Monday, April 13, 2009

Where do you get your protein? A PSA.

Ah, family gatherings ... The food, the festivities, the cornhole, the sitting-around-the-TV-watching-golf ... and for the most part, these are the only times of the year when I get the question: vegetarian??! Where do you get your protein?

I've been a vegetarian since about 1994, and it's a pretty common diet. (I think it's much weirder when people tell me they don't eat chocolate.) Back then I got a few questions, but as soon as I moved to New York, it was a non-issue. By the time I moved back to Kentucky, even we hillbillies were aware of my "condition," as one particularly annoying heckler (which doesn't mean I don't love you still ... it is just very annoying to hear) calls it.

The Easter gathering was absolutely delicious. My aunt cooks a huge Italian feast, complete with cannolis and Italian cream cake. I told my mom that Aunt Karen hid cannolis around the house, rather than Easter eggs, and that she should probably start looking for them. The rest of the relatives played along, and mom wandered around the house looking behind doors and under couches for a few minutes before she caught on. I'm such a trickster ...

Anyway, the yummiest part of all was the special vegetarian entree that Auntie Karen prepared especially for me (all the other side dishes were cooked with meat). It was a divine red sauce with baby bellas and fresh veggies atop a penne pasta. Yummmmmmmm.

But, of course, someone had to be the one to corner me: Vegetarian? Now let me ask you this: where do you get your protein? Now I know this particular family friend -- a good one -- meant no harm by it. And the family present prevented me from giving my regular retort, which always shuts up the harrasser-of-herbivores, given to me by my good from Erin, also a vegetarian. When asked where you get your protein, the proper respons is: Semen. (Although, my family reads my blogs, so maybe I should have just snapped that answer yesterday.) That usually quickly shuts up the purveyors of meat.

Anyway, as a public service announcement to all those who are simply curious as to where vegetarians get their protein, even those vegetarians who eschew dairy as well: beans, legumes, grains, and seeds. Where do you get your vitamins and minerals?

Here is a list of various vegetables and the protein content within. It seems I get a lot of my protein from broccoli. I loooooooove broccoli.

I really don't care if you eat meat or not. I choose not to, and I hope that's okay with you. I don't bother you about your diet. Please don't harangue your vegetarian friends about their bizarro hippie ways. I promise you, they get plenty of protein.

And anyway, there are plenty of other oddities to discuss at family gatherings, like where Aunt Karen hid those cannolis and how long it will take Brigid's mom to figure out the joke.

Sorry mom, I just couldn't resist the chicanery.

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