Two Weeks In: The Beginning Of A Vegetarian Life?

So, a little over two weeks ago I stated that I was going to try and remove meat from my diet. I was reluctant to say the word vegetarian, however. I couldn’t even say it to my boyfriend, or my family. I told them “I want to eat as little meat as possible.” Yeah, that’s why I went out on payday and bought all of the veggies I could get my hands on. Seriously. I never used to buy so many veggies, and if I did chances are they were frozen. Now, there isn’t anything wrong with frozen veggies, let me start there. But this time around, instead of my frozen corn and brussel sprouts, I got all sorts of lettuces that I’ve never tried, broccoli, carrots, artichokes, green onions, cilantro and that’s just the few that come to the top of my head. I’ve never really had room in my budget for fresh produce because I was saving most of my money for meat.

That’s the first thing I noticed, more money for the things that make me feel good, that until now were a luxury. Really. Artihcokes were a luxury. I couldn’t condone spending a whole dollar on the worlds smallest artichoke, when you only get such a tiny amount to eat from them. I bought two, and it didn’t even hurt. I couldn’t condone spending so much on herbs that I could just grow, so I’ve rarely bought herbs from a store unless they were dried. (And I still think growing them is the preferred method.) I even spent the extra dollar to buy dried beans because you get more in a bag than you do in a can. I’ve never even had a reason to do so until now. But beans are soon to be my main course in at least a few meals, I have the reason to get all fancy with my beans.

Why does it all feel so fancy? Buying fresh produce feels freakin’ fancy right now. And that’s not even considering the food I’ve made with it. Walking out of the super market with a paper bag (one paper bag, already less waste!) full of produce is kind of fancy. That’s what you see in comercials on prime time tv. It feels fancy because meat was always my mian course, meat is expensive, I never had the extra money for the produce to go with the meat, unless it was potatoes and an onion.

So, that’s my shopping experience. Filling up my cart with produce as my boyfriend shops for the biggest piece of meat that he can find that won’t break his wallet and will feed him for a week, I’ve got the whole top part of the cart full and he’s got just one measly package of meat and some cheese in his (and eventually he grabbed greenbeans to make stew). Onto the kitchen. I spent that afternoon cooking.I made myself some sesame noodles, which turned into a few lunches last week. I also made some rice and bean concoction, mixing crushed tomatoes, cheddar cheese, cilantro, green onion and carrots into it. This became the stuffing for some tortilla burritos, which became the other half of my lunches for the week. I had already been having overnight oats for breakfast in the mornings, so that was a quick and easy thing to make up every couple of nights. Then I had to figure out something for dinners, which wasn’t terribly hard. One of the nights I went out with my dad and his girlfriend, and I decided to try a veggie calzone with mushrooms, olives and broccoli. That turned out to be delicious, and I have no regrets. I had the two artichokes another night, stir fried broccoli, mushrooms, onions, sesame noodles and carrots another night. My favorite by far however was this recipe for roasted four cheese spaghetti squash. I could eat that every day, and I only had to make on change to it. Instead of using chicken boullion, I simply used a few spices I would put on a chicken myself, only because I’m not sure what “chicken powder” is, and that was the main ingredient in the boullion cube.

I’ve found, within the first two weeks, the most important tips a new vegetarian could find. Prep your meals. Always. Prep them, and also, shop for certain recipes. Make sure you’re buying what you need, rather than random things that you’ll throw together later in the week. Make sure what you’re buying can go together, or you risk having to go out again in the week for more ingredients, or whole meals. The second tip I’ve found is to not worry about your label. I feel odd calling myself vegetarian, I am afterall a very very new vegetarian. So am I really a vegetarian? I’m not a seasoned vegetarian anyway, so the word still leaves something of an aftertaste in my mouth. Forget labels. You’re not a vegetarian, you’re not anything. Just a human trying to eat, which happens to be humanities favorite past time, we even do it while experiencing our other favorite past times. When addressing my family, and my new diet, I left out the world vegetarian. They were the first to call me anything, and it was okay. No weird after taste, just pure conversation as I explained the things that turned me onto this new life style.

Turns out, I’m liking this a lot. I’m not finding many difficulties with it, and I’m already seeing good side effects. The most obvious was the money situation. I’m not struggling to keep my cart below a certain amount, in fact I’m struggling to spend everything in the budget. But I’m also mostly headache free, I’ve had one over the past two weeks, which is like  an all time low. I’m regular in the bathroom (sorry if that’s tmi, but it’s important even if we don’t talk about it.) I find that I have more energy already, I don’t get tired until sun down, where before I was yawning as early as noon. I’m finding that I’m fuller longer, and when I am full it’s not uncomfortable. I think these are all good things, and I’ll keep you updated on whatever else I notice.

