Going Vegetarian

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At the beginning of the month, I decided that January would finally be the time that I try out vegetarianism for a week. I was pretty motivated to do it, though I honestly had NO idea how I would go about accomplishing it. I mean, I’m a pretty decent cook when I put some effort into it but I had never cut something out of my diet ENTIRELY. Especially not meat; something I have been relying on my whole life.

But people do it all the time and I was determined to be a little bit more independent in the kitchen, so I woke up on Sunday the 15th of January and decided that would be Day One of Going Vegetarian. I think Day 1 was the toughest because I had originally wanted to meal plan for my week and have things prepared by the time that Sunday came around, but I didn’t do any of that. I was SO determined to start on that day,  though, that I managed with the things we had in the house for that whole day plus the entire next day at work until I was able to go to the grocery store.

Since then? I’ve been completely vegetarian. I only cheated *once* but it was at the very end of my first week at a family dinner, and I barely ate meat at all. Despite never having eaten completely vegetarian (or really cooking for myself) I had a surprisingly easy time doing it. My mom was incredibly supportive of this new thing I was trying & she made me two huge pots of vegetable sauce. The sauce is AMAZING and goes on just about everything. I’ve been able to use it so far with pasta and quinoa, but I’m thinking I may use it to make eggplant parmesan very soon too.

Here’s the thing I HADN’T been bargaining on; I’m actually having a lot of FUN cooking for myself. I mean, I’ve never been a cook at all, but I’ve even become one of those people who goes online and prints recipes- AND MAKES THEM.

Here are some of the meals I’ve made since going vegetarian:

 

 

From top left: vegetable sauce- 3 cheese tortellini & raspberries in soya milk– fresh cooked quinoa toped with grilled carrots/green peppers/onions and topped with veggie sauce- sliced strawberries & banana in vanilla soya milk– hummus, v8, vine leaves and gluten free crackers (a little bit of everything lunch)- leak/broccoli homemade soup & a tomato/bocconcini cheese grilled sandwich.

After my first week was over, I decided to include fish back into my diet so that I could have some concrete source of protein. Although my mom is still eating meat and everyone around me is too, I haven’t given into temptation. I mean, there are those moments where I REALLY want what other people are eating, but then I remember just how happy I am right now with all these vegetables in my diet and I’m not ready to change that. I’m realizing that meat is an easy meal to make when I’m in a hurry, but cooking something yummy and vegetarian takes a little bit more thought. You need something that’s going to sustain you, and everyone is different when it comes to figuring out exactly what foods will do that for them.

As of right now, I’m sure that being a vegetarian isn’t going to be a permanent thing in my life. I would miss meat way too much and I don’t want to fully deprive myself of that just yet. I support vegans and vegetarians 100% though, it is a REALLY tough lifestyle to maintain. I’ve learned so much already in my time as a vegetarian/semi-vegetarian, and I’m just really excited to see where I go with this next.

I’m going to write up some important things I learned pretty soon, but I’ve been really excited to share my success story. I’d like to say that I believed in myself a whole lot, but the truth is that going into this I didn’t REALLY. I was motivated to complete the goal, but wasn’t sure I’d actually make it. Now that I’ve done it, I want to continue testing myself to see what other things I can diminish in my diet. Ideally, when I eat meat again (whenever that may be) I’d like it to be on a much less regular basis than before!

Most importantly, I know that I can eat meat now if I want to. When I say ‘no’ to it, it’s not because I’m depriving myself. I genuinely prefer my other potential options. I have SO many ideas for things to make next week, and I’m heading over to my brother/sister-in-law’s this afternoon so that they can show me how to make some of their favorite all-vegetarian recipes. Who AM I right now?!

Have you ever gone vegan/vegetarian? How was your experience? Would you ever try it? What are some of your favorite vegetarian recipes?

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12 responses »

  1. I eat vegetarian often, but not always. I have no plans to go full time with it, and like you, I started out doing it for a month just to try it. (This was way back in high school.) I’ve read several good arguments for why everyone should eat less meat (if not cut it out all together), so with that in mind I’ve adopted a semi-vegetarian lifestyle. I’m constantly surprised by how…not hard it is? I can still eat all kinds of stuff I love, and try to supplement my diet with lots of beans/nuts to make sure I’m getting my protein.

    Last night I ate vegetable curry (delicious). I also eat a lot of Mexican dishes with beans and no meat, meatless pizza, veggie stirfry, grilled cheese, Italian food without meat, black bean burgers, salads…I don’t even really notice when there’s no meat in my diet. I do frequently eat meat when I go out though. I do like meat, I just don’t eat it at home very often.

