So the first annual or semi-annual EGLGFG Vegetarian Challenge has ended.
I know, I’m sure you’re all very sad. My original goal was to eat vegetarian for two weeks, from the 3rd to the 17th, witha potential for eating vegan the second week. The vegan part definitely didn’t happen, but I did eat many vegan meals over the course of the 2 weeks. I didn’t eat meat once…untillll….hubster came home. Hubster unexpectedly came home 2 days early on Saturday (then left the next day) so we shared a meal together (yay!). I had this great meal planned out where I wouldn’t have to stop my challenge but could still eat the same thing (fajitas!).
Unfortunately, I made a significant cooking error: Somewhere along the lines I forgot that I wasn’t eating the hamburger part and thought in order to save dirtying another pan I would just cook the meat and peppers/onions together. As soon as I dumped the onions and peppers in I remembered: CRAP! I’m not supposed to be eating meat!
It’s really not my style to be totally neurotic and a) pick the peppers and onions out even though they were cooked in meat juice or b) not eat any of it and have a fajita consisting of beans, cheese, sour cream, and salsa, so I broke down without much heartache and ate the meat. And the world did not end, nor did I feel like a failure. This is a made up challenge for goodness sake! That’s the beauty of blog challenges that only the blogger partakes in.
So what have I learned? A few things, in no particular order:
- I will never eat Vegan. I had a lot of good vegan meals, but at the end of the day I love me some eggs, cheese, and milk. And meat, for that matter, but especially eggs, cheese, and milk.
- I really didn’t miss eating meat that much. Yeah, those fajitas and that burger tasted delicious, but I easily could have done without the meat in the fajitas…The burger, if I’d been in a restaurant where they served other options (aside from veggie burger) I would not have chosen…but it was verrrrry tasty! The moral of the story, I think, is that I would do well as a less-meat-eating omnivore…listening to my body and eating good quality meat only when it’s telling me it needs some.
- I did feel better as a whole while eating vegetarian. I was a little worried about feeling real tired/not getting enough protein. This wasn’t the case at all. The first week I exercised quite a bit and felt great. The second week a little treat called Lola put a little damper on my exercise plans, but I still had very little fatigue or lethargy. And my body felt… cleaner… if that makes any sense.
- Just because you eat “vegetarian” doesn’t mean you’re automatically eating “healthy”. Grilled cheese, pizza, ice cream, french fries, all of these would have been “allowed” under the EGLGFG veggie challenge but I’m guessing I could have felt pretty crappy if I’d subsisted on these. Case in point: I did have pizza once, from the concession stand one late night at work (cheese, of course). After I ate it I immediately regretted my decision…I’d felt much better after eating rainbow chard for lunch, and I’d even say I felt fuller after the chard compared to the pizza. I ate good, healthy, quality foods during this challenge and I bet that is the biggest reason I felt so good.
- There are plenty of good, healthy, vegetarian “quick food” options. Yes, it can be time consuming to eat vegetarian, but it can also be pretty easy. Take the second week of the challenge, where, unfortunately, I ate “take out” a lot. More than I would’ve liked. But I stuck with healthy vegetarian options and still felt great. My faves? Israeli couscous from EarthFare hot foods section, Chipotle (surprisingly very tasty without meat!!!), and my go-to I-need-protein dinner that can be ready in about 5 minutes, fried eggs with cheese on toast. Adding a little spinach in there is oh-so-tasty too! And a healthier, homemade dish: sweet potato with sauteed spinach and cheese (can you tell I like cheese?). Poke sweet potato with a fork, microwave for 8 minutes wrapped in paper towel. Meanwhile, saute spinach. Sprinkle some cheese on the sweet potato when it’s done (I cut mine in half, I also like to put ketchup on mine 🙂 )
P.S., a comment for a conversation another day…I think the whole “cholesterol in eggs is bad for you” is bogus. I may be biased because I love eggs, but I’m guessing people with high cholesterol are eating a lot worse foods than eggs. Moderation people, moderation.
On Sunday, I drove down to spend some time with my best friends from college, cheering on our alma mater gymnastics team in the Lindsey Ferris Invitational (Go GW!!!). It was awesome.
After the meet we went to a neat spot in DC that wasn’t there when I was in school called BTS (Burger Tap and Shakes).
Yeah, I could’ve gotten a veggie burger, there was one on the menu…but I found myself hankering for a nice tasty delicious BEEF burger, and so I got one. And it was D-E-LICIOUS! Cooked medium with bacon, cheddar cheese, and all the fixins. Even better than Five Guys!
So now, I move forward with a plan to eat less meat than the Old Abbey did. A lot of times I ate meat forms of protein because I thought I needed it, and I thought it would keep me feeling full. The truth, as I found out, is roasted vegetables or breakfast bulgur can keep you feeling full and satisfied longer than any meat.