Monday, September 2, 2013

From Meetless to Meatless

Being a vegan for seven days proved to be the easiest of any of the sixteen new experiences I've had so far for The 52/52 Project. I was due for easy and mortification-free, yes? Sure, eating restaurant refried beans made with lard was a minor fail, but I'm pretty certain guilt by accident doesn't count.

A variety of beans, nuts, raw veggies and hummus, Mediterranean and Mexican foods ended up being my mainstays. These are some of my favorite foods anyway, so it never seemed a sacrifice.  I'm not generally a fan of fruit, but I even enjoyed several nectarines and sweet cherries.

The week's big win: I made a huge pot of chili, using my normal recipe but substituting textured vegetable protein for the ground beef. (I used less TVP than planned, since I accidentally dumped the bowl when I was moving it from the refrigerator shelf, and half ended up down my shirt.) I could barely tell the difference in the recipe--especially when I scooped it up with whole-grain tortilla chips. I froze the rest; I'm curious to see if my two sons will notice when they eat it.

I ate French fries one day. *heaven*

Three things played to my advantage.

First, my only Labor Day weekend cookout was at my own house. I made grilled portobello burgers, corn on the cob, and vegetarian baked beans, with frozen banana "ice cream" for dessert. If I'd been someplace where my host was serving up New York strips, hamburgers, deviled eggs, or potato salad, this venture may have had a different ending. A person can only be so strong.

It also helped that it's late summer. Farm-fresh produce in Ohio is as abundant as our cicadas. (No, I won't be eating those; although can they be any worse than the crickets and worms I've tasted?)

And, finally, I just came off an eight-month low-carb, high-protein diet. I've eaten enough meat this year to last any normal person beyond a lifetime. This week, I didn't really miss it much.

What I discovered was I can at least cut back on animal products and still enjoy satisfying and healthy foods. Going forward, I plan to incorporate many more meatless meals into my diet.

I doubt I could ever go fully vegan for good though. From a humanitarian standpoint, it would be rewarding. It's just not realistic for me. Hypocritical a humanitarian as I may be, I can't imagine a life without a juicy steak or a sweet, buttery lobster tail, at least now and then.

Most of all, I missed cheese. I missed it a lot. Eggplant parmigiana, pizza, a humble yet delicious grilled cheese sandwich. Oh, the wondrous meals I could have made with cheese.

Honestly, if God wanted us to be vegan, why did he invent feta?


What's your favorite way to eat cheese? Are you a carnivore, vegan, lacto-ovo, or pescatarian? Is it me, or is the saving grace that vodka, wine, and beer are safe no matter what?






11 comments:

  1. Good for you, Sherry! Whenever I make TVP recipes, I always substitute lentils, because the TVP we get around here reminds me of tender vittles . . . But maybe I'll give it another try?

    I love cheese, too, especially melted on bready things.

    I'm a dessertavore!

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    1. This TVP did look a bit like Tender Vittles, but the cats took one nibble of the pile I accidentally dumped (whatever didn't end up down my shirt) and wouldn't touch another bite.

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  2. I will attempt vegetarianism and veganism for 2 weeks (1 each) over the next year, for my own 32 while 32 list.
    I am going to need recipes!

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    1. Fabulous! When are you sharing that 32/32 list?

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  3. See there? Easy peasy! I'm mostly vegan, sometimes vegetarian, and have been known to go for shellfish. Technically this makes me pescatarian but I'm not much into labels.

    My favorite cheese thing? Nigella's hachapuri. Dear lord. http://www.travelerslunchbox.com/journal/2006/2/15/a-georgian-feast.html

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    1. I probably have the best shot of success with pescatarian. If only my budget could handle the lobster and crab my diet would demand... That cheese thing looks nearly illegal.

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  4. Love your title! I don't eat much meat but sometimes a steak for iron - the protein just pours into your veins and I like it. Otherwise I'm a big veggie head. Always cabbage, always rocket, loads of hummus, veggie juices, grape juice in the form of wine.. Thought of you in Venice the other day - managed to have a prosecco in Piazza San Marco. It's a must for next time you're out. Xxcat oh and cheese sorry. I'm into French goat/sheep cheese - love it.

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    1. "Grape Juice"... Haha! Well, you live in Italy, for God's sake. I'm pretty sure the law is "Drink or face deportation."

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  5. I admire your discipline. I don't think I could go a week without a chicken club from Smashburger!

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    1. I'm starting to see a pattern here: I can do almost anything for a week. Beyond that, I am notoriously weak-willed. Probably a good thing I've never even heard of Smashburger...

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