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?