Do I miss meat?

I thought I’d answer some of the commonest questions and statements I get when I tell someone I’m vegetarian and have been over 20 years. I don’t eat meat, meat derivatives, nor do I appreciate cross-contamination of my food with meat and meat “juices”.

Gelatine is a big no no, as is Carmine (E120), and I also don’t drink wines or real ales clarified with Isinglass. I eat eggs, but I’m not a big consumer of milk – my favourite is almond milk because it just tastes so creamy.

Do you miss meat?

No. I never actually liked it when I did eat it. I didn’t like the taste or texture. I suppose you could say I’m a natural herbivore. When I was at family sunday dinners I used to get meat placed on my plate, and I often left it. The last meat I ate was when I was about 23 or 24. The entire time I’ve been in gigging bands I’ve never eaten it.

You must eat fish and chicken though?

No. They’re meat. Vegetarians who eat fish or chicken aren’t vegetarians, they’re carnivores. Anyone who doesn’t think fish or chicken is meat is sorely mislead, and perhaps needs to go back to school and do primary school level biology.

Isn’t it difficult to find good food?

No not really. Plenty of restaurants cater very well for us. Some don’t, but I just avoid those. I’ve often seen cop-out restaurants where they “can’t guarantee against cross contamination”. Personally, I think that’s worse still! If they can’t avoid cross contamination between vegetarian food and non-vegetarian food, then what’s their record regarding cooked and raw meat?

Don’t you crave a bacon sandwich when you smell it cooking?

No. Not at all. I really don’t like meat. I never liked meat. I think these wild pigs would agree with me.

But you have Quorn. That’s pretend meat (often said with a smug look on their face).

You have chips. Those are pretend vegetables. I bet you even think they’re one of your five a day.

The vegetarian option is a nut cutlet.

How about show some imagination? Look. Even Quinoa can look nice, and I used to eat it before Waitrose decided to make it all posh.

You wear leather.

I’m not a preachy vegetarian who thinks everyone should be vegetarian. I understand that humans, like some of the other greater apes, are omnivores. We have biological indicators that we were evolved to eat meat. My wife eats meat and I don’t condemn her for it. I’ll happily wear leather, but then I’ll also wear latex (and that’s from a tree!).

It can’t be healthy being vegetarian.

I’m 6ft 2, built like a brick shithouse, and I can lift a huge reel of steel wire armoured cable. Yes, of course it’s not healthy… I eat lots of cereals, I don’t take any vitamin supplements. I don’t need them. I have a good iron level (blood donors proves this).