Veggie Burgers at Work - Yuck!

HEALTH - I tried to eat a veggie burger yesterday but only managed to finish 75% of it... let me explain why.

I can't eat mushy foods. Foods like squash, scalloped potatoes, really runny mashed potatoes, anything with consistency of baby food... For whatever reason it provokes my gag reflex and makes me want to vomit.

I think it has something to do with bad memories of mushy foods and vomiting. Even vomit itself is mushy.

Thus my attempt yesterday, in order to please my vegetarian dinner partner, was nothing short of daring. Around the 72% mark my gag reflex was going nuts and the mushed up ingredients in the veggie burger patty was simply too much. I had to stop before I puked in front of 25 vegetarians, all presumably enjoying their restaurant meal.

I picked the Deluxe Veggie Burger off the menu because it was really the only thing that looked vaguely familiar.

I had tried to order a Caesar salad, but their version of Caesar salad came with a whole bunch of extra veggies on it that I didn't like. I tried speaking to the waitress about ordering a normal basic Caesar salad (you know, the kind with croutons on it) but she informed me they don't have croutons... WTF! How can you have a Caesar salad without croutons???

Nothing else on the menu looked edible to me. Even the Soup of the Day looked like a spicy mixture of veggies and vomit. (The soup was "Spicy Tomato w/Chipotle & Spinach".)

The name of the restaurant in question was Fresh. Presumably the ingredients were all fresh, but the menu left much to be desired. You can see their menu in PDF format and what it is essentially is a trial in vegetarian extravaganza, like they're trying really hard to impress you by tossing all sorts of weird combinations at you... so many vegetables mixed together that there is bound to be more the one vegetable in the mix the average person won't like.

Lets take that Spicy Tomato w/Chipotle & Spinach Soup of the Day for example... I hate spinach, I am disgusted by Chipotle and I can only tolerate tomato.

Even the protein shakes were enough to make my stomach queasy. The Swoosh Shake contains: peanut butter, dark cocoa, maple syrup, banana, soymilk, cinnamon + protein powder. Peanut butter in a milk shake? Mixed with banana and cinnamon? WTF.

Might as well be sticking ketchup on my ice cream because that is how disgusting it sounds. Or chocolate on my pizza. Or some other combo that just doesn't work.

I was raised in a farming community north of Kitchener. Almost everything is home grown or homemade or both. My parents regularly visit and bring me homemade jam, pies, potatoes they grew themselves, maple syrup from our neighbours' and even meat from the butcher shop several miles down the road. Nothing is grown in a "factory farm" and the community has a large and growing number of Mennonites (they breed like rabbits).

That said I am used to what I would call normal vegetables, fruits and grains. Corn, peas, beets, carrots, lettuce, peppers, oatmeal, apples, pears, etc.

The moment you start adding non-normal vegetables to the mix the combination of flavours mushed together is such that I do two things: 1. I worry if I can even swallow such a mushy combination. 2. The thought of the flavour combination boggles my brain.

ie. Avocado Smoothie: Avocado, banana, spinach, pure coconut water.

Spinach and banana and avocado? What stoned vegan pothead thought up that mixture? (That is not a joke, there have been a number of recent newspaper articles about chefs who smoke pot either at work or after work. "Everybody smokes dope after work," says Anthony Bourdain, an author and chef who made his name chronicling drugs in professional kitchens. "People you would never imagine.")

Seriously, I don't know how else to describe it. Vegan chefs must be high on something to be making such weird combinations. They've lost touch reality and their taste buds have gone so haywire that they're coming up with new ways to make normal people puke.

(Oh and by the way, I did a test on Yahoo! Answers. I am not the only one who gets nauseated by mushy foods. My mother for example can't chew gum because she doesn't like the texture. My uncle Duncan can't eat peanut butter because of the texture and the stickiness of it. Its apparently a quite normal gag reflex. I also posted the question to the TV show Dr Oz and am waiting for a response.)

Oh and there's one more thing I wanted to comment on... years ago vegetarians were pretty basic... but then along came vegans and they upped the ante by refusing milk, dairy or anything else made from animal. (And yet count the number of times their clothes contains wool, silk or leather.)

And then came the people who insist upon organic pesticide free food. (To be considered organic a farmer's field has to be pesticide free for 8 years and can't be downwind from any other farm which uses pesticides. Suffice to say it is very difficult for farmers to switch to becoming organic because they have to go through 8 years where their crop won't sell for as much, and farmers are already struggling to pay their bills.)

The problem with organic food however is that it relies more heavily on genetically modified plants. So now many veggie eaters insist that they won't buy food which is GMOD, but frankly good luck proving which is which.

The point I am getting at is this is a hugely slippery slope. First the vegetarianism, then veganism, then organic foods, then anti-GMOD. What is next? Food that is grown using green technology and no fossil fuels used to transport it?

I think that is coming. Seriously, the way the green movement is going I wouldn't be surprised if the super-vegans out there don't start insisting their food be hand planted and grown, no tractors or combines, it has to be grown in a local greenhouse using solar and wind power in a pest free environment.

And then once the food is grown it has to be transported by bicycle to the Uber-Vegan Store which runs on solar power. No dog sleds allowed because that would count as animal cruelty. No sailboats either because you might hurt some fish on the way.

Now I admit that sounds ridiculous, but I am willing to bet there are people out there who would start insisting on these things once they realized it was an option.

At some point practicality needs to kick in.

Ten years ago I met a girl in university who described herself as a practical vegetarian... she will eat meat, but only so it doesn't go to waste. She and other practical vegetarians believe it is more important that food is not wasted or thrown out. She doesn't worry whether her ice cream or salad dressing has some non-organic product in it. Her food doesn't have to be quote unquote organic and I presume she didn't worry whether it was genetically modified or not.

As an omnivore I am all about practicality and taste. I don't like wasting money on food that I won't enjoy. To me that is highly unethical to buy food, taste it and then throw it away because I didn't like it. Hence why I managed to eat 75% of the above mentioned veggie burger. I tried to stomach it as best as I could because it was $9. (It didn't even come with fries!!!)

In retrospect I should have gone down the street and paid $3.50 for a Polish sausage on a bun. And enjoyed every last bit of it, not letting a single bite go to waste.

I think I can safely say I will never become a vegetarian. Not just because I love meat and I am on a high protein diet to compliment my weightlifting regimen, but also because the vomit-inducing, holier-than-thou, impractical veggie eating lifestyle just isn't for me.

Its just too nauseating.

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