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Cosmo for Vegetarians?

Apparently one of the bonuses of being single is that you get invited over for dinner quite a bit...at least this has been the case for me. Beloved friends have welcomed me into their warm, colorful homes and have (without my asking) prepared the most delightful vegetarian meals despite being omnivores themselves.

Last night, K had me over for much wine and giggling. She served a vegan Fettuccine Alfredo with Seared Portobellos which was drool-down-your-front delicious. When I asked, she let me know that she had gotten the recipe from the magazine Vegetarian Times, a publication she has used before when cooking for me - always to my gustatory delight. Seeing that I was interested (and being one of the most generous souls I know), K sent me home with 3 Vegetarian Times mags so I could see what it's all about.

I have to say, I am profoundly disappointed. While I cannot retract my opinion about having some good recipes, this is not a publication I would be interested in supporting overall.

While there are some (brief and fleeting) allusions to vegetarianism as a lifestyle choice born out of environmentalism, it is a mere drop in the bucket to the overwhelming message that "vegetarianism is about being skinny". There was a slight nod to vegetarians who are against animal cruelty - but no inclusion of those of us that make this choice for social justice as well. In fact, the 3 volumes I perused were so inundated with articles, ads and messages about weight loss that I truly felt I was reading a veggie version of Cosmo. I kept expecting to turn a page to find "10 Tips to Please Your Vegan Lover!" or some such.

The marketing was saturated with all the same messages of gross consumerism and body image - and in one mag alone I counted five full-page ads that featured close-up shots of a woman's bare tummy, sans those oh-so-human freckles, moles, stretchmarks, etc. - and so tight and flat that you could bounce a quarter off of her.

Clearly - this is what being a vegetarian is really about...those tight, hot abs!

I tried not to froth at their total lack of inclusion for locavores (two main features in June's issue: "Island Eating" and "Mangoes!" - offered only dishes whose carbon footprints were astounding for those of us outside CA and FL), but could not help but feel shocked at many of the recipes themselves. Most of them were not what I would consider healthful in any way and were overflowing with processed foods, most of which were "lite" and "fat-free". When did vegetarianism cease to be about health? I did not understand the seeming paradox of featuring recipes with double-fried tofu, breaded-n-fried tempeh cutlets and peanut butter/coconut/soy ice cream with those that were so full of synthetic, "lite" foods that they barely classify as food at all. How much fat-free soy creamer can you squeeze into one dish? Apparently quite a bit (blech).

And really I wondered...where the hell are the vegetables?

Now to be fair, there did seem to be a lot of information about nutrition (how much protein do I need?, what are vitamins and minerals I might be missing?, etc.), but again, each of these articles too addressed weight loss as being paramount.

Despite some of the yummy options (and there were a few recipes that featured whole foods and seemed promising), this is certainly not a mag for me. I am all about vegetarianism, health and fitness, but to me - health and fitness do not = fitting into a size 0 pair of jeans, especially if you have to ingest pounds and pounds of fat-free soy creamer to make it happen.

Thus concludes today's food rant...


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 18th, 2008 05:02 pm (UTC)
Apologies if I'm boorishly prying - Off topic
"Apparently one of the bonuses of being single is that you get invited over for dinner quite a bit...at least this has been the case for me."

Uh . . . I was rather under the impression that you were married or otherwise stabily partnered, and had been for quite some time. Have I missed something, misinterpreted, or am I otherwise on crack?
Jun. 18th, 2008 05:18 pm (UTC)
Re: Apologies if I'm boorishly prying - Off topic
I have been in a monogamous relationship for much of my life (16 years), so you're not on crack. I stepped away from that quite recently and am single again. It's all very WEIRD!
Jun. 18th, 2008 05:32 pm (UTC)
Re: Apologies if I'm boorishly prying - Off topic
After 16 years, weird would seem an understatement. I've been married since '94, and there have been enough relationship changes to feel very weird at times. Stepping away from that kind of relationship entirely would seem to be . . . well . . . fundamentally redifining. Good luck!!!
Jun. 18th, 2008 05:33 pm (UTC)
Re: Apologies if I'm boorishly prying - Off topic
And, I really *can* spell, I just catch my mistakes *after* I hit send/submit. More a timing issue for me than a spelling one.
Jun. 18th, 2008 05:41 pm (UTC)
Re: Apologies if I'm boorishly prying - Off topic
Yep...I cannot lie - I am having more than a few moments of existential angst, but the Feri work helps...as will time (or so everyone tells me!).

Thanks for the good wishes ~ J
Jun. 18th, 2008 05:47 pm (UTC)
Re: Apologies if I'm boorishly prying - Off topic
Yup, the work has been a tremendously useful focus for me as well during some very turbulent times . . . and, yeah, time helps too . . . sometimes just not fast enough, damnit!