  2. Whoa, you did such an awesome job considering that you were only aiming for a week! I was a veggie as a teenager too and encountered the same problems – tough to maintain, plus, I love steak. I could do away with the rest of it except for steak. It’s so cool that you’ve got a whole bunch of new recipes in your reportoire – may I suggest trying out a spaghetti squash with your sauce? They’re heavenly AND healthy.

  3. I went vegetarian in like 6th grade for awhile (can’t remember how long) but then one day I asked my mother for a cheeseburger and never went back, haha. As it stands now, Rob and I try to buy all-natural meat from the store (and if we had a family we’d buy it directly from a farm) and since I went gluten-free we’ve had to cook all our own stuff anyway. It’s been great knowing what I’m eating, since I used to put whatever I wanted into my body with reckless abandon. Great post love 🙂

  4. It was Asian New Year this week. The first day, for good luck, you’re supposed to eat vegetarian. (Well at least for the Vietnamese.) I made vegetarian spring rolls and a noodle stir fry and was so pleased with the taste. I had a vegetarian friend I occasionally cooked for and experience that pleasant surprise each time. Unfortunately, I cook for two now and my boyfriend refuses to go vegetarian. Without him, I’d love to incorporate a Meatless Monday!

  5. I am so proud of you for sticking to this goal, because I know it wasn’t easy! I have pondered going vegetarian for a week but it scares me a little, which means I should totally do it, right? 🙂 I think one of my goal for February is to eat 5 servings of fruit/veggies a day so it may be a good idea to play around with going vegetarian for a week! Yikes!

    I think it’s awesome how much you’ve learned and how it’s made you turn into a cook! I really hate cooking but maybe it’s because I’m not trying out the right things? Interesting…

    Can’t wait to read all about what you’ve learned!

  6. I am a pesco-vegetarian, so I eat fish and seafood but no poultry, beef or pork. I’ve ate this way for almost two years now and I love it and don’t see myself turning back anytime soon!! I just never really liked eating meat in the first place and then reading Eating Animals kind of sealed the deal for me since my vegetarianism is more based on ethical/moral reasons. But I also eat A LOT healthier when I eat this way!

    I recommend checking out the Peas and Thank You cookbook. It’s full of tons of super easy (and delicious) vegan and vegetarian recipes!!

  7. I think it’s fantastic that you tried it out and found it doable and likable 🙂
    I don’t think I could ever go completely vegetarian (actually, I used to have an iron-deficiency and was told that a little bit of meat is actually important in my diet), but I don’t eat that much meat at all… it would be harder for me to stay away from deli meats than a piece of meat for dinner, though.

  8. Wow some of that stuff looks so good! I hate looking through veggie blogger’s photos and just looking through piles and piles of weird vegetables mashed up that I’ve never heard of. Do you have any sandwich suggestions? I don’t know what I could bring with me to class.

  9. I think that is a good challenge! I tend to eat vegetarian about 3-4 times/week in general. It just depends on the week. I tend to eat more meat in the summer as I grill chicken breasts, etc.

    It’s challenging to remove meat but there are so many awesome options out there! I haven’t consciously removed meat for any amount of time, but i gave up all dairy for a month in April – and have since stayed away from it for the most part. I usually treat myself to dairy maybe once a week and I do not miss it!

  10. Hubby & I have been vegetarian for the last 4 or so years, but in the last couple of years we’ve been creeping ever closely to full veganism. I think it’s great you’re becoming aware of your eating habits and giving vegetarianism a go – like you say, one of the biggest things is that it’s just so much healtier (providing you eat the right balance of course). Going cold ‘tofurkey’ sometimes isn’t the best way to do it though, can make you feel unwell if you’re not used to it. But definitely consider cutting down on your meat consumption. Tofu, nuts, beans & lentils are all great ways to get protein without meat or dairy – nothing beats a homemade daal in my opinion. You’ve just got to get creative!

    Rosie xx

  11. Pingback: Lessons From a Newbie Vegetarian « Press Play.

  12. I first moved out into my own place on New Years Day 2009 and decided on a whim that I would try vegetarianism as my new year’s resolution. I had a lot of veggie and vegan friends, I was broke and didn’t really like dealing with raw meat to cook it for myself so I figured, why not? Like you, I was genuinely surprised at how easy it was and how much I liked it. As a child, I hated vegetables. Now here I was eating them up like candy! I started to love experimenting with new recipes and foods and have become a much more creative cook. Another bonus, I’ve cut out fast food pretty much altogether since it’s mostly meat options. I’ve been a vegetarian for over three years now and feel much healthier than I ever did as a meat eater!

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