Travails of a Veg Convert (in India!)

It’s something that had been haunting me for awhile now, but try as I might, I couldn’t let go.

I’d read (rightly or wrongly, it’s still debatable) it was the healthier option. It would result in weight loss for those last couple of stubborn pounds and centimetres around the middle-aged waist. For sure, it was more ethical.

At first, I tried in fits and starts. In spurts of yes, no, oh alright! For a few days at a stretch, before backing out and reverting to old habits. Then, I came up behind a truck of live caged chickens being transported to the slaughterhouse at a traffic light and I couldn’t look them in the eye. I had to shy away from guilt. I think that was it, the turning point. I decided I would seriously attempt something I hadn’t in 5 decades.

And so, since January of this year, I have been studiously trying to avoid all kinds of meat. It’s tough, even (or especially) in India, for a meat eating family. I’ve had to deal with intrusive curiosity from the wife, daughter, friends, colleagues… I’ve been tempted, teased, bribed, cajoled; my own mother has tortured her only son, “hey, I cooked for you since you were visiting and made your special!” But I have mostly held out.

It’s tough because there aren’t very many everyday substitutes besides cottage cheese for someone who’s fond of good food. Of course, there are fine dine options, but I can’t afford them on daily basis. The basic repertoire is rather limited. I don’t like tofu or soya mock meat, I’m picky about typical Indian vegetables, fruit is not a regular habit either. Of course, there’s all the fried stuff, but that’s taboo for different reasons. It’s tough because there’s habit and there’s an almost desperate urge at times. It’s tough, because I like pottering in the kitchen, so I handle and cook the stuff but don’t eat it.

And of course, being human, I’ve succumbed. I’ve been suckered at other times. Also, not wanting to make an unnecessary fuss, I’ve picked on some of the non-veg food on the table before me. I’ll mostly take the gravy and resist the chunks. But I’ll reiterate, it’s been tough.

Now, the results? Nothing showing on the belly, but the scales show 2 Kilos less! If that’s due to the meatless diet or the exercise, I don’t know, but that’s not something I’m complaining about (nor is the wife)!

How long will this last? I wonder! My moral compass says one thing, urging my will-power along, but there’s temptation that beckons at every other meal. It’s a see-saw. Let’s see how it goes. More so, when it’s time to travel to foreign shores. In the meanwhile, every prawn tandoori, chicken kebab, mince samosas and slice of salami resisted, makes me feel better inside. On the other hand, very honestly, I’ve overcompensated on some cravings by indulging in more coffee/sugar, butter and ice cream than usual, but what the heck!

Last word? A shout out to my not-so-tasty new found legume & lentil besties in today’s times for helping me along! And guys, to each their own – I’m not foisting my views on anybody here! Cheers!

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40 Comments

  1. I hear how challenging and rewarding this transition/choice is being for you and I totally relate. It is a situation I encounter on a daily basis while knowing I am doing the best I can to maintain a diet that supports my health and the wellness of other beings.

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  2. Well congratulations on the discipline. I know that it’s hard work to resist temptation and food is one of the joys of life. If you’ve stuck it out from January, you should be fine. We now have a sugar tax to discourage obesity. I have found it easier to reduce the sugar intake than the meat. But I guess it’s the way to go even for health reasons. Keep it up Kunal!

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    1. Thanks, Chev! You don’t know how difficult it’s been. I did so enjoy my meat – bacon, ribs, steak, prawns, being my favourites. Now, I look at pretty pictures on Pinterest / Instagram & drool! πŸ™‚

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      1. Oh I know exactly what you’re missing. If there was one thing I enjoyed in Rome recently if was all those sinful foods so I feel your pain and mine because it doesn’t do me favours to keep at it so I also have to rethink my diet. But the picture in my mind of you drooling at Pinterest makes me laugh – Sorry πŸ˜‰

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      1. Veg places in Karachi!
        It’s meat all over the city but you may find veggie bars in either 5-star hotels or diners in posh area of DHA or Clifton.
        We do eat vegetables a lot but that’s only for the normal, everyday meal. If one’s going out for dining, then it’s only meat!

        Liked by 1 person

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