Hey, even further off topic, or alternately back *TO* the topic of food, any chance you might be up to a lunch or dinner while I'm out in Chicago next month? It'd be very cool to get to meet you face-to-face.
Jun. 18th, 2008 08:44 pm (UTC)
Re: Apologies if I'm boorishly prying - Off topic
*lol* you're a brave soul if you're willing to have lunch with me given my values about food.

When are you in town? I'm traveling in part of July - but if I'm in town we should grab a bite.

Wait...you're not an axe murderer, right?
Jun. 18th, 2008 09:41 pm (UTC)
Re: Apologies if I'm boorishly prying - Off topic
I'll be in for a show on Saturday the 12th, but am currently planning on coming on on Friday the 11th (giving me perhaps Friday for dinner, of Saturday for pre-show lunch or dinner). I'm all for high food values :-)

And . . . I swear, I've never murdered an axe in my life. :-P

Feel free to drop me a line off LJ - liveblade @ gmail dotcom
Jun. 18th, 2008 05:23 pm (UTC)
hm. will have to try the fetuccini alfredo as both of us are bad at dairy. Did it really taste like fetuccini alfredo to you?
Jun. 18th, 2008 05:31 pm (UTC)
It was actually better than traditional alfredo to me because it had a lot of flavor and was not greasy and swimming in butter. Sometimes I find cream sauces to be bland - but this was complex and the sauce complemented the mushrooms. I could have eaten 8 plates of it...

K did not add the nutritional yeast because she didn't have any on hand - but it was still tasty.
Jun. 18th, 2008 06:16 pm (UTC)
Shows where I'm at, I read the title and thought, "wait a minute, there's people that put MEAT in a COSMO?" Um, perhaps I take my drink alchemy too seriously ;>

BTW, I think you will love the vegetarian choices at camp -- our CSA is getting us some amazing stuff (this week was several kinds of luscious lettuce, milk and cream from a local dairy, fresh strawberries and rhubarb, and other similar good stuff), and C is going to wait and base much of the menu on what she finds at the Farmer's Market on Thursday.

And yes, way too many people who equate "healthy" with "trendy-skinny." Bleah. When will someone tell these folks that anorexic is out, and "healthy" is part of a holistic system, including not only what you eat (and it's a big clue that anything with "lite" in it probably isn't actually good for ya), but where it comes from and how it gets there? Hmmph.

Good rant. Now ya got me going too ;>
Jun. 18th, 2008 08:46 pm (UTC)
What? You've never had a Crab Cosmo? What about a Meatball Martini?

Sheltered life you've got there ;>)
Jun. 18th, 2008 08:37 pm (UTC)
I'm with you. I hate that making a decision that is both healthy and sustainable is boiled down to some pathetic lowest common denominator like weight loss.

I know some people will disagree with me that weight and health are not necessarily connected, but in my mind, making better choices for reasons of health, morals, and values ought to be enough without some marketing fantasy waved in front of people's noses as motivation. Doing something good for your body and good for the planet ought to fucking be enough. Frankly, if it's not, I think that speaks pretty damn loud.
Jun. 18th, 2008 08:53 pm (UTC)
Re: Gah.
I was just surprised. Of all the vegetarians I've met no one has ever told me they made the change to "get skinny" or even to lose weight. I know from experience that being a vegetarian does not mean that one will lose weight (hello cheese sandwiches, french fries and chocolate!). I was saddened that most of the impactful manifestations of vegetarianism were ignored and that really health (as in bodily well-being as opposed to size) did not seem to be the priority.

I guess I need to understand that not all vegetarians are lefty, hippie, queer, activist, witches, eh?
Jun. 18th, 2008 10:58 pm (UTC)
I had a similar problem with one of the mags with "Health" in the title. Most of the models depicted with their articles were so skinny they looked anorexic, not healthy at all.
Jun. 19th, 2008 02:03 am (UTC)
"10 Tips to Please Your Vegan Lover!"

Mmmmmm. I can just see it, improper uses of zucchini.

Yeah....as we know, it's all about the marketing, and that magazine probably makes its money selling ads to the weight loss-ish companies. Thusly, their articles talk about that. Maybe you could submit some articles to them that focus on a different perspective on vegetarianism.
Jun. 19th, 2008 04:45 pm (UTC)
let them know...

You should send this along to them -- they need to read it. Sometimes publications get lost along the way and other times they just become a tad TOO advertiser-centric (bad bad ethics). Either way you make an excellent, eloquent point and I think you should pass it on to them.
xo- kaydee
Jun. 20th, 2008 08:15 pm (UTC)
Re: let them know...
Thanks for mentioning that...I had not thought about contacting them, but I would like for them to hear what I have to say.

And thanks for reading my LJ by the way. I MISS YOU SO MUCH! I know you must be busy, but if you feel like it, I'd love to hear what is going on in your life. I wish we lived closer, and I'd love to get in touch more often if you feel up to it.

You are one of my favorite peeps of all time you know. I love you and feel lucky to know you gorgeous one.

All my love to you - Jen
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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