Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Going Veg: The First 90 Days

This will be the last of my going-vegetarian posts (at least in this format), because it's been three months as stipulated by my Life List. And also because I feel like it has become more natural, more of a habit, and less of something that I have to think about constantly. When I first stopped eating meat, I'd wake up every day thinking, "Okay, you're a vegetarian, what are you going to eat today?" Now I don't have to think about it much. Unless I'm at a holiday party, in which case I'm that annoying guest asking everyone if their potluck dishes have meat in them.

How was Thanksgiving?
It was the same as any other Thanksgiving — I didn't eat any turkey, and still managed to stuff my face enough to not be hungry for the next 24 hours. Green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, marshmallow salad, mac and cheese. Veggie plates and Chex mix and chocolate-dipped pretzels. Pecan cheesecake, s'mores bars, pineapple upside-down cake, repeat ad nauseum. SO MUCH FOOD. SO GOOD. And then we went to my grandparents' and they made shrimp remoulade, which was also amazing. We ate it on buns with homemade coleslaw.

Matt's aunt made this cute turkey crudité tray.

What am I eating?
I think becoming a vegetarian has broken me. Because Matt made nachos and I intentionally ate all the chips with cheese on them before he could. And then we went to a party and I kept eating cubes of colby jack and provolone. What is wrong with me?!
• Homemade Pizza (again) — We had homemade pizza for dinner at Matt's parents' house the night before Thanksgiving, and I was inspired to make my own again. This crust recipe is different than the last one I posted, and is WAY faster too. Like, only five minutes of rise time instead of 12 hours. I used regular all-purpose flour instead of wheat flour (since that was all I had), and loaded the pie up with mozzarella, basil leaves, tomato slices and bell peppers. It was delicious.
Mustard Vinaigrette Potato Salad — I doubled this recipe for a potluck party, and I got lots of compliments on it. I was also pleased that there was still some leftover at the end of the party, and I may or may not have eaten some off the serving spoon in the car on the way home.
Balsalmic Brussels Sprouts — Oh yeah, I'm that nerd that brought brussels sprouts to a Christmas party. I wanted to bring a veggie since the host was making lasagna, and I had several people tell me how much they love brussels sprouts. I'm glad that childhood aversions don't always stick around forever, because this was really good.
I tried a lot of new recipes this month, but most of them weren't must-share-it-now amazing. (Some were downright terrible.) I tried barley for the first time, and shittake mushrooms too. I had really awful tofu at a pho restaurant (the one that is NOT Pho John's) that was still cold in the middle and stale and completely unseasoned, and that was disappointing because I know tofu can be really good!

Do I miss meat?
The only time I kind of craved meat was the morning after Thanksgiving. I'd been snacking on dessert foods all evening the day before, and my in-laws served an egg and sausage casserole for breakfast, alongside fruit and yogurt and some of the leftover desserts. And egg and sausage sounded delicious, because I was a bit sugared out and really craved something hearty and savory. But I'm good now.

How am I feeling?
Thanksgiving was not that good to my tummy. I did feel kind of off for a week or so afterwards, but I'm back to feeling mostly good again. I blame all the sugar. I ate a LOT of desserts. And even after we got home, I brought back some pineapple upside-down cake, and then we bought a half-gallon of Bluebell, and we have a chocolate advent calendar, and it's been sugar central over here. It'll be 1000%  better once the food holidays are over!

How is Matt taking it?
He still takes every opportunity to eat beef whenever we go anywhere, but he has never once complained that I haven't cooked meat since September. Also, he requested tacos again for dinner this week, so I bought ground beef for him to cook for himself. (I'll be putting refried beans and Spanish rice on mine.)

Do I think I'll continue being a vegetarian/pescatarian now that three months are over?
Yes. I'm not opposed to eating meat in the future if I decide that's what I want, but for now, I don't miss it, and I don't want it. I feel good, I'm eating tasty things, and it's forcing me to try new foods, of which I'm a fan. I can't complain.

Would you ever consider going vegetarian? (I hope this series was useful for you!)


  1. I have never attempted vegetarianism, but I grew up with a hunting father and have spent my entire life involved in the animal industry (working at a veterinary office beginning at age 14). But if your body feels better for not eating meat, enjoy!

    Just as an FYI - marshmallows (like Jell-O) are made from animal product. If you're choosing to not eat beef and pork products, you may want to avoid that in the future. In fact, you may (or maybe don't!) want to look up what exactly to avoid. By-products are in a lot of unexpected places and to go as far as veganism is truly not even possible (particularly given that fruits and vegetables are as much a product of using bee labor as honey is). I'm not trying to gross you out - just didn't know if you realized and thought you might prefer to know!

    1. Thanks for your comment Brandi! I knew that Jell-O may contain byproducts, but I didn't know about marshmallows. I'm definitely not going full vegan — I couldn't give up ice cream!

  2. i only eat meat 2x a week or so, not because of a conscious choice, but because i don't really crave it. when i volunteered in mexico, they hung animals over a fire at the meat stands, and i became an instant vegetarian for 6 months. it feels kind of odd eating meat now, just because i can't see the process, but i get kinda shaky without it... props to you for learning how to eat less (and convincing the hubs to do it too)

    1. Sounds like maybe you weren't getting enough protein? I figured out (the first, unsuccessful time I tried to go vegan) that you have to replace the foods you're cutting out to make sure you get all your nutrients! I eat a lot of quinoa, beans and nuts now to make sure I'm getting enough protein.

  3. I think this is just so cool. I went vegetarian 13 years ago and stuck with it. It transformed my body but more importantly, I FELT better. More clear mentally, more focused, even my mood was elevated. I do miss ribs sometimes but the reward is so worth it.

    Good for you on trying new recipes. My first few years I subsisted on beans and tofu. I'm STILL trying to master quinoa. I find so many awesome recipes but the ingredient list is about 12 miles long. Ain't nobody got time for that.

  4. I'm pretty sure I could go without meat for the most part, but going vegan or totally swearing off any and all animal products would be a whole different ball game. I don't like most meat, pretty much chicken breasts and steak is what I will eat in just about any variety. There is a LOT of tasty non-meat food out there! I don't think I could totally go without eggs though--those are my easy protein standby.

  5. this is so interesting! i always like to hear how people handle becoming a vegetarian. thanks for sharing!