has been tempting, but I remain steadfast in pursuing vegetarianism as a lifestyle, not an “on and off again” diet.
BYOM – Bring your own mushrooms. Portabello mushroom caps are delicious on the grill and there are also infinite ways you can experiment with homemade veggie burger recipes. Make a batch, freeze them and then bring one or two with you to cookouts.
Yes, it sucks having to bring your own food with you, but it’s a minor inconvenience in light of being able to enjoy the festivities like everyone else.
When I first became a vegetarian three years ago, I would hate going out to friends’ cookouts or to a restaurant with my carnivore comrades. Then, I learned to make requests. At first they weren’t too thrill about it. But after the years came along, they were willing to accommodate me. It also encourage my friends to want to try out various vegetarian dishes. But if you’re still going through that “I miss meat” phase, buy a meat substitute to put on the grill. Just be cautious of the sodium those products contain. And the mushrooms the sister friend above mentioned, is a great idea: make your own veggie burgers & bring them with you. You never know, they (veggie burgers) might look so good & intriguing, your friends may want to sample one. 🙂