I just came back from visiting family in San Francisco where everyone in my family besides us is a vegan or a vegetarian. It seemed so easy there. The restaurants had many tasty varieties of food choices on the menus. I even had a disagreement with my vegan cousin about how the soy protein based satay sticks were not much different from the fried tofu triangles, at least from my Midwest perspective; it is all some form of soy isn’t it? I have to admit that I admire their dedication to the cause or ideology of vegetarianism. The state of California early on, as well as other areas today, is willing to vote with their wallets regarding the growing, processing, distributions and nutritional value they get for their food dollar. I do not need a formal study to prove this I just need to eat there to see the choice I get when I order. Make no mistake this is not just about healthy choices. This is about business and money and profit. On the airplane ride home my husband read a newspaper article that stated Chipotle, a subsidiary of McDonalds, was willing to offer burritos with tofu crumbles as a choice among their chicken and beef offerings. In Ohio this is big news because it will disappear if we do not follow and buy it when it eventually gets here, so far, it is only being offered in California, Oregon and the state of Washington. This is great news for vegans and vegetarians, but Nutrition Action rated Chipotle products a bad deal due to the high sodium content and high fat and calorie content of their food items. The secret worry on every carnivores mind is that soy products really are tasteless and bland and need lots of salt to make them palatable if they were to try vegetarian food.
Can’t fast food restaurant manufacturers give us meat-free choices without high blood pressure? On the east coast Subway has announced it will offer vegan menu items in some of their Beltway area stores in Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC. This is great news for choice, but if you read the comments posted, the discussion over “how vegan is it” has already started. We do have one fast food option in the Midwest, Burger King does offer a veggie burger in Ohio, which is a Morningstar Farms product, I tried it and it was fine. I am trying to stay away from fast food in general, but appreciate the effort, and am glad it is available when I need it. My attitude is probably why Ohio will be the last place for vegan fast food.
I realize that I have a long way to go in my ideology on vegan and vegetarianism. I like all foods and while I hate the corporatization of the food industry it wasn’t always that way. Ohio is farm country and our local farmers respect their land and what they grow. I am a shopper of the local farmers markets and appreciate when my local grocery stores offer local farm products and buy them when I can. I have made the decision to buy my food locally rather than shipped in from China or parts elsewhere and I believe that is a good first step. The rest of the ideology of vegetarianism will have to wait and be argued out among those who feel stronger about it than I do. Until consensus is made, I will change my behavior, as I learn more facts, but until then healthy choices and more home cooking with sustainable foods will be my way.