We are having a 97% vegetarian month in June. Here is my first update, 12 days in.
Rom and I decided in advance we’d have meat at 3 meals during the month, at other people’s homes. Two of the three meals with meat have already taken place. The next one is a Fathers Day barbecue at my brother’s house who is likely to serve deer he shot himself 🙂 He can be counted on to make loud remarks if we are seen eating only “rabbit food,” as he calls anything green.
Otherwise we have been proper little plant eaters. Our main meals so far:
Day 1: falafel sloppy joes (outcome: fast, tasty, salty)
Day 2: corn fritters (need an alternate recipe before trying again), refried beans
Day 3: ham dinner at my parents’ place (as scheduled)
Day 4: mung bean dal with coconut, apples, mint and lime (very hearty)
Day 5: leftover dal (just as good 2nd time)
Day 6: lunch and dinner both at work (brown bag): brown rice/chick peas, and cheese sandwich
Day 7: mushroom fritters (yummy indulgence, deep-fried), beans
Day 8: Greek pizza at Boston Pizza (feta, onions, peppers, olives)
Day 9: couscous risotto with artichokes (delicious but very low in protein, served with beans)
Day 10: ham dinner (again!) at a community supper
Day 11: egg and cheese frittata packed with vegetables (not a new recipe)
Day 12 (today): lentil nut loaf (nice flavour but recipe needs adjustment)
My observations are:
I really like not buying meat, packaging it up for the freezer, unthawing it, cutting it, cooking it and draining it. I like not dealing with blood and bones and animal fat. I never thought about how much time it takes to do all that. Yes, I am always making rice and grains and beans, and chopping vegetables, but I did that every day anyway, as accompaniments to meat. Every meal time preps up faster. Clean-ups are also quicker and more sanitary, and no cross-contamination worries. I am liking this!
My cats are so much calmer! They are still eating their meat-based cat food, but now that I am not preparing meat in the kitchen any more, they stay away at meal time. Previously, they would constantly be underfoot, meowing and begging, and trying to jump up on the counter top. It really has made meal times more relaxing!
I miss the way the elements of a meal look on your plate when you have a “square meal” of meat, potato or rice, and veg. The meals we’ve had so far have mostly been one-dish meals. Or, something like the fritters with beans or steamed veg on the side. I’ve been adding a slice of whole wheat bread and a glass of milk as well. But I mostly feel I am just eating “one thing.” If the main course is beans and veg, then what can the sides be, except more of the same? Salad, maybe. Having milk, yogurt, or fruit afterwards adds a bit of variety.
I’ve never heard a vegetarian admit this, but I am finding myself much more hungry between meals. I even have to eat more every day so I don’t lose weight. I suppose I could just lose it, because vegetarians are leaner and healthier overall, but it isn’t my goal and I don’t want to. I have been eating about 2500 calories a day and can still hardly keep up! Some days I think, how much more cereal or salad or beans or fruit can I actually eat? I use a software program that calculates my daily nutrition, and it says I am getting an average of 90% of the calories I need, 83% of protein, 112% of fat, and 175% of fibre (all vitamins and minerals are completely covered). I am not sure if I can or should change the ratios. I will not be adding in junk food or supplements just to even things out!
All in all I am feeling better now than I did the first few days, I like trying new recipes, and I don’t miss meat itself – just meat culture, LOL!
Really insightful post… I agree with the headache of meat… so icky! I’m trying for zero waste and meat really pushes me to take out the rubbish quickly-er! Unlike you though, I love one dish meals, circles over squares! Meat and three veg bores me, I’d much rather disguise my vegies (and with the meat, sure!) I’d love some of your recipes, ie: falafel sloppy joes, mung bean dal with coconut, apples, mint and lime and lentil nut loaf!
We are using just 2 cookbooks for the whole month: How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman, and Vegetarian Times Complete Cookbook. The Falafel Sloppy Joes recipe is “fast food,” see here: http://wp.me/p25oSj-hK I will email you the other 2!