The Vegetarian And The Steak

“Aged eleven, I had an epiphany over a lamb burger; a sudden repulsion at the sight of this mangled, minced and oozing meat.” IZZY PRITCHARD, dedicated veggie, swaps diets with a carnivorous companion for a day. Read how they got on here.

Breakfast Buttery Carnivore College Dinner Hall lunch McDonalds meat Soya Tofu vegan vegetarian

For ten years I have led an entirely meat-free existence. Aged eleven, I had an epiphany over a lamb burger; a sudden repulsion at the sight of this mangled, minced and oozing meat. Ever since I have subsisted on lentils and tofu. But is a decision I made as a child really going dictate what I eat for the rest of my life? It’s time to (re)face the steak.

What about my principles? Am I willing to entirely forego them for a short-lived Tab article? Well, yes I suppose. But just for a day, mind. And my highly carnivorous friend Fred has stepped up to the mark, cancelling out my meaty endeavours by going vegan for the day. The plan is as follows, for one day only we will have complete control of each others plates. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. So let the blood flow…

Round 1: Breakfast

Me: Bacon and egg sandwich and a cup of tea.

Fred: Fruit and Fibre, with blueberry flavoured soya yoghurt, fresh banana, nuts. A cup of tea with soya milk.

Verdict: Having craved bacon for the last ten years, I have to admit, it does taste as good as it smells, and I felt much less guilty than I had imagined. In fact I polished it off pretty rapidly. Fred looked a little like he was chewing the cud, laboriously ploughing through the less-delectable-smelling bran flakes. ‘It has its positives, I mean, I like banana,’ he commented, whilst enviously eyeing up my quickly disappearing bacon.

Meat – 1, Vegan – 0.


Round 2: Lunch

For luncheon we opted to dine in college. Fred showed keen by appearing in his ‘Vegan hat’, though was somewhat dismayed when he realised in the queue that pasta, mayonnaise, cheese and butter were all off limits.

Me: Roast beef with Yorkshire pudding and gravy.

Fred: Soya ‘veggie balls’, potato and carrots. Followed by a fruit salad.

Verdict: Perhaps college meat was not a good way to re-introduce myself to animal. I could taste cow. I could see cartilage, and chewing the sinewy dark meat was not enjoyable. In fact the first mouthful brought on an uncomfortable wave of nausea. The gravy, admittedly, was good. Fred fared slightly better with his ‘veggie balls’ though was greatly saddened to turn down the buttery jam roly poly and custard in favour of the fruit salad.

Meat – 0, Vegan – 1.


Round 3: Afternoon Snack

Me: Gummy Bears

Fred: A soya yoghurt

Verdict: Gummy bears have been absent from my life for ten years. Ten years without that luscious gelatinous goodness. I offered one to Fred. ‘Just joking – you’re a vegan!’ He looked very sorry for himself.

Meat – 1, Vegan – 0.


Round 4: Dinner

For the finale of our experiment, we decided to cook each other our personal favourite dishes.

Me: Chicken, bacon, and avocado salad.

Fred: Homemade falafel with naan bread, humus, salsa and salad.

Verdict: Well bacon is a winner in my eyes, and chicken seems to be a semi-digestible creature, though I have to say that the avocado bits were far juicier for my palate, and consuming two animals at once seemed a little extreme. Fred seemed suitably pleased with the falafel, wolfing down second portions, and only with great reluctance letting me dip into his humus. I think this is a victory for the vegan camp.

Meat – 0, Vegan -1.


Conclusion:  Meat – 2, Vegan – 2

Having taken down four animals in one day (if you count bears) I can safely conclude that with the exception of bacon, I’m not missing much. Vegan Fred is equally unconvinced by his new lifestyle. Thankfully no digestive problems to report thus far. I think it might be a Fruit and Fibre breakfast for me tomorrow, but I don’t think either of us will be keen to finish up that soya milk, so it’s up for grabs if anyone fancies a go? Thought not.