More than a lettuce leaf

A frequent question I (and many I know) am faced with upon making the startling revelation that I don’t consume meat, eggs or dairy is a horrified, “What do you eat?” Below are just a few of the possibilities. I’m hoping this list will come across as a humorous defence rather than an indignant offensive!

These are just raw ingredients; I’ve said “wheat” and “corn,” but not bread, Weetabix, Bran Flakes, Fruit & Fibre, All Bran, Special K, puffed wheat, pasta, pizza, lasagne, tortillas, burritos, nachos, maize-meal foods, polenta, cornbread, popcorn, etc. The same goes for other items that can often be made into dips, spreads, oils, chips and more.

Some of what’s listed can be used for great “cheesy” sauces (I use the dreaded ‘c-word’ to help you visualise the kind of dishes they would be used for, not because I’m trying to get a dairy-free casein fix!). Some of it is great for binding burgers or creating moist cakes. Because I’m interested in feeling alive more than the (nonetheless good and worthy) cause of animal rights, I’m learning to use some of it in less body-ravaging sweeteners or to bring a golden brown finish to non-fried foods.

So here’s the actual list. The point of it is the length, breadth and variety… I’m compiling it for fun, but by no means expecting or advising you actually read the whole thing through. (Having said that, if it helps anyone with inspiration to avoid falling into a rut with the same few ingredients, that would be grand.)

Feel free to add any others in the comments!

Some of the things I can eat:

Wheat • rice • corn • oats • rye • bulgar wheat • quinoa • cous cous • buckweat • millet • potatoes • arrowroot • yam • cassava • sweet potato • pumpkin • turnip • butternut squash • marrow • swede • broccoli • cauliflower • kale • spinach • cabbage • onion • spring onion • leeks • garlic • ginger • tomatoes • peppers • courgettes • cucumbers • aubergine • carrots • beetroot • lettuce • asparagus • artichoke • radish • avocado • coconut • olives • cress • watercress • chestnuts • water chestnuts • sesame • linseed • sunflower seeds • pumpkin seeds • poppy seeds • pine nuts • hazelnuts • cashews • brazil nuts • walnuts • almonds • pecans • pistachio • peanuts • chickpeas • haricot beans • kidney beans • black-eyed peas • gungu peas • lima beans • soya beans • burlotti beans • canellini beans • lentils • runner beans • peas • sugarsnaps • mangetout • broad beans • apples • bananas • dates • figs • oranges • ugli fruit • grapefruit • grapes • satsumas • clementines • pineapple • melon • peaches • pears • nectarines • mango • lychees • guineps • dragon fruit • starfruit • passionfruit • lemon • lime • kiwi • pawpaw • guava • sweet sop • sour sop • jewplum • strawberries • jackfruit • raspberries • cranberries • blackberries • blackcurrants • redcurrants • gooseberries • blueberries • pomegranate • vanilla • yeast • mint • parsley • thyme • basil • tumeric • paprika • cayenne • molasses • sugar cane • honey

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