I love to eat. Across the world, you will find that each country has it’s speciality food of which, they are very proud.
As a vegetarian, there are many speciality foods that I cannot eat. When telling people that I am a vegetarian, the initial reaction is generally shock and a lack of comprehension. This is true across the world. After the shock comes the opportunity to mock me and tell me that I am not a real man. ‘Yes,’ I say, ‘I am not a real man because I don’t eat animals.’ In my experience, I have found that there are many people worth debating with. Then there are those that make me feel like I’m banging my head against a brick wall and getting nowhere. Most probably, they write me off equally quickly so I think we stand on a level playing field.
I often get told that being a vegetarian will make me sick and incapable of physical activity. Despite being vegetarian for the past 18 years and captaining several sports teams, it is of course a very dangerous way of life in terms of my health. Clearly it is only a matter of time before it catches up with me. Fortunately those first 7 years of eating meat must compensate for my ensuing vegetarianism.
Some Things Are More Equal Than Others
Across south-eastern Europe, most countries offer some form pastry and cheese which they love to share with vegetarians. In some countries it is baked, in others it is fried. While it is quite delicious at first, it does become fairly tiresome to eat the same food over and over again. It is also hard to know exactly where each food originally came from as every country claims it as their own. And despite tasting almost identical wherever you travel, you are told that you must try a particular version from a particular shop because you haven’t yet had ‘the real version.’
This remains true for many varieties of food that are prevalent across many regions.
While I love to eat, quite often food is food. Despite being told that I am eating the terrible version or the ‘not-real’ version, I will continue to do so. If I listened to the purists, I think it would be hard to eat anything at all. Wherever you go in the world and whatever you do, you will meet the purists who tell you that you’re doing things wrong. You should do them in a different way or you shouldn’t do them at all. Even if you do what they say, most probably, you haven’t done it right. I’m not bitter about this, but it puzzles me.
I am a very non-religious individual and I have my own beliefs that are not in line with any single religion. However, as a kid, I was taught a few lines from the bible by my school. One of the few lines that stays with me and I hold dear to my heart is the idea to ‘live and let live.’
Live and Let Live
This idea extends to everything. For now I will relate it to food but it extends as far as the way you choose to live your life. Be it religion, jobs, bringing up children, or eating, people can always tell you how to do something better or that you are doing something wrong. They always seem to know more than you do. But that’s OK.
Do what you want and allow others to do the same. This is not a common idea across the world.
Or should I be saying that I will do as I want in the hope that you choose to do the same? Am I contradicting myself by telling you to do what you want? I don’t even know anymore.