What is Vegetariat?

‘Vegetariat’ is the combination of the words vegetarian and proletariat; not, as comes to mind with some of us mature people, Secretariat.  (I am a lacto-ovo vegetarian, not an equuis-vegetarian!)  Although raised in a traditional East-coast ethnic-influenced household, I have not eaten animals in about two decades.  I don’t use a microwave or a food processor, and have prepared three meals a day for me and my two children for 18 years, give or take, while working a full-time job and a side job.  Vegetarianism is worth the effort.

I became vegetarian for ethical reasons.  I could not reconcile the injustice of setting traps for rats under our house with the fact that a few pet white mice were happily spinning on their wheel (dubbed a ‘poo-wheel’; anyone who has owned a mouse knows why) in our bathroom.  As I sought humane methods of pest control, discovered the cruelty with which food animals are treated, and what overgrazing is doing to our planet, I could no longer condone animal torture and slaughter by consuming the animals.  Having grown up completely influenced by Disney’s anthropomorphic animals (why didn’t Bambi’s mom come out of the clearing?  Why?) I am a complete sucker for animals. I think strays mark gypsy signs on my gate. Now I have a 1.68-acre habitat dubbed Finch Frolic Garden. Because there are no chemicals of any kind used here, the birds, butterflies, lizards, frogs, insects, microbes and plants amaze me with their abundance.

I am also a foodie, thanks to my writer/award-winning cook mother and restaurant-owner and food lover father.  I partake of almost zero dairy.  Our hens are spoiled pets who give us eggs.  I make my own vegan butter and mock meat, drink organic rice milk and mostly make or buy vegan cheese.  I feel better for it dietarily and mentally.

This website is a combination of my mother’s influence on my love of cooking, my father’s restaurant professionalism, my children’s assistance, and my personal ethics and excitement over new recipes.  I hope you find help, inspiration and fun when you visit!


  • Brian Pierini

    Hi! Is your daughter’s eggplant stew recipe posted on the website somewhere? Thank you, Brian