The first two weeks have been successful, and I think this week I’ll be trying a new recipe. Something comforting as we fall into the fall season, litearlly. Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Chowder. I’ll let you all know how it goes!

While We Are Here, Lets Have Some Food


I remember when I was in middle school and took home economics class. I was taught the ins and outs of buying and consuming foods, how they are advertised, and a bunch of other things. They eventually did away with that class in my school, and I can’t figure out why. After all, I baked my first cake in that class. It was a double chocolate chili cake. It was really good and it showed me that baking wasn’t that scary. I wanted nothing more than to cook after that. It was during this time that I decided that I wanted to be vegetarian. I remember coming home and being told by both of my parents that it wasn’t do-able. I couldn’t for a few reasons, but mainly because how would I get all of the nutrients I needed, and it wasn’t cheap. How would they afford it? At this point, my home life was pretty rough as it was. My dad didn’t have a job, my mom was the only one working, and none of that helped my already difficult transition into young adult hood. My first reason for being vegetarian was for the animals. I had found a few articles online about what the animals in factories go through, and I couldn’t handle it. Secondly, I knew it was healthier, and here’s the funny thing. Nobody had ever told me it was healthier. If anything, I had been told that vegetarians are lacking in nutrients because they don’t eat meat and don’t drink milk. My efforts to become vegetarian were squashed, quickly. Before they even began.

So I sit here now, an adult, thinking back to all of this. I’ve seen video after video of the abuse that happens to animals, and I have always wanted it to end, and I’ve wished I could do my part to help it end, but before I moved to where I live now, I didn’t even have a way to help. I was throwing all of my money into bills, and the only places I could food shop in town were the pharmacy, dollar store and gas station. I didn’t have regular access to grocery stores. I had to do what I had to do, but I began noticing that I craved more and more natural food. I tried growing my own, but that didn’t go very well and I came out with a handful of sweet peppers, a lot of cilantro and mint, and three very small green tomatoes. I didn’t stop, I tried again this year, but I’m here with again, more mint, and one very tiny green tomato that I’m hoping will at least get big enough and red enough to give me seeds. I will try again in a year.

But the tension between my brain and my body is growing. I’ve been buying and eating almost nothing but veggies and fruit. When we have hamburgers, I find myself craving the crisp crunch of kale on top, with onion, pickles and dijon mustard. Take the patty off actually and throw on some olives, basil, spinach, cabbage, peppers and tomatoes. I’ll give you my patty if you promise I can have the rest. Each and every time, this is my wish. But I eat the damn patty, and I pay for it. My body doesn’t like the patty as much as my mouth seems to. My mind doesn’t like it either, my taste buds are lying to the rest of my body, and the rest of my body has become wise to these lies! So this morning I skipped breakfast. I have bacon here, and the plan was to have that bacon. I know that if I were vegetarian I would still have eggs, and probably yogurt/cheese too, and fish, but that’s the extent of my animal eating. Not because of anything except for how my body feels. I realize that those items are from animals, but I have to start somewhere and as of right now the only meat I’m eating (happily) is fish, eggs, and cheese/yogurt. I think I could leave it at that for now, and still be fine. I wouldn’t be alone either, there are a lot of vegetarians that eat those, but no red or white meat. I’m cool with that life.

So I’ve been adding things to my pinterest board that I have lovingly called Food 0.0. I know the whole board isn’t vegetarian, but I’m going to add those on. I know that part of my problem is not knowing what to eat. I’ve literally been surviving on grapes, fish and kale this week because I’m not sure what else to eat. Time to spice up life.

So here’s to beginning a new journey, and perfect timing too as we just welcomed a full moon into our skies. I’d call that synchronicity? Perhaps I’m reading too much into it, but we will see. I’ll give myself a month to say goodbye to the meat that I already don’t want to eat, meaning if I have to eat a meal with meat because I’m stuck or out of food I can, but I really want to try this, all the way. I’m doing the searching now for recipes and ideas. So here goes, one full lunar cycle. I’ll check back and let you all know what I’ve found. I might even upload recipes that I find!

Wish me luck!

(P.S. You all should know that my cat is chasing her tail.)