As you know, I am trying to do one new thing on my list every week. The Bob Ross painting was actually week number 2. The first items on my list was to eat vegetarian meals for a week. While I love meat, I know I eat it too often. I admire those who are disciplined about healthy eating. While I know there are many healthy reasons to live a vegetarian lifestyle, I was a little concerned about this activity. I worried that it would be difficult to select meals at restaurants. Would I be hungry all the time? How would I handle it when those around me were eating some delicious looking meat? For those reasons, this wasn’t the first item on the list because I was the most excited about it. It was strategically placed first for two reasons.
#1. Paul was going to be out of town the first week of January. There was no way my carnivore husband would survive of week of no meat. He gets really HANGRY (if you know what I mean.)
#2. I was sure this would jump start weight loss for the year. I was mistaken. I didn’t gain any weight, but I didn’t lose any either. Chips and salsa are meat free, you know.
My worries were largely unfounded. I had no problem choosing vegetarian options while dining out. A spinach and cheese quesadilla did the trick while eating at Acapulco. The General Yum Yum Pizza of the Month at Azzip was delicious, even without the chicken. The most difficult “eat out” day for me was a lunch with friends at Bru Burger. While I love their Gorgonberry Pecan salad, I usually get it with chicken. It wasn’t quite as fulfilling without the chicken. I was quite envious watching my friends enjoy the savory burgers.
I was never hungry. Vegetarian meals are filling and satisfying. Who doesn’t love a good peanut butter and jelly sandwich/tomato soup combo on a chilly winter day?
Other than the day at Bru Burger, I really didn’t have a difficult time eating a vegetarian dish while those around me ate meat. I would also say I never really felt like I was sacrificing. (Note from the editor, also known as Paul…she did almost cry when she made meatloaf for everyone else while she ate a salad. But in her defense, she makes a REALLY great meatloaf!)
I wish I had done more research on vegetarian dishes before I started the week. I suspect my taste buds might have enjoyed the week more if I had been more adventurous with my cooking. I did make a very delicious Roasted and Charred Broccoli with Peanuts dish for dinner one night. I will definitely make it again.
The biggest problem for me with eating vegetarian meals was headaches. I get frequent migraines, and not enough protein is a trigger for me. I tried to make sure my meals were high in protein, but I think I didn’t know enough about vegetarian meals and protein counts to avoid the headaches.
I will say, I learned quite a bit this week. I learned about nutritionist yeast. (For those who don’t know, nutritional yeast is a sort of parmesan cheese substitute). I learned that you can find something vegetarian to eat anywhere. I learned that vegetables, beans, and nuts are filling and satisfying.
If you are a vegetarian or if you have a favorite vegetarian dish, I would love it if you would post a comment on my blog page with your favorite recipe. While I don’t plan to give up meat, I do want to be healthier this year. I am hoping to introduce some tasty vegetarian dishes to my family. I would also like to reduce my meat consumption and maybe have one or two meat-free days each week. I enjoyed my meatless week, just didn’t love it. I know there are delectable and filling vegetarian meals to prepare that would satisfy my inner chef and my tummy. Your recipe might be a new favorite for us too.