  • Diane

    Hi Christine! Thank you so much for following the link and for sharing your dilemma. I went vegetarian for ethical reasons. I’ve also had to watch my weight my entire life due to metabolism and hypothyroidism and the love of food, so I know what you mean when you say that you feel deprived.
    The key to eating well is variety and freshness. I can’t tell you how much fresh herbs and spices change the eating experience. Organic or home-grown fruit and vegetables as well if you can get them. When cooking, making sure that you have salty, sweet, bitter and sour, if possible, and especially the satisfying savory experience they now call ‘umami’. That is often lost when people change to a low-meat diet because that satisfaction is in the fat. However, substituting olive, refined coconut, avocado, grapeseed and other healthy oils for animal fat will still deliver that feeling of satisfaction without the bad fat or the heaviness. I don’t skimp on these because I’m not eating animals. So a fresh oganic tomato, mozzarella and fresh basil salad drizzled with excellent olive oil and balsamic vinegar from the Temecula Olive Oil Company (for instance) is amazing. The flavors fill your mouth and head. Raising children vegetarian meant exploring the cuisines of lots of other cultures. So a Thai stir-fry with sesame oil, lite coconut milk and a squeeze of lime is real comfort food. Or Thai lettuce cups with chopped peanuts, basil, parsley and other fresh herbs sprinkled over them. Veggie stew with olive oil, carrots, potatoes, peas, celery, green beans, onions, thyme, rosemary, bay, vegetable broth and vegan dumplings is hearty, warming and thoroughly satisfying. It is low salt, very low fat, and extremely healthy and doesn’t leave you feeling heavy. If using canned tomato sauce, don’t use the no-salt stuff – its horrible! It tastes like the can. Use the regular and cut down on the salt in the rest of the recipe. Switch to flavoring with Bragg’s Amino Acids, which has no salt in it and can be used like soy sauce, or to flavor up soups, stews, rice or anything and is healthy for you.
    Try visiting 88 Ranch Market in Temecula, on Ynez. Its an International market with wonderful produce. My daughter and I fell in love with rambutans and jackfruit (fruit), a wide variety of fresh mushrooms and greens, fresh bamboo shoots and fresh lotus, and so much more. We take home something new and experiment with it.
    Having no sugar is a real challenge. Eating a lot of fresh fruit with your meals and not as a dessert replacement is actually more rewarding and makes you less likely to crave dessert. Eat mangos in season, fresh pineapple with some chili con limon sprinkled on it, green melon with lime juice and cantelope with lemon juice.
    Also, you can eat your favorite foods, just eat a small portion along with steamed green beans, farro, baked squash stuffed with quinoa, and other healthy ‘sides’. You get your desire fulfilled and yet do your body a lot of good. Poach pears in wine and spices with some organic fruit juice concentrate and drizzle 70% dark chocolate over them. Nothing unhealthy about that! I can’t abide Stevia or aspartime, so I do eat white sugar. But I also substitue with organic honey, coconut ‘sugar’, piloncillo (Mexican brown sugar which is very flavorful and concentrated, so you only need a little), and concentrated organic fruit juice. We make almost all of our meals, and from scratch, so my kitchen is all ingredients. So we make up batches of dessert, side dishes and snacks and freeze them. When we want something sweet, for instance, we have something that we know is good for us ready to go and its a treat.
    The fresher and more diverse your flavors are, the more satisfyed you will be with your meals. My daughter makes an amazine eggplant stew (she doesn’t like eggplant but I do, and in this recipe it disappears enough for her) that is Persian and flavored with cinnamon and other exotic spices. She makes rice with fennel bulbs, raisins and cinnamon. She also slices fennel bulbs and bakes them, and covers them with parmesan and bakes until it melts. So simple and so amazingly good. We make our own vegan butter and now as we are dairy-free in our house, I make a Parmesan based on cashews which is passable. The flavor of the fennel is what is really great. Steaming veggies rather than boiling them makes them more flavorful. Organic or home-grown are like different vegetables alltogether from what else is in the market. Fresh strawberries with fresh mint on top. A tiny chocolate cupcake with chocolate ganache on top that are frozen individually, made with coconut oil, dark chocolate and an alternative sweetener. Eggs are good for you, in moderation like anything else, so have a hard-boiled organic egg now and then, or an egg for breakfast. Organic eggs are far more flavorful and healthier, as well as more humane, than regular eggs.
    The more chemical-free you go with food, the better for your body. It is amazing what junk is in and on food, especially animals where the pesticides and herbicides and wormer and antibiotic is all stored in the fats. I know you said that you shifted to low-meat, but really watch what is on the rest of your fruit, produce and meats because its all those chemicals that really screw up your body.
    So eating is fun and a pleasure if you use lots of fresh organic herbs, spices and produce. Visit the spice shop in Temecula and get ideas. You can eat satisfying food by substituting fats, sweets and flavorings with best quality organic foods, and by doing so you are more easily satisfyed when eating.
    I hope this helps, and if you have more questions please feel free to email me at dianeckennedy@prodigy.net. Best of luck! Diane

  • christine


    I just read your article on what a “vegetariat” is. (I actually just stumbled upon your site through a link on Ann Wade’s website- so I don’t have a lot of information to go on.) However, I just wanted to ask if you (or anyone else out there) can explain how they can be a “foodie” on a mostly plant-based diet. (I know you said you eat eggs and cheese, though).

    I am a stage 4 metastatic breast cancer patient, who grew up in an amazing Italian family, rich in good cooking. I am a true down-to-the-last-fiber “foodie.” After my diagnosis 1 1/2 years ago, I began doing my research, and radically changed my diet. I cut out sugar, and most dairy, meat, and eggs. I still have the occasional anti-biotic and hormone free cut of beef or chicken, (grass-fed), but my diet is largely legumes, vegetables and fruits, and grains. I have never gotten to the point that I “no longer” crave the old things, as many people tell you they do. I feel like I am constantly deprived, and just hate the thought of going to the grocery store (where everything is calling my name) and I live everyday saying “no” to all the foods I love. Same is true with eating out. This kind of living is just so “stale” and redundant to me…I would greatly appreciate hearing from anyone who has conquered this. Thank you.

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