Orlando Bloom and beautiful cows – and why I’m addicted to fake meat
Orlando Bloom, the actor best known for the movies Pirates of the Caribbean and Lord of the Rings, as well as living with singer Katy Perry, went viral this week for all the wrong reasons.
He gave an interview to The Sunday Times magazine that many thought was a parody – an Englishman in la-la-land – but which was actually legitimate.
The regular feature in the magazine is titled A Lifetime of the Day and various celebs tell us what a normal day is like in their diluted world. I’ve read the feature for years. It’s pure celebrity voyeurism, even if most of the rich and famous pretend they’re normal, everyday people, just like us.
“Me. Oh, I get up, feed the cat, drink corn flakes for breakfast, vacuum the carpet and slump in front of the TV to watch soaps.”
Orlando didn’t fake it to his honor. After getting up in his LA mansion in the morning and leaving Katy, he plays with daughter Daisy for a while. Then he sings for 20 minutes – he’s been studying Buddhism for decades, he says.
“I like to make my breakfast, so I just have some green powders that I mix with brain octane oil, a collagen powder for my hair and nails, and some protein. It’s really all pretty LA. Then I go for a hike while listening to some nirvana or stone temple pilots.
“At 9am it’s breakfast, which usually consists of porridge, some hazelnut milk, cinnamon, vanilla paste, hazelnuts, goji berries, a vegan protein powder and a cup of PG tips. I’m 90 percent plant-based, so maybe I only eat a really good piece of red meat once a month. Sometimes I look at a cow and think it’s the most beautiful thing that has ever existed. At some point we will look back and not be able to believe that we used to eat meat. “
Social media critics – and everyone is a critic – had a great day with the brain octane oil, the collagen powder, the vegan protein powder, and the fact that he’s 90 percent vegetarian and thinks a cow is the most beautiful thing ever. Except once a month, when he is in the mood for a nice rump steak and the best thing is a piece of meat.
I don’t see Orlando judgmental. I am mostly jealous that he gets to eat two breakfasts and consume brain octane oil. This is obviously what I was missing in my diet. By 11 a.m. my brain had already turned to mush.
But what caught my attention was the beautiful animal piece. Yes, cows are beautiful. I stopped eating meat a few years ago for exactly this reason – I couldn’t stand biting an animal anymore. Even ugly ones.
Do not get me wrong. I am not a born-again vegetarian who rushes and teaches meat eaters. I respect people’s choices. I used to enjoy eating meat, from lamb chops to pork ribs to juicy burgers and even KFC, but the meat had to be heavily disguised.
The turkeys at Christmas made me restless. Some saw this wonderful Norman Rockwell scene with the father of the house ready to carve the juicy roast turkey. All I saw was a large bird that had fallen upside down in the center of the table with its legs in the air. The final outrage: someone had stuffed bread and herbs on the back.
The last straw came on an Easter when my mother-in-law, who knew I was enjoying roast lamb, bought a whole leg and roasted it in the oven. Except that it wasn’t fully roasted. When it was served, all I could see in the center of the table was the severed leg, chopped off by a baby lamb and oozing blood on the plate.
And so I stopped eating meat.
Two things have happened since then. First everyone asks me if I am feeling better and healthier. Not really, I tell them. I can’t honestly say I feel better. But the animals definitely do.
Second, almost everyone tells me that they eat a lot less meat these days. “We only eat it, oh, once or twice a week,” they’ll say, like I’m giving them some sort of papal vegetarian dispensation.
No, the Reformed meat eater can be just as unbearable as the Reformed smoker or the people who stop using sugar in their coffee. I’ve eaten my whole fair share of meat over the years.
A lot of. I think. More than enough.
The thing is, I’m not allowed to eat meat anymore. But I’m addicted to fake meat. Vegetarian sim is a lot easier these days. Beyond meat, burgers and sausages led the way, but now there is a dizzying selection of fake meat in supermarkets. And they are mostly very good. Even my favorite butcher shop – Orr’s in Saanichton – sells fake meat along with lots of delicious imported foods, so I’m still a regular there.
Some vegetarian purists don’t eat the wrong meat and enjoy enjoying lentils, beans, tofu, and other foods. Me? The meat substitute products made my way to vegetarianism easier. The first time I ate a Beyond Meat burger at A&W was a revelation. It was the closest I’ve had to a real burger in years.
Now the supermarket shelves and local restaurants are filled with meat substitutes. I can make a passable shepherd cake with fake ground beef, a premium toad in the hole with vegetarian sausage, and a fake chicken pan that is delicious. And I can order an Impossible burger from White Spot.
I still haven’t found any good vegetable bacon. Most are rubbery and taste like dump trucks. And yes, I miss the smell of bacon on a Sunday morning. The Red Barn Market in particular is double-smoked. But I am sure that in time it will come.
Most importantly, at Easter, when I ride my bike across the Saanich Peninsula, I can look at and enjoy the lambs in the fields and look them in the eye without even a hint of guilt.
I am not a complacent vegetarian or vegetarian. To each his own. And Easter ham, I know, can be amazing.
But I’m with Orlando on one thing. At some point in the future we will all look back and wonder how we could eat dead animals.
We will grow animal cells commercially in the laboratory. They are already doing this experimentally in Germany and the USA. I’m cool with that. Somehow. Although Franconian food, as some say, doesn’t sound that appetizing.
For the short term, I’ll stick with plant-based foods. My wrong flesh. Made from soy or pea protein or mushrooms and countless other ingredients.
And wait for someone to invent the perfect bacon – it doesn’t take pork.
Journalist and writer Ian Haysom is a consulting editor at CHEK Media.