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Don't call me veggie, I'm a flexitarian

Is it just me, or is all supermarket food beginning to taste the same? Every tikka, every Caesar wrap, every fat-infused goujon. I'm getting bored with standard fare, so I'm looking further afield for my culinary thrills.

And so, I've noticed I'm veering more towards the vegetarian and vegan way. I don't conform to their rules, hell no. That would mean no spicy chicken wings, no full Irish, or no Eddie Rockets taco fries.

But slowly, the standard Irish "meat and two veg (at least one to be spud)" way of eating is appealing to me less and less.

Apparently, I'm a "flexitarian". Someone who's quite likely to swing to the alternative as a way of eating, without swearing allegiance for life.

In the past couple of years, I've found myself seeking out the menu options that involve feta, quinoa, couscous, seeds and lentils - food that appears on the healthier end of the spectrum, even though I'm no more a veggie than Desperate Dan.

In London recently, I didn't even realize it, but I grabbed lunch in a raw vegan restaurant. I had marinated mushrooms on sourdough, rubbed with garlic and chili, drizzled with cold pressed olive oil. It was so delicious I never even thought of adding bacon… but now that you mention it, I wouldn't say no.

But while once Dublin eateries like Cornucopia were the domain of the Birkenstock wearing hippie, you'll find every walk of life popping in for a take out box of healthiness.

CHIPS

I like the flexitarian approach. When I feel like a rare, bloody fillet steak, I'll have one, possibly with white, carby chips, deep-fried twice in duck fat. But right now, if you asked me for my death row last meal, it'd be the beetroot, feta and roast walnut salad from the Mayfield Deli in Terenure.

I think this new way of eating has been encouraged by the preachings of the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and British model Daisy Lowe.

Both have brought out healthy "free from" books that while they don't ban any natural food (Gwynnie's turkey meatballs are utterly delicious), all recipes are free from the evils of the modern kitchen: sugar, wheat, flour, dairy and processed food.

Irish foodie Sarah Jane White is my personal culinary pin-up; the things she can do with maple syrup beat Mr Kipling's offerings any day.

You can now go into a Spar and pick up a green juice, order hummus and carrot sticks on an Aer Lingus flight, buy beetroot chips in M&S.

All are tastier alternatives to over-processed, saturated fat laden options and come without guilt, energy slumps and self-loathing.


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