Traveling as a Meat Avoider
Veronica Writes

Like all the girls of my generation, I can recite the basic principals of virtually any eating lifestyle -- from the Cabbage Soup Diet to Adkins and all the crazy messed-up fads in between. And, chances are, I've tried it (fifteen years ago I dropped three dress sizes eating cream cheese and lunchmeat stuffed celery rolled in crushed pork rinds). David, though generally supportive of my dieting adventures, rarely fails to find the humor in it. He's one of those "high metabolism" people. Don't get me started. No really, don't.

In reference to my current dietary quest, my son has dubbed me a "Meat Avoider." I suppose the title is apt. I would love to be a Vegetarian--or better yet, a Vegan. And for the most part, I almost am.

When I avoid meat and meat products, I feel healthier and holier-than-thou as a person. I hear the angels singing when I use soy milk in my latte. Jesus weeps as I consume a veggie burger. Yet I have learned that the answer isn't flogging myself when I'm not religiously adherent. And I'm certainly not going to preach to others about what they are permitted to eat. I can't even convince myself when there are clams to feast on. And then there is this dilemma:

David is an unapologetic, born in the Midwest, top of the food chain, carnivore. He has patiently listened to me about the hormones and antibiotics in eggs and milk. He understands about the severed chicken beaks and the affects of the corporate cattle industry on the environment. He has seen the PETA ads. And he loves him some steak. When David eats, enjoyment of food radiates from his every pore. He literally sits across the table glowing with food enjoyment. It is not possible to deny myself a bite (or three) of David's entree. I'm not actually ordering the'll be eaten anyway...just one bite never hurt..

Now, as a strict Meat Avoider, as I am preparing for the journey as a Gypsy Nester, I'm a bit concerned about food. What if we go to Greece? Can I handle the looks of distrust from random carnivores? What exactly does one order at Taco Bell?

But then I thought, "Who better to answer these questions than a Meat Avoider?" I am not a gourmand; I'm someone who likes to go to REAL restaurants, with REAL food (and David would never set foot in a Vegan establishment unless they had really cold beer). I like to try things I've never tried. I believe that food is a huge part of travel. I'm a reasonably-priced-wine snob.

So I'm making it a quest. I'm blazing a trail. Meanwhile, take a look at what the Taco Bell website says about Meat Avoider choices:

Are there any items on your menu that are prepared without meat?
Several Taco Bell® items do not include meat as an ingredient. Popular ones include the classic Bean Burrito, 1/2 lb. Cheesy Bean & Rice Burrito, 7-Layer Burrito, and Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes side item (the last two feature sour cream, which contains a very small amount of gelatin which is naturally animal-based). Of course you can also request that any item on the menu be prepared without meat or sour cream. The enzymes used in the production of our cheese, tortillas, and flatbread are not from an animal source.

(Blogger's note: Okay, the burritos without the cheese might actually work in a pinch, but "Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes" --with sour cream, no less -- you can't get those. Take out the unhealthy stuff and you end up with a cute little box of air.)

Did you know?
(This is my favorite part)
Another popular non-meat item is the Caramel Apple Empanada from the Big Bell Value Menu®. This delicious dessert has received one of the highest number of compliments this year. (Serious? You guys actually sell meatless desserts? That's CRAZY!)

Are Taco Bell's beans fried?
(Here is actually -- no sarcasm here -- a good thing):
No! Our beans are not fried at all! And best of all they don't contain any lard. So all in all, they're delicious and more nutritious than you may have thought!


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