Veggie Update # 2

Only two days left of Vegetarian Challenge. And you know what? It doesn’t feel so challenging any more! Since my last update, we’ve continued to eat all vegetarian meals except the scheduled Carnivore Special at my brother’s house. I was wrong. He didn’t serve deer – he served moose πŸ™‚

Here’s a quick run-down of main meals for the rest of month, since the last update:

  • Day 13: Leftover lentil nut loaf
  • Day 14: Brown bag “supper” at work: brown rice and chick peas
  • Day 15: White “Morrissey” Pizza, made with mashed potatoes, garlic and cheese (bland, but has potential)
  • Day 16: Leftover White Pizza
  • Day 17: Salads, vegetables, bread, wine, blueberry cake …and moose
  • Day 18: Bean Burgers (a bit squishy but tasty)
  • Day 19: Leftover Bean Burgers
  • Day 20: Wonderful meal at local veg restaurant Heartwood: portobello sandwich and squash soup
  • Day 21: Pumpkin pancakes (recipe unnecessarily complicated)
  • Day 22: Vacation/Toronto, meal at my beloved Magic Oven restaurant – “Grains and Greens Salad” (meal size)
  • Day 23: Vacation/Toronto, All-you-can-eat veggie sushi, yam tempura and edamame
  • Day 24: Vacation/Toronto, Greek salad and spanakopita (spinach and feta pie)
  • Day 25: Vacation/Toronto: Falafel pita with veg
  • Day 26: Vegetarian chili and cheese toast
  • Day 27: (At work) Leftover vegetarian chili
  • Day 28: (Today) Leftover pumpkin pancakes (from frozen)
  • Planned for Days 29 and 30: carrot/cashew/tofu burgers (2 meals)

We had more meals from leftovers than expected, and I also worked extra evening shifts, so there were 6 recipes we had picked out but didn’t get to make. We’ve decided to continue into July until we’ve completed all of our “assigned” recipes. However, if we are invited to a Canada Day barbecue (hamburgers and hot dogs), it may not be refused!

I thought I would be completely for-or-against a vegetarian diet after a full month, but to be honest, I am still on the fence. Some of my thoughts for next month’s meal plan are:

Finish recipes from June. We made recipes that were new to us for the whole month. I miss the everyday veggie meals we used to make, so we could continue on by making my 4 favourite stand-bys: chick pea and veg curry, sweet potato and black bean chili, lentil shepherd’s pie, and rice/carrot casserole (made with eggs and cheese, so it tastes like quiche). Each of those is good for 2-3 meals, so all of the above would probably carry us through another month.

and/or

Buy small quantities of fresh, local meats at the farmer’s market, cook it up the same day, and base the next few meals around it until it’s gone. Repeat whenever desired, with veggie meals in between market days.

Sounds like a plan for July and August, doesn’t it?

I very much doubt that we’ll return to stocking up on conventional meat on sale at the grocery store.

The third option we’re considering is eating all vegetarian at home, but occasionally having meat outside of home (as we did this month when visiting relatives, but could also add in restaurant meals if we like). This would do away with meat buying, preparation and cooking, all of which I find unappealing, so this plan would make me happier!

After the first two weeks of veggie meals I started to feel more content with the diet. I adjusted menus and serving sizes so I was no longer hungry between meals. As mentioned in my earlier report, I had to work a bit to keep my weight UP, but I ended the month (June 28) exactly where I started, which was very satisfying.

There was one benefit I didn’t expect. Because we eat almost all home-cooked meals, I never fare well when I travel. No matter how carefully I choose restaurant food, it is always heavier than home cooking, and after the first two days I tend to feel unwell for the rest of my trip. Eating vegetarian for all meals completely eliminated this problem and I felt just great throughout my 4-day vacation. So that is definitely a strategy I will use when travelling in the future.

Finally, I checked my nutrition software “before and after” the veggie month and the results were:

Vegetarian diet:

  • 61% carbs, 26% fat, 13% protein = 100%
  • 108% of recommended fat, 138% of recommended saturated fat (almost all from dairy and nuts). Not at all concerned about this because of amounts of grains, veg and fruit consumed.
  • 168% of recommended fibre, 91% of recommended protein, 116% of recommended iron (mostly from fortified breakfast cereal)
  • All other nutrients were sky-high except Vitamin E, my usual nemesis.

Previous diet (25% of main meals were vegetarian):

  • 60% carbs, 25% fat, 15% protein = 100%
  • 99% of recommended fat and 126% of recommended saturated fat (maybe lower than above because I ate small portions of meat, versus large portions of veggie meals containing dairy/nuts/oils)
  • 139% fibre, 96% protein, 105% iron
  • All other nutrients perfectly adequate except Vitamin E.

I would conclude that I don’t need to switch to vegetarianism for health reasons, nor do I need to keep eating meat to get enough protein and iron.

There are 3 questions left to settle.

How do I feel about animal suffering, and supporting the conventional meat industry? (Not good, so I am leaning towards buying local, organic, free-range/pastured animals, if any)

Do I want to give up meat for environmental reasons? (Yes, I imagine that we will, at least, substantially reduce the amount of meat we buy and eat)

How will I feel when I eat meat again? (We’ll see)

Since there is so much unresolved, I’ll post another update later in the summer!

9 comments

  1. Don’t eat it anymore. Stay veg!!

  2. We have very similar views on meat eating – I’ll be very interested to see how you feel in a few months.
    I eat very little meat, but I’m not making vegetarian meals. I tend to eat the same as everyone else, but leave the meat from my plate – not ideal for nutrition. I was happy as a pescatarian, but my oh is not too keen on fish and loves meat!
    I’ll keep working on finding a solution πŸ™‚

  3. SarahN

    I watched ‘Fork over Knife’ this weekend, and it seems there’s not much endorsing animal based foods! That being said, i think in many ways it’s easier and more socially flexible to eat meat when out (or hosting guests), but I think eating veg only at home could work! I tried your lentils – save for them sticking to the pot bottom, they were great. The white Pizza sounds great to me too!

  4. Your fat and saturated fat would go down considerably (and be better in the long run for your arteries) if you cut out the dairy. For many when transitioning to a vegetarian diet the automatic default is to add more dairy to get the mouth feel (from fat) that you’re used to and to ensure you get enough protein. With time and experience eating vegetarian you can easily do many more meals without the dairy (or even the nuts and oils). Best of luck!

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