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Please provide suggestions for how an already-picky eater can eat as few animals as possible.
For quite some time now, I have felt so unbelievably guilty every time I have eaten meat, and thus, I am trying to stop. My reasons for feeling guilty are solely rooted in the terrible conditions in which animals to be eaten are kept and killed. I wish to not continue to contribute to this practice by not consuming its products.
The only problem is: There are very few foods I like to begin with. Additionally, I love going out to eat, but there are usually only 1–2 items on any given restaurant menu that I can possibly enjoy because of my food pickiness. So I am already very limited, and I am afraid that if I vow to stop eating meat entirely, I’ll be completely cutting out one of my favorite pastimes – eating at restaurants.
I haven’t eaten meat for a week now, and it’s been going just fine because I haven’t been out to a restaurant since last Wednesday.
Here are my food issues: I don’t like salad at all, I don’t like sandwiches of any kind (aside from PB&J and grilled cheese), and I like very few vegetables (string beans, peas, corn, lima beans, and edamame are the only ones I will really eat). I do not like ANY tomato products (no marinara sauce, ketchup, salsa, nothing!). I have tried bites of salad and the other things I do not like, and it is just not possible for me to eat them. As soon as they hit my throat, I gag. I find them to be very unpalatable.
The primary foods I eat are pasta, potatoes, and cheese. I like all three of these things in almost any variety. I also like any cereal, candy, dessert, and sweet thing. I can absolutely eat anything on any dessert menu; I wish I had that kind of flexibility with regular food!
The only meats that I have ever enjoyed are chicken, steak, and bacon. I used to get bacon every morning with my breakfast, but for the past week, I have only gotten eggs and hash browns.
My main issue is that, typically, the only menu items I like at any restaurant are the chicken dish and the steak dish. And even then, I usually need to make modifications to them and have them leave some things off. If I decide to stop eating meat entirely, there simply won’t be anything I can eat at most restaurants. And I don’t want to have to limit myself to the few restaurants that may have a pasta dish for me. I love trying all restaurants. Nor do I want to have pasta be the only thing I can ever eat when I go out. (I should also note that I have frequent work-related lunches and dinners, so I can’t always control what restaurant I’ll be eating at.)
Additionally, considering my food limitations, is a meatless diet even a balanced diet for me? Here is a typical day of food for me:
Breakfast – eggs, hash browns, and coffee
Lunch – grilled cheese, mashed potatoes, and juice
Snack – candy bar
Dinner – mac & cheese, potato & cheese pierogies, edamame, and a glass of wine
Dessert – ice cream / cereal / poptarts
That’s literally what I eat almost everyday, and it’s pretty much all the foods that I can tolerate, other than chicken, steak, and bacon, which used to be incorporated.
These are a sampling of the typical foods I get when I would go out to eat:
Asian – teriyaki noodles and chicken or chicken, string beans, and rice
Indian – chicken vindaloo (spicy chicken and potatoes) and rice
Italian – pasta with olive oil, garlic, butter, and parmesan cheese with grilled chicken
Mexican – chicken quesadilla (no veggies) or steak tacos (no veggies) or chicken tortilla soup
Greek – flaming saganaki and pasta with oil and feta cheese and chicken
Other – filet mignon or some other cut of steak with some kind of potatoes
And those things are pretty much the only things I like on the menus.
I really do not want to continue to contribute to the horribly meat industry, but I am already so limited in the foods that I like. And I have attempted to like more foods, but I just can’t even swallow them.
Finally, I am unsure what to do about the gelatin issue. This would mean I couldn’t eat my favorite cereals or fruit snacks, which I love very much. I am not even trying to cut out animal products (because really, WHAT could I eat then?), but gelatin is real animal, not just animal product.