Interview with a vegetarian., Johan Rydèn, Marcin De Kaminski, Nilsson&Nyholm, questions for a vegetarian, vegetarians and eating habits, Vegetarisk veckomatsedel, why become vegetarian, why stop beeing vegetarian
Meatless Mondays on Le Kitchen Bloggen continues with some interviews. Vegetarians are often assimilated with students or 50-year-old Yoga practitioners in quest to ”find themselves”. But the truth is: vegetarians are everywhere. It can be your neighbor, or the nice lady at the bus stop. It can even be your mom!
To prove it, I interviewed some people. All in their 30ty…ish… but with different backgrounds and professions. Some are still deep into their vegetarianism, other just started, and one was there but came back to the meat-eating life. Let’s start with this guy:
Marcin, once upon a time you where a vegetarian, what made you take the step to exclude meat from your diet?
I chose to avoid meat and animal products mainly due to an interest in
animal rights related issues but also for environmental reasons.
How long did it last?
I became vegetarian when I was 17 y/o and kept it up for at least four
or five years, with one year as a vegan.
How do you think your veggie period affected your eating habits of today?
Since eight years I am no longer a vegetarian, but I would say that the
ideas are still with me all the time. I am more aware of my habits and
choices regarding food, and I’m considering vegetarian food to be
You are a father of five. Is food v/s health and environment something you find important to teach your children?
Absolutely! I think it is important that kids early learn both what your
body needs in terms of food, but also what food is actually made of. We
have long discussions about both those things over dinner.
Do you feel any contrast, health-wise, between your present eating habits and your vegetarian period?
I was more content about myself as a vegetarian, since it was more an
active choice. I quit eating vegetarian-only due to allergies and bad
internal reception of nutrients due to that.
What do you think about the Meatless Monday project?
Meatless Monday seems quite alike what many Swedish schools have
started, when at least one day a week they are only serving vegetarian
food. I think it is awesome, at least if it is accompanied by good
guides to easy-to-cook (and tasty!) vegetarian food.
Johan, you are a lacto/ovo vegetarian, how would you explain the term for a 5-year-old ?
I simply say that I do not eat meat, not going into the lacto/ovo part. I don’t use a lot of milk products either, e.g. I have oat milk instead of regular in my fridge. If a child asks me why I won’t eat meat, I just say I find it disgusting.
Why and since when?
Since August 1999. Initially it was because of the cute veggie girls and my fascination in hinduism, nowadays it’s mainly due to the energy economics involved in food production.
What food products do you use on daily basis?
Oh, that’s a hard one. Oat milk as I said earlier, otherwise it’s mostly prepared food that I buy at restaurants or in the grocery store. I’m a very lazy vegetarian that does NOT grow his own chickpeas or spends time at the stove every night. If I was in charge, fresh locally cooked veggie food would be delivered to every apartment in the city via tube-mail, much like fresh water is delivered through pipes already. That should make it easy enough for everyone to make the right choice.
And when you want a more fancy meal?
I usually move towards Indian cooking, either at home or on the town. The scope of Indian vegetarian meals is so wide, you can make a full dinner with just some rice, tomatoes and broccoli (plus some spices), or you can dig deep into your pockets and get saffron, spend a lot of time making paneer (home-made cheese that you cut into cubes), or going out for over €40/person, there are just so many choices.
Can you share your best veggie tip?
One night I was pouring almost everything I had at home into a stew, and ended up mixing coconut milk and mashed tomatoes in a frying pan as the base sauce. It makes for a delicious mix, and you can just add broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant or whatever you feel like to that base.
You’re diabetic, is there anything in particular you have to think about when it comes to a vegetarian diet?
The general trouble I have with food is that I always eat too much, but that applies whether you’re diabetic and vegetarian or neither
What do you think about the Meatless Monday initiative?
I think it’s a good idea! We have vegetarian Thursdays at the school where I work, and we’re trying in the local branch of the Swedish Green Party to get it through our city board, but there are certain conservatives that are working actively against us. If we wanted to see it implemented and make some real difference, I guess we should just approached the people who work at the school kitchens in the municipality. They would’ve been with us immediately, but now the whole issue is stuck in political negotiations and being closely monitored by the old men who refuse to change their ways.
Anything you would like to add?
There’s usually a question about how turning vegetarian/vegan has affected one’s health. I can’t say it has had any effect for neither worse nor better, but I wasn’t fat before I turned vegetarian. It probably has more to do with the amounts of food I eat, coupled with my World of Warcraft addiction, though
Nyholm&Nilsson familly, tell me, how do you define your diet ? Vegetarians?
Linda: I’m a vegetarian, Stefan and Theodor eats fish but no meat.
What food do you exclude from your diet ?
I eat dairy products and eggs but that’s all when it comes to animal products. And The boys eats fish as well.
For how long have you been vegetarians ?
I stoppes eating red meat about 15 years ago, chicken 8 years ago and fish 6 years ago. Stefan stopped eating meat 12 years ago.
We think it’s disgusting and unnecessary eating dead animals. We also dislike the meat-packing industry..
You live in Stockholm, do you fin dit hard to find good vegetarian food when you eat out?
Most of our friends are vegetarians as well. And it’s not difficult to find vegetarian food at a restaurant.
You have a son, Theodor, does he eat whatever you eat or do you give him meat sometimes?
Theodor have never tasted meat nor chicken. At kindergarten he eats vegetarian dishes and fish.
What is the plan for when he gets older, does he get to choose?
If he wants to eat meat later he can choose to do that in school but we will not cook it at home.
Linda, you are a nutritionist. Is that something that affected you in your choice of diet?
No, I know for example that it is healthy to eat oily fish but nevertheless I choose not to eat it.
As a vegetarian, one often has to be pretty resourceful to find alternative sources of protein, do you think that you are eating more diverse now than before you were vegetarians?
We have cooked vegetarian food since we left our parents home so we do not know anything else. But we eat less finished and semi processed food than most families. We use quorn, legumes, cheese and cottage cheese as a protein alternative. Theodor like soy sausage and such products, we don’t usually eat that.
You travel a lot abroad, is it more difficult to find good vegetarian dishes in other countries than at home?
It depends on the country, but if you look you always find something.In Prague and Tallinn it was a bit difficult to find good vegetarian food.
Which destination was the easiest?
New York, London, Turkey and Greece
Check out Lindas vegetarian recipe blog Vegetarisk Veckomatsedel (in Swedish only)