Monday, December 12, 2011

My Week without Meat

Hi everyone, I hope you all had a fabulous weekend! It was a great one here, we went to SantaCon in the city.  It was so much fun and I have never seen so any Santas in my life!

As I mentioned in my previous post, I didn’t eat any meat all week as a way to come off the juice fast. (Whenever I think about not eating meat, I think of “What do you mean you don’t eat no meat? Okay, I cook lamb.”-name that movie.)

Anyway, the last time I ate any sort of meat was last Friday (10 days!)when I had a tasty chicken dish at Quays restaurant in Hoboken. There have been many times in the past that I have tried to give up meat for a period of time, but I’ve never succeeded.  This was my longest stretch without meat and it wasn’t nearly as difficult as I had anticipated.

The meal that was the biggest challenge for me to avoid meat was dinner.  I hardly ever eat meat for breakfast or lunch, so it was not a huge adjustment for me.  It was actually fun to mix things up and create meals without meat.  My dinners included omelets, pasta, rice & veggies, soup, bean wraps and vegetarian Indian food.  There are so many options for vegetarians that I had never explored before.

Avoiding meat forced me to be more conscious about the food choices I made.  I didn’t eat much during SantaCon on Saturday, so I was pretty hungry as we ventured back to Hoboken.  Dan and I stopped at a café somewhere in midtown NYC around 10pm.  Typically I would have gone straight for a turkey sandwich, but obviously that couldn’t happen because I wasn’t eating meat! I went for a tomato mozz sandwich and it was delicious.  It took just a second to recognize I couldn’t pick a meat option, so I limited myself to their only vegetarian option. 

What I learned during this experience is that I definitely don’t need to rely on meat for my meals.  Many people worry about lack of iron or vitamins, but I felt great this whole week. Not once did I feel faint or sick (aside from when I was juice fasting), so I know I was giving my body what it needed without animal proteins. I never felt hungry or deprived and I didn’t miss meat once.

Moving forward, I probably will incorporate some meat back into my diet.  I think I will limit animal proteins to 3 days a week.  I want to continue finding alternate sources of protein and creating new vegetarian recipes. I made my Super Easy Turkey Chili today but subbed out the turkey. 

To make the Chili vegetarian, add one more chopped pepper to the mix, then include half of a can of corn and another can of beans.  It’s cooking away right now in the crock pot and it tastes just as good as the meat version!

How many of you are vegetarians out there?

What dish do you love to sub out the meat for another ingredient?

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