Carnivores in love

by Andree Lau, CBCnews.ca

All through university, my friend Chinta was a hard-core vegetarian. My solution of "Why don't you just eat salad?" was not usually welcome in response to her concern that the restaurants I wanted to eat at didn't offer meatless options.

Fast forward almost 10 years to a dinner celebrating Chinta's wedding.

Her parents are roasting a whole pig in the backyard of their cottage in Nova Scotia — and my former vegetarian friend has requested that a chicken be stuffed in its belly.

I wondered if falling in love with a carnivore had anything to do with it.

Not really, said my friend.

"It was more of a health and weight thing," she told me. "I'm a picky eater so I was always a bad vegetarian. I never ate lentils and all the other good-for-you things you were supposed to eat to get protein."

A night with some heavenly lamb threw one vegetarian off the wagon. (Cranberry Marketing Committee)

So she took the plunge back into the meat world with a supermarket roasted chicken.

"It did take a bit of a pep talk to take the first bite," she recalled. "It was weird to eat it at first and I was worried about being ill. But nothing happened. So I moved on to steak. And that's when I really rediscovered meat."

I have another friend, Steph, a vegetarian for five years, who suddenly started eating meat again — around the same time she met her longtime, meat-eater boyfriend.

Surely, love played into the switch?

It turns out it wasn't affection, but a restaurant in Edmonton named Culina that bewitched Steph's taste buds.

She said she was already reconsidering her vegetarian diet — which she was gaining weight on — when she went to a special dinner at Culina where the main course was lamb.

"I'd be lying if I said it wasn't heavenly. Tender, juicy, succulent, melted in my mouth," she said.

"My significant other loves to take credit for it, but I met him three days after I ate the lamb," she said. "[But] I guess you could say falling in love kept me a carnivore."

Both of my friends admit meal-planning and cooking with their significant others is easier these days, and they try to buy free-range, organic meat whenever they can.

Has your diet changed over the years, and why?