I love meat! There I said it – whew!

From a young age, I have always loved tucking into chicken, lamb and various types of fish (preferably those without bones- That is a childhood story, for another day and one that I would quite happily, like to forget!).

Anyway, aside from being a die-hard meat lover, I have a lot of friends at work and outside who are vegetarians. While most are vegetarian due to religious reasons, some simply make it a personal life choice! Whenever we go out for a meal, while I am tucking into a burger, they are more often than not eating some form of salad or wrap! A part of me always feels really sorry for them from inside — almost as bad as I feel for men when I go clothes shopping. When you go shopping, you will always find that women have a far wider selection to choose from than men. Similarly when we go out to eat and we are looking for restaurants to eat, we have to try and find places with a decent vegetarian selection.

And, trust me this is quite a tall task by itself! While Indian food does have a huge selection of vegetarian items, other cuisines usually do not.

Today I was joined by Susanne Kirlew, a chef who is helping to change the image of vegan & vegetarian food. I always thought vegetarian food was about paneer and daal (lentils), which can be pretty boring and dull every day.

Kirly-Sue has some wonderful recipes you will LOVE. Born and raised in London to Jamaican parents, Kirly-Sue was a vegetarian (no meat and no fish) for over 25 years and she has now become a vegan. Her Jamaican heritage is reflected in her cooking and baking.

It was lovely to speak to Su and find out her perspective on the reason behind why she became a vegan and also address some of the difficulties she had in dealing with common day to day problems linked to her lifestyle choice.

Su said she only became a vegan over the last 18 months and had no plans to change her ways. An interesting tip she gave was: “ When you go grocery shopping, always turn the product around to see the actual ingredients so you are AWARE what you are putting into your body.”

I always thought that vegetarians would have quite an expensive diet and vegans even more due to the specialist nature of their dietary requirements, but Su did not agree and believes that being a vegan is quite an easy diet to maintain.

Sue also shared some of her famous recipes, which not only looked delicious, but tasted great too. The chocolate cake was simply to die for and the veggie patties were certainly an item I would be preparing at my next dinner party.

There are so many different names these days for people’s dietary requirements. Vegetarians, Vegans and now Flexitarians! Flexitarians is most definitely the best of the three in my meat-loving opinion. Being a flexitarian means that you “mostly” a vegetarian but every now and then you can eat meat and fish. I even read about “fruitarian”-someone who only eats fruit!

It’s fair to say as the world gets more and more advanced there will be increased changes about people’s perceptions about food. Keeping this in mind, I really hope that more restaurants expand their menu to whip up dishes for those with distinct dietary requirements. I always hope that when I go out with my veggie friends they get as much variety as I do.