Welcome to my website about living as a vegetarian in Europe.
I am a vegetarian who make my living as a certified nursing assistant. I have lived all over the world and i have to say that northern Europe is one of the easiest places in the world to live in as a vegetarian. It is true that some do not really understand what it mean to eat vegetarian and that others don’t understand how anyone can give up meat. But all in all people tend to accept your choice as long as you accept theirs. That is as long as you do not try to convince others to give up meat or tell them that your way is morally superior. This understandable in the same way as you don’t like people telling you that you really should eat meat.
It is easy to find vegetarian food and groceries in most European countries and it is not hard to find restaurants that offer vegetarian options. This is not necessarily the case in other countries around the world. Some countries outside Europe offer a lot of vegetarian options. Others offer very few. A good example of a country where it s very hard to as a vegetarian is Argentina. Their culture is centered around beef and people genuinely do not understand what you mean when you ask for vegetarian food. It is a very strange concept for them and you should not get surprised if they give you a few eggs or a little chicken with your vegetarian meal just to be nice.
Imagine your most meat loving friend. Know imagine an entire country populated with people just like him ( or her). That gives you an idea about the culture in Argentina. I know of devoted vegetarian that have given up while in Argentina and eaten meat during their stay. It was just too hard to find vegetarian options.
The reason i tell this story is to remind us that we should be happy that we live in a culture that is as welcoming as it is. I am not saying that we should stop trying to improve the vegetarian options that are available to use. I say that we should be shouldn’t complain. Vegetarian in Northern Europe have it good and have reached the point in society where we should complain about our situation. We should simple use our consumer power to support and promote the products and restaurants we like. If vegetarian restaurants are profitable then a lot of them will open. If vegetarian products sell well in the supermarket and are profitable for the producer then we are going to see a lot of new products coming to the market. The food industry will never ignore a profitable niche available to them.
I love vegetarian food and thinks it tastes better than animal based food but have to admit that this was not always the case. I ate meat for a very long time and i really disliked vegetarian food. I had friends that regular tried to introduce me to vegetarian food and i do not know how many times i was told. You like “this meat” so you are going to love this because it taste just the same. It never did. I thought it was horrible.
So what changed? What did finally turned me over to the green side? Was it a moral choice?
No. it was not a moral choice and it was not something that happened over night. What happened was that a friend that eats meat and chicken started to introduce me to vegetarian dishes that was designed from the ground up to be vegetarian dishes. They where not vegetarian version of regular dishes like the food most om my vegetarian friends ate and still do eat. These dishes where crisp and fresh and i really enjoyed the flavor. They also included a lot of raw dishes. One of the things i had never been given before but i really enjoyed was raw fresh broccoli stem. It was a cleaner flavor than the cooked broccoli that taste a little sweet to me. The stem of the broccoli is an under appreciate part of the vegetable that i think is better than the sprouts.
I started to create more and more of my own vegetarian dishes and before i knew it had slowly turned into a vegetarian.
At this point it is time to let you all know a secret. I still think that most vegetarian food that is available in restaurants and that i get served at friends taste like s##t. It is too sweet, to heavy and lack the qualities that makes fresh vegetables so good. This is due to the fact that most vegetarians are too caught up in the regular way of cooking food that the produce food that is caught in between vegetables and meat. Not really belonging to either world. I urge all vegetarians to throw out all expectations about how food is supposed to be cook and start experiment to create completely new inspiring dishes.
Vegetarian food for your pet
Being a vegetarian is a good healthy choice for you. This does however not mean that it is a good choice for your cat or dog. Cats and dogs are predators that are not suitable for a vegetarian diet. This is true even if you make sure they get a lot of vegetable protein in their diet. A dog does best on a meat rich diet and it is essential for a cat to get a meaty diet. If you do not want to feed you dog and cat a meaty diet than it is better that you choose not the keep a dog or a cat. In this case you are better of choosing a pet that is more suitable for a vegetarian diet. This includes rabbits and rats. If you prefer a more charismatic animal that do well on a vegetarian diet then you should choose a parrot or a toucan. Parrots such as macaws and cockatoos are very social creatures that will enjoy your company.
If you choose to buy a parrot you should be certain that you are able to commit to an animal that can live for 75 years and that will bound with you. You should always buy a captive bred bird with a cites certificate.
Helping the cause
I completely understand your urge to help spread the vegetarian ideals. But i also firmly believe that talking to people on the street or outside the super market is the wrong way to this. You might find some that are willing to listen but many more will get annoyed that you are trying to convert them to your cause. Í believe that there are better ways to increase the amount of vegetarian food consumed in society. This includes getting non vegetarians to choose vegetarian options more often even if they keep eating meat as well. I think the best way to help vegetarianism is by buying good vegetarian products, create good new vegetarian recipes and new vegetarian products. By helping to create better and more tasty vegetarian options you will make the vegetarian option more appealing to people. I do in other words suggest that we try to change the mind of others not true words, but through deeds.
Try to experiment and improve the ways we can grow vegetables indoor, create and share new recipes, develop and produce new products, host a weekly vegetarian dinner och open a vegetarian restaurant.