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We Went Vegetarian for One Week! Here’s How it Went!

October 1 was World Vegetarian Day and up until now, I didn't really even consider it.

Updated: November 24, 2020
Vegetarian recipe
By MBL Featured Blogger: Paula
Originally Posted: November 12, 2020

Vegan Hans was the first to suggest we try it.  OK, Hans – vegetarian YES – vegan NO! emphatically NO!

To be honest, I was a little curious if I could do it and how I would feel.

I’m the cook in the family and do all of the shopping and meal planning, so that was the first hurdle. Second, we had to pick a week that didn’t coincide with a big meat event. I’m not kidding, we live in Kansas City and BBQ is in our blood here.  And lastly, I had to get my family’s buy-in on the idea of no meat.  And I feared the latter wasn’t going to be easy either. My DH and I are both descendants of farmers and some of our extended family continues the family legacy through dairy, livestock and crops still today.  So you see, we were born to eat meat.   But my family was game. (no pun intended)

I had teased my family with Meatless Mondays before, but was always questioned, “Where’s the meat?”. But now we were in agreement- No meat for a week.

MONDAY- I decided to ease us into this easy. Monday was a family favorite that I knew everyone would love. Broccoli Mac n Cheese and a chopped side salad. Nothing fancy, I didn’t want to scare them.

brocoli macncheese- MBL

They liked it and no complaints. But really who’s going to complain about that cheesy goