pescetarian lifestyle. Except for that pesky - but delicious - chicken broth. It's amazing how many dishes are cooked with that liquid! Cooking at home, it's easy enough to substitute vegetable stock, but eating out (which we do a lot of around here), I constantly had to ask if the rice, soup, and even refried beans were cooked with it. There were many foods I could not enjoy outside of my own kitchen because of this dietary restriction I had put on myself, but I remained strong in my decision to abstain from consumption of this animal product.
Fast forward to last week. For five years, I had deprived myself of so many favorite foods - Mallomars, gummy bears (the vegan ones don't quite cut it), and my beloved cheddar broccoli soup from Panera - only to discover that a pill I have been taking for the past two years has traces of gelatin in it. I felt like I had been caught accidentally looking on someone else's paper: I didn't mean to cheat, but I did. That night, when we were at a banquet, the waitress informed us that the rice had been made with chicken stock. Guys, the rice looked SO good. It was really the only thing on the plate that I wanted. Could I just pretend I didn't hear that? I thought to myself, pushing the rice around the plate with my fork. And then I remembered the gelatin-laced pills. I haven't been 100% pescetarain this entire time anyway. How important is it that I start now? Do I still hold the same beliefs about consumption that I did five years ago? As I warred with myself, all the time drooling over the rice, I finally came to the decision that a flexitarian, or semi-vegetarian, lifestyle might be a better fit for me these days - and then promptly snarfed my rice as though I were a Survivor contestant.
While I have yet to devour a Chick-Fil-A chicken biscuit or an Arby's French dip (the only meat I've craved in the past five years), I did finally have a bowl of cheddar broccoli soup at Panera today. I felt no guilt, only the sweet satisfaction of my tummy being full with one of my favorite comfort foods.