I’ve been a vegetarian for all of 17 days now, which is, honestly, way longer than I’d thought I’d be. I mean, my husband is a meat eater. I was definitely a meat eater, too. I mean, this is the South. We eat meat.
Until I didn’t eat meat anymore, and it’s actually been way easier than I thought it’d be. Is it just me, or has there been an explosion lately of vegetarian cookbooks and resources? I’m not struggling for ideas for meals. And even in the dead of winter, and Oxford was caught between two snowstorms, our farmer’s market is loaded with fresh veg.
So here’s what I’m noticing:
- Dustin is rocking out. I expected more of a fight from him, and the first few days were a little rough, but he’s been chowing down on these vegetarian meals with me like a pro. We even found a way he’ll eat broccoli and like it. Which is nothing short of a miracle.
- I feel better. More energy, less general blues and down feelings (which were hitting me in a MAJOR way in the afternoons). Plus, my face looks skinnier and I’ve been told that I look like I’m losing weight. My scale doesn’t work, so I can’t tell for sure.
- There are a thousand different definitions for vegetarian, and everyone has an opinion on the matter. My granny thinks chicken is not meat, and I’m reminded of this scene in Everything Is Illuminated, and if you’ve got 3.5 minutes, you should watch it. Hilarious. Apparently, Everyday Food thinks that vegetarian meals can have chicken broth and oyster sauce. I understand that confusion. There seems to be a hundred different types of vegetarians, and where’s the line between veganism and vegetarianism? What’s the difference between a can of beans and a can of vegetarian beans? A Hershey’s bar and a vegan chocolate bar? I can’t tell you. And these infinite degrees of separation make finding food to eat a little more difficult.
- I’ve only been in one social situation where my sort-of vegetarianism has come up, and it was met with ambivalence. Or maybe she just didn’t know what to say. I never want my friends to feel like I’m judging them, but if they ask why I don’t eat meat anymore, I’m telling them. I need to learn how to discuss this in concrete, non-confrontational terms.
- Restaurants have been super easy. My vegetarian chimichanga at my favorite Mexican restaurant was DELICIOUS. Ajax is legendary in Oxford, and it’s a Southern/Soul food type place. Everything is cooked with butter, and even the veggies are cooked with slices of bacon or ham. But my waitress didn’t even blink when I asked her what wasn’t cooked with meat. And she rattled off a long list of things I could eat. And eat I did. Even Burger King has a veggie burger.
- I have to relearn how to eat balanced meals. I think it was on one of my comments over in the Women, Food, Blog book club, where I asked, “How can someone be a vegetarian and not eat more vegetables?” But that’s my experience right now. I’m carbo-loading. Part of that is stress, and general cravings for sugar, but most of it is a total lack of planning. So I’ve got my meal planner and grocery lister made and in use, and my job now is to start working through the supplies in my pantry.