I’ve been feeling like I need to give you an update on my vegetarian “experiment”. Big changes have been happening with the food I consume. Not just the obvious elimination of meat, but how I’ve transformed my diet because meat isn’t an option.
I have managed to eat a meat-free diet for 21 days thus far. The only meat-eating that I have done comes in the form of rice cooked with chicken bouillon. I knowingly ate that rice. I don’t have a problem with chicken or beef bouillon.
Before I start, I want to re-iterate why I made the decision to eat a meat-free diet. I live in Oklahoma; meat-eating capital of the world. I was President of the Meat-Eaters foundation. I could easily eat several ounces of meat at every single meal. My meals felt “right” only when meat was the base of everything I ate. I plan to go without meat until February 11, 2013 (that’s two months), just to prove to myself that I don’t need to eat meat to survive and thrive. I didn’t like the feeling of dependency on meat meals. Also, I want to see if the vegetarian eaters know something that I don’t about health and vitality.
Meat (or any other food) shouldn’t have a “got to have it” control over my life. This is a theory that I could elaborate on in great detail, but I won’t. You get what I’m saying.
I just want to say for emphasize that I don’t think I’ve been a day without meat in all my memories. You would have to know me personally to understand how big going without meat really is. Because of this, the last 21 days have been surprising.
I’m going to take a pros and cons approach.
* I haven’t missed meat-eating at all. I can think of two times that meat tempted me. One time was during our family Christmas dinner when I pulled the turkey breast out of the oven and the smell filled my kitchen. I wanted to pull a big piece of the browned, buttered turkey breast off the bone and go to town on it. I’m saying, it smelled dang good. The smell is what set me off, but overall I didn’t want it that bad. The other time was a beef chimichanga that my son was eating. I love a good piece of beef. This is hard to explain. When I saw his meat dish, I didn’t have a beef craving. I didn’t want to taste it. It just looked good. It was a visual thing. Anyway…the pro here is that I don’t crave meat. Below is a picture of the actual chimichanga. Although you can’t see the beef, it was full of savory looking beef chunks.
* Eating more veggie meals has changed how I shop. It’s also making a positive impact on our grocery bill.
* Veggies fill me up. I can go hours between meals. I don’t have any “got to have food now” cravings. Of course I get hungry, but eliminating meat has definitely decreased food cravings and blood sugar problems. This is huge. These are the kind of results I hope to get from a meat-free diet.
* When I shop, I buy many varieties of vegetables. Before, I might’ve purchased what I needed to make a big salad and some frozen mixed vegetables for casseroles and that was it. Now, most of my shopping happens in the produce section of the store. This is a good thing. I recently made a lasagna that had almost 5 pounds of veggies if you count the canned diced tomatoes. Below is a picture. This lasagna contained a three pound bag of fresh frozen carrots, zucchini, and broccoli. It also had almost a pound of fresh spinach. It tasted GOOD. I’m trying to see how many vegetables I can pack into my family’s daily food intake.
* My clothes are fitting better. I haven’t lost a huge amount of weight for reasons I will explain in the “cons” section, but I definitely have not gained weight.
Certainly many positive changes are happening.
Let me give you the cons….
* I cook two different meals. One for me and one for the meat eaters. I don’t want to impose my food “experiments” on my family AND I do have lots of fresh deer meat in my freezer that I need to cook. But, the other day a family member that I won’t name wouldn’t eat my lasagna (that was very good) because I called it “Veggie Lasagna”. UGH…so much for my plan for my family to eat more veggies.
* Bread has replaced meat in my diet. If I have a big salad for lunch, I want a hot piece of bread to go with it. This is why I haven’t lost weight. I don’t want to replace one “must-have” food for another. Bread is a problem. I haven’t been eating whole-grain bread either. It’s the cheap white bread type. I must do better where bread is concerned.
* Although my family is supportive, I think they are anxious for this “experiment” to be over.
Now, let me tell you why I titled this post “Talking Turkey”.
Little story here…
Yesterday, I boiled the Christmas turkey bones to make a nutritious pot of turkey and noodles. I removed the bones from the pot which left a rich broth and little chunks of turkey. I added egg noodles. My kids chowed down on turkey and noodles. I made myself a bowl of lentils with a big salad. I picked approximately a half cup of egg noodles out of the broth to go with my meal. I tried not to get any turkey with my noodles. Again, I’m okay with non-meat items cooked in meat broth, so I was fine with eating a few noodles. I put a fork full of noodles in my mouth and starting chewing when I realized I was chewing a piece of turkey. A big bite of turkey. So, I had to decide between getting up to spit or keep chewing and eat the turkey. I decided to eat the turkey. What surprised me was how the turkey tasted. It didn’t taste like food. It didn’t taste good. In fact, it tasted bad. It tasted like something that I could easily live without forever. My taste have changed. For sure. My sister who is a vegetarian said this happened to her.
Now, I have to be honest. This scared me. I don’t want to dislike meat. I happen to believe the deer meat that’s in my freezer is healthy meat. It’s wild and free of growth hormones and vaccinations. I believe that organic meat is healthy (but I can’t afford it). I have big decisions to make after February 11th. I don’t know what I will do.
My blog reader and friend Lisa sent a link to a blog that will be important in my decision. It’s a lengthy read so be warned. Here is the link….
So, here’s the rundown…
Other than the bite of turkey that made me want to yak, I haven’t had any meat for 21 days. I’m eating lots of veggies. I’m feeling good. Hot buttered rolls are a problem for me. I’m going to happily continue on with my vegetarian diet. I don’t have any idea how I will proceed after February 11th. I will have blood work done this month at my regular doctor’s appointment. I will be curious to see what those numbers say.
Other than the temporary stress of my kids yearly 4H record book being due on the 2nd…….life is good.