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<div class="quote-block">Petty Officer Michael Oleskyn says that when he joined the navy, mess chefs "would have told you where to go" if a sailor dared to declare that he was a vegetarian.<br><br><br><br>
Now, nearly 20 years later, and much to the relief of the like of Trainee Seaman Chloe Rees, there has been quite the culinary sea change in the RAN.<br><br><br><br>
"At first, I was a bit scared to tell them I was a vegetarian," she said. "Every time we went through the mess meal line it was such a rush I didn't want to put anyone out."<br><br><br><br>
The 19-year-old was relieved to discover that when she recently signed up not only were chefs more than willing to prepare vegetarian meals but also, at HMAS Watson at Watsons Bay, proper vegetarian dishes are now included in mess meal sittings.<br><br><br><br>
The minor revolution is due to the navy's emphasis on healthier eating patterns, beginning with recruits of 17.<br><br><br><br>
It is part of a program called Smart Fuel which was first introduced in corporate canteens. Now, in consultation with the navy, it is being phased in by Serco Sodexho, contracted caterers to the Australian Defence Force. The concept will also be introduced into the army and air force.<br><br><br><br>
Inside the junior mess at HMAS Watson yesterday (with some of the best restaurant harbour views in town) up to 140 sailors paid $3.75 for lunch.<br><br><br><br>
There was a choice of ratatouille with rice or spaghetti with either bolognaise or the vegetarian-friendly provencal sauce.<br><br><br><br>
Meat dishes such as beef topside and stir-fry chicken were also included.<br><br><br><br>
The rest of the week's vegetarian choices would surely have old-time mess chefs reaching for the rissoles: they included garlic with cumin-tempered lentils with rice, stir-fry garden vegetables in light olive oil with rice and - don't get defensive, chaps - asparagus vol-au-vents.<br><br><br><br>
Petty Officer Oleskyn, HMAS Watson's contract manager, said the navy still preferred to encourage sailors to consume a certain amount of traditional red or white meat, and fast-food favourites, like pizza, would always be offered.<br><br><br><br>
"From here on there's not a great deal that can be bettered," he said. "It's come that far. The only thing we can do now is educate them a bit more about what they eat."<br><br><br><br>
Yet as smart as the navy's new Smart Fuel appears to be, it may take some convincing for certain young sailors to convert their eating habits.<br><br><br><br>
"I don't really think about the the food I eat," said Trainee Seaman Ryan McDonald.<br><br><br><br>
"I just eat what's in front of me. If I was overweight I guess I'd pay more attention."<br><br><br></div>
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<br><br><br><a href="http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/02/10/1044725737106.html" target="_blank">http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/...725737106.html</a>
 

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"I don't really think about the the food I eat," said Trainee Seaman Ryan McDonald.<br><br><br><br>
"I just eat what's in front of me.<br><br><br><br>
Thats the real McDonalds attitude..<br><br><br><br>
(couldnt resist this)<br><br><br><br>
Well, when even the army is changing there must be some (slow) movement in the world.
 

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This is really weird, i know Chloe Rees, or used to know her anyways, i went to university with her years ago. I was just looking up some vegan recipes and noticed this post. Now she's a quasi celebrity in the vegan world :p<br><br>
Anyways i think it's great the navy have a vegetarian option, i think it would be pretty ignorant to not provide for vegetarian recruits, very old-world, and i'm sure they'll notice fewer health complaints in their vegetarian contingent of sailors throughout their service. I hope they keep up the plan, i was considering joining the navy a while ago, i didn't end up joining because they don't have positions for psychologists (i'm still studying), but it would make a huge difference to me if they didn't provide vegetarian meals, i'm sure enough to turn away other prospective recruits too.<br><br><br><br>
Dan.
 
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