Give Peas a Chance!
NEOPIA CENTRAL – You've probably heard of PPL (Petpet Protection League), the citizens who actively protest games like Feed Florg and reward Neopets for owning their Petpet for a long amount of time. You may also have heard of a group of Neopian activists calling themselves NOPE (Neopians Opposed to Pet Eating). Some of the more extreme members of NOPE have been known to encourage the mass-discarding of products made from Neopet and Petpet body parts.
Which raises the question – without knowing where Edna finds the ingredients for her recipes, is it morally wrong to feed your pets items such as Blumaroo Steak and Meerca Pie? Following this line of thought, would it be better to avoid meat products altogether? After all, who knows what's in the Mystery Meat Sandwich, or what Streaky Bacon is made out of.
Many Neopets traditionally eat a plant-based diet. Vegetarians are part of our heritage; for instance, veggie-friendly Lupe Treats were once introduced to heal the feud between Lupes and long-suffering Chias, and we owe the discovery of Tyrannia to a peckish Chomby eating away at some vegetation. Its also been rumoured that the Turmaculus has a vegetarian sibling, who can often be found feeding hungry Kadoaties at the Kadoatery! You see, all Neopets can benefit from a healthy meat-free diet. Vegetarian Neopets have less of a chance of getting diseases, their fur/scales looks more shiny, and it can save those precious Neopoints, too.
This article hopes to answer any questions you may have about embarking on your new, brighter life as a veggie. However, if at the end you find you have any questions, please don't hesitate to neomail me!
So where do I begin?
One of your first stops for organic, ethically-produced food for your Neopet should be the Health Shop in Neopia Central. You're pretty much guaranteed a bargain, even when it's not Half Price Day, and the Quiggle who runs the store is always happy to answer any questions about his produce.
If you are one of those owners who is a little pressed for time but wants the best for your pet, the restaurant and burger bar options at the Neolodge both cater to vegans and vegetarians. Pizzaroo also has some fantastic options on its delivery menu – I recommend the Yam-Lime Pizza when it's in season.
At the other end of the spectrum, if you're one of those owners who likes to experiment in the kitchen, More Than Carrot Cake, Cooking With Peas and 101 Recipes for Courgettes are great recipe books for beginners. Buzz Gourmet and Kau Pies are a little more advanced, but there is sure to be something to suit every taste and budget.
Gourmet restaurant Kelp has some mind-blowing dishes if you're looking to splash some serious NP. But remember too that you can get some great tasting treats for free from the Giant Omelette, the Fruit Machine and by playing Dice-a-roo and Pick Your Own!
Okay, I've heard you out. But my Neopet doesn't want to give up fish!
Oh, but think of the Koi!
Just kidding. Eschewing (no, not chewing, eschewing) all red and white meat from a diet is a big step, and many Neopets will feel that they would like to keep eating fish until they take the leap towards vegetarianism. This is called 'pescetarianism'. My Aisha Grundioy is a pescetarian, which means she eats fish and caviar. However, cruelty has never really been a factor in her decision as her brother provides a lot of her meals from Underwater Fishing.
My Neopet wants to give up EVERY Neopet-based product! Give me a medal!
If your Neopet decides to be vegan, this means that they will eat no animal or dairy products whatsoever. This means that they won't eat eggs, drink Kau milk, or eat honey produced by Buzz. Items like Gnorbu Wool Burger should also be avoided. In fact, it is best to read all item descriptions before tucking into your feast. But it doesn't have to be a chore – turn it into a game with your Neopet!
Vegans can live a very contented life in Neopia these days. There are some excellent vegan platters for under 1000NP in the Shop Wizard, and even a Vegan Turkey Dinner. Vegan Cheese can spice up any salad, and raw food vegans have no shortage of options available. Elephantes might love to snack on Peanuts, while those with a sweet-tooth can never go wrong with Doughnutfruit!
My Neopet is a baby. What should I feed it?
Baby Neopets need a special diet to help them grow, and a meat-free diet can provide all the necessary nutrients. And yes – even baby Pteris need feeding!
The whole Baby Food range is vegetarian, except for Beef and Veg Baby Food which is easily discernible by its brown label. The book 'Chow, Baby!' also has a full list of the vegetarian options your baby can eat on page 20. It is tailored to Gelerts but the information is transferrable to all species.
As far as I am aware, none of the milk bottle items in Neopia are vegan-friendly at this stage (perhaps it's time we put it to the Editorial as a suggestion...?). However, the range of Coconut Milks available from the Tropical Food Shop are all safe.
My Neopet is Skeith, or a Grarrl! What should I feed it?
Gosh, we're a little demanding today, aren't we?
It's true, Skeiths and Grarrls can technically eat whatever they want (after all, who's going to stop them!?). Books, toys and even weapons are all on the menu. However – vegans beware that some cosmetics contain wax sourced from Buzz hives, and woollen clothing is a no-no too! If your Neopet prefers 'real' food, treat them to a Vegetarian Meat Pie or spaghetti with some Meatless Meatballs. They won't be able to tell the difference! My Grarrl Teethcliffe loves the odd Mighty Grarrl Burger.
In closing, a plant-based diet can be easy, delicious and highly beneficial to both owner and Neopet. I hope this article has opened you to the wonderful possibilities of pescetarianism, vegetarianism and veganism in Neopia. Is it time for you to give peas a chance?