Not Just Tofu

And the Church Ate Vegetarian

In Editorial, Event on June 1, 2013 at 11:38 pm

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How often do you hear that the whole church meal was vegetarian? At my church, it is not rare but the norm for the church meal to be totally meatless. Why you ask? Seventh-day Adventists believe that the body is a temple and the best way to maintain the temple is through a vegetarian diet.

I would say that at least half of the faith practices some type of vegetarian. Some are pescatarian, they eat all but non scavenger fish in there diet. Others are vegan, exclude all foods that come from animals such as eggs and milk. Then you have flexitarians, people whose diet is mostly plant-based but occasionally meat. The other half live like me and eat non scavenger meats and exclude pork, rabbit, shrimp, lobster, etc…

The church lunch is where the kids are first introduced to the concept of a meatless plate. Instead of meat, we are served meat substitutes such as Loma Linda’s prime steak which is a vegetarian patty serves with a gravy and sauteed onions and peppers. We were also introduced to “loaf” which is a loaf made out of ground up nuts (so good). They were served with familiar sides like macaroni and cheese, West Indian rice and peas, and vegetables. Thank God my church had really great cooks. This is how generation after generation we are able to instill a healthy consciousness about food. It is not rare to look around our congregation and meet a young vegetarian. The general population of young people is not overweight. It just proves that starting young helps to keep them healthy.

We have stuck to our beliefs even when it comes to serving the community. The community I think appreciated the change from the norm. They appreciated the mock turkey; it was served with real stuffing and cranberry sauce. We have hosted 2 vegetarian cooking classes that teach about basic and intermediate vegetarian cooking. I personally taught one myself. It is there that I decided that I wanted to take cooking to the next level. Today at lunch, we served an Asian based meal of fried rice, vegetable lo mein, egg rolls, mock beef and broccoli and mock chicken stir fry. Both parents and kids alike ate the meal without asking for chicken. My point is that it can be done if done well.

I just love the fact that I am a part of a faith that takes their temples so seriously. The fact the youngest to the oldest enjoys a well cooked vegetarian meal, makes me smile. Even though I am not a vegetarian, I enjoy people eating well. Getting in the kitchen is the only way to change the way we see food.

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