My month as a vegetarian has been a great success. So how did it go?
Glad you asked.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why did you do this?
That's the question everyone asks. And for those who know me well, it is asked with some incredulity.
For me, it wasn't about vegetarianism, per se. It was a food adventure. And like any adventure, the point was to sample another point of view, to live a different life for a little while.
It was a lot of fun.
What did people think?
Oddly, no one thought I was nuts. Well, no more than usual. I found people universally supportive. One person told me she is thinking of trying it herself.
Are you going to remain a vegetarian?
No. I am an omnivore again. I had chicken wings and pepperoni pizza for dinner the evening after the month ended. But I will probably eat less meat.
So, how did it go? Did you get what you wanted?
Oh, yes. The benefits were many. First, it's made me more aware, which is what good adventures do. It's caused me to greatly expand places I eat and things I might order. For instance, who'd have thought that Armadillo Willy's BBQ would have an outstanding vegetarian salad? I have about 20 new recipes I would not have tried. (I'll be posting more of them over the next week or two.) I also have new ingredients and methods. I lost some weight and probably developed some better nutrition habits.
How will this affect FeedMe?
I have a pretty big backlog. There are some recipes I didn't get to, like a potato, baby artichoke, mushroom sauté, poached scrambled eggs, and a vegetarian dish from Top Chef Richard Blais. I also have some thoughts about vegetarianism and food. You'll see those in coming weeks.
Almost never! This was the biggest surprise. I didn't miss meat very much.
No! I was full most of the time. My method was to eat a lot of vegetables, in addition to the fruit I was already eating. I was so full that I had some very light meals because I just wasn't hungry.
Did you feel different?
Not much. Many vegetarians report feeling lighter or more energetic. I did feel that a little but not so much I could attribute it to diet.
How did you make sure you had proper nutrition?
I posted about that a couple of days ago. As an ovo-lacto-vegetarian (eggs and dairy are OK), nutrition is not a big challenge, especially for just a month.
Did you lose weight?
I lost about six pounds (I started at 177 and toward the end, I was 170-172, depending on the day). I was not trying to, it just happened.
Did you skip treats?
I actually treated myself more! When you lop meat and fat from your diet, there is a sudden calorie deficit. A few cookies and such were a fun treat and didn't add up to the calories I had removed.
Chocolate is vegetarian, by the way. :)
Did you cheat?
Not deliberately! About two days into it, I suddenly realized that the fish oil capsules I take every day are made from fish. I designated those an exception. A day or so later, I was cooking and after cutting up some roast chicken, I almost licked my fingers.
But chances are I did cheat without knowing it — as I studied vegetariansim, I was surprised at all the things that we get from animals. I have some to respect the commitment of vegans. who must maintain constant vigilance.
Did you get tired of vegetables?
A few times. When that happened, I just stopped eating. I tend to graze all day anyway, so I never forced myself to eat anything.
What are you going to do about that big fat copycat, Kenji?
That was pretty cool. A couple of weeks in, I looked at Serious Eats, and found that J. Kenji López-Alt, one of my very favorite food writers, was going vegan for four weeks. He is still doing his. And of course vegan is way harder. It has been really interesting how similar our experiences and thoughts have been.
Kenji is awesome.
Will you do this again?
Maybe. I wonder if I can do vegan?
When are you going to fire up your smoker again?