Fishing for Onion Rings


{fishing in Port Aransas, TX}

Texas is one of those southwest states that I’ve been lucky enough to visit almost every year since I was a kid. It was also the inspiration for my Tex-Mex Tofu Scramble. Austin is the primary location, but we also get to the coast because my parents live down there part-time. Last year Chris and I vacationed there for thirteen, sunny and salty days (see above picture). Did I mention I love to fish? I’ve been doing it ever since I can remember. Even after I got knocked into the Grand River by my dad and almost drowned*. Yup. My sister would be able to elaborate on that story.

Even with all my years of fishing, I have never been able to actually kill a fish. Just catch and release for me. Being down at the coast, it’s hard to avoid it because that’s all they eat. I still have nightmares of my dad beating a fish over the head so we can eat it for dinner…

From last year as a grown adult. Not as a kid.

It’s also hard to avoid fish when you’re dining at an all-seafood restaurant….

Like last night. When I ate fish.

Mahi to be exact. And they were tacos.

The sad part is, I didn’t really even enjoy them. However, I did enjoy the plate of onion rings right before. And I think that’s what saved me from eating both tacos.

That, and the goblets of beer I had before.

No really! The beer is served in goblets! See?

goblet of beer

goblet of beer

Social situations – although I’ve recently gotten better – have always been my downfall when it comes to sticking to my plant-based lifestyle. But last night I gave in. I did it. It’s done. And now I’ve got to keep moving.

I never call myself a vegan, and this is one example of why. A meal can be vegan. Me? Not so much. To me, being a vegan is more than just about food. It’s a complete lifestyle dedication. A dedication that I just can’t seem to wrap my brain around, and one that seems to have several different degrees of. I wrote in a previous post about how my initial decision to become vegetarian was for my health, and that how I feel while not eating meat trumps any instant gratification a big piece of steak or chicken would give me. Because for me, long-term health is what I want. I didn’t do it to lose weight (and I haven’t), or get great skin (although I did!). I did it to be healthy on the inside and reduce my risk as much as possible for things like heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes, ect. I also want to save myself the hospital bills later in life. My background is prevention (as well as my current job), and I have a Master’s in health promotion, so as you can see there’s no way for me to get around this way of thinking. It’s both a curse and a blessing when talking to people.

It doesn’t help that I’m a stubborn Irish/German/Hungarian girl. Ask anyone who knows me, especially Chris. Although he’s waaaay more stubborn than I am. But we could argue about that for hours…

Once I found my vegetarian groove, I started to explore other reasons for my decision.

I’ve always loved animals. Growing up in the country we always had cats and dogs, various wild life, neighbors with horses, and a pond where I’d catch frogs and minnows. When I’m over at someone’s house, I’m the weirdo social outcast that is playing with the family dog in the corner ignoring the people (you know who I’m talking about). The thought of killing an animal myself to eat, is not an option. If I were lost in the wilderness, I would die like Christopher McCandless from Into the Wild, who in the movie ate a poisonous berry and starved to death.

It didn’t really hit home with me until we adopted our dog, Martin, back in September 2011. I started thinking, why is it that a dog is considered a companion animal, but a cow, pig, or chicken aren’t? In America, the thought of eating a dog is taboo. But in other parts of the world, killing and eating a wild dog (or sometimes domesticated) is considered the same as any other animal.

I’m glad I don’t live in those parts of the world.

If you’re a meat-eater, and can in all good conscience have no issue with eating animals, no matter how they are killed, that’s your choice. I however, cannot. But then again, maybe your concern is the effect eating meat has on the environment, or again for health reasons like me.

So last night, as I’m looking at the menu…at an all-seafood restaurant…my only choices were a house salad and onion rings. After a long day at work, I was starving. I hate paying for a salad that I can make at home, so I opted for the onion rings (I know, healthy right?), ordered some beer and felt content.

To no surprise, I was still hungry.

So I ordered the Mahi tacos.

One taco later, I had no desire to eat the rest, so I got a doggie bag and it’s sitting in my fridge as I type this. And as much as I hate to waste food, I probably won’t eat it. As I’ve said before, everyone has their reason(s) for adopting a more plant-based lifestyle, and everyone is at a different part of their journey.

Welcome to mine.

My sloppy, delicious, humorous journey.

p.s. Wish me luck as we head to upstate NY tomorrow for the weekend to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day early! Warning: there will be LOTS of green beer/car bombs/Guinness/whisky pics in my next post….and I apologize in advance for any tweets that might offend you. Enjoy the weekend!

p.s.s. Before you say anything….Yes, I am well aware that most beer is not plant-based. This is just another part of my journey that you will have to deal with 🙂

*My dad didn’t knock me in on purpose. I was trying to get around him, he bent over to pick something up, and I catapulted into the water. I think I was about 5. I can still picture the water splashing around and then my dad pulling me out. I’m shocked I can even step foot in water now.

How do you handle being plant-based in a social situation??

Leave a comment


  1. Aunt KRan

     /  March 1, 2012

    You wouldn’t go in the lake for a long time.

    • I knew there had to be a gap in there somewhere! Maybe that’s why I fear swimming in deep water where I can’t see the bottom?

  2. dan

     /  March 1, 2012

    That was a really great blog though it makes me look bad lol you are a great writer!!

    • Thanks dad!! Not my intention…you know that! You’re the one that taught me how to fish, saved me from drowning, and killed the fish when I couldn’t. I only keep the positive things close. And those other things? Well, now we all get to laugh about them! 🙂

  3. Debbie

     /  March 2, 2012

    Beer not plant based? I did not know! But when starving, a plate of onion rings & salad would be good! Have fun in NY celebrating St Patricks Day and can’t wait to read about the adventure on havefoodwillfeast blog! not drink too much!!!! And oh ya…watch out for those crazy leprechauns too.


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