In 1970 I married Alice who was a second generation vegetarian. I certainly was not going to change her beliefs. I on the other hand was a meat and potatoes guy. She said she would not change me. The only condition was that our children would be raised vegetarians until they were old enough to decide which life style they wished.
Note this was 1970 and vegetarians were considered out of the mainstream. The question usually asked was “where do you get your protein?” Eateries considered vegetarian food a salad and that was about it. Chinese restaurants did have some vegetarian meals. Italian restaurants did have egg plant parmigiana and egg plant rolatini but quite often they would use chicken stock in the sauce. Now of course there is a vegetarian section on many menus and we do not get the looks of weirdness or “you must be nuts” when we do go out, eat and order food.
For years I ate a lot of meat. I knew my wife did not condone this choice but I am stubborn and she was not going to change my life style. As time when on I made quite a few observations.
Many of the meats I ate on sandwiches were names that I never questioned. I finally looked a couple up.
Bologna: Smoked sausage made up of cured beef and cured pork. It has in it some choice parts but also organs, trimmings and end pieces. It has salt , sugar, pepper and spices mixed in. Its casing can be the tubing from cattle, sheep and hogs. Some of the lower brands can use a type of plastic for the casing. This meat is cured which means the adding of salt, sugar and nitrates.
This believe it or not gives it the red color of meat otherwise it would be gray. Believe it or not the nitrates are not that terribly bad, it is the salt that is imbalance to our systems.
Hot dogs: Meat trimmings and fat plus salt, garlic and paprika with preservatives for curing including sodium nitrate.
Salami: Again sausage meat cured with salt. Again nitrates and seasonings.
Now I am in my sixty’s and the doctor said I need to cut down on salt. Therefore since most meats are cured with salt I have to for health reasons cut out the sandwiches which I was so found of. I have to avoid Chinese restaurants which feature MSG and salt as a foundation in their food. And hot dogs, well I can eat the bun. In other words my wife was correct and the heavy meat eating really had bad consequences which I now am correcting. Six months after I cut out most meats and avoid salt like the plague, my blood pressure is normal, my cholesterol is down and I lost thirty pounds. I do believe that meat is not the culprit but the salt is. Now I would not consider myself a vegetarian because I do eat tuna fish in water and occasionally salmon. My potato chips are unsalted, thank you Wise, and I eat a lot of Amy’s foods with the orange label which means low salt. I am convinced salt needs to be controlled and that I am passing on to you.