What makes vegetarians stray?


I’ve called myself a vegetarian since 1994 and have been pretty consistent, year after year, about maintaining a vegetarian diet.

However, since I have lived in Hilton Head Island and Baltimore, two fabulous places for eating seafood, I long ago came to terms with the fact that there would be times when I would want to eat seafood – especially in social situations.

While I happily stick to a vegetarian diet about 300 days a year, there are probably about 60 days in any year when I’m in circumstances where I decide to morph into a pestacarian.  And yes, it’s always  a very conscious decision. My rationale has been that if I were marooned on a desert island (and had exhausted my supplies of fruits, veggies, nuts and berries), I think I could kill a fish, catch a crab, or eat another sea creature in order to survive . . . but I don’t think I could ever kill a wild boar!

So back to the photo at the top of this post. I had the distinct pleasure of being in Baltimore this past week for CREW Network’s Spring Leadership Summit.  As a long time CREW member,  I love the opportunity to network with interesting and powerful women in commercial real estate from throughout the US and Canada.

Last Thursday, we had the opportunity to eat at Bo Brooks – one of the best crab houses in Baltimore.

I went with a group of good friends from CREW Charlotte – and knew before I got there that this was not one of those evenings when I would have a salad and baked potato. I decided that as a five-year Baltimore resident, picking crabs had seeped into my DNA and that I was going to enjoy a uniquely Baltimore experience of picking crabs and drinking from communal pitchers of  Natty Boh.

Here’s a photo of my CREW Charlotte friends with whom I shared a memorable evening – you don’t want to see the carnage at the table that comes from picking crabs.


While I was writing this post I looked at a couple of articles about why vegetarians decide to eat animals, and decided that only one of those reasons applies to me.  My health is fine after forty years on a basically vegetarian diet, I get plenty of protein, I don’t crave meat . . . but I do agree that there are social circumstances where you have to be flexible and share fun experiences so you don’t feel isolated from your dining companions.

Eating is communal and should always be an enjoyable experience. If being a vegetarian is messing up your social life – maybe it’s OK to introduce a little more flexibility – based on your own health concerns and your moral orientation.

And just so you don’t think I went totally over to the dark side . . .

After the crab feast – I was perfectly happy to go back to eating the exceptional Fruit Mosaic at Miss Shirley’s!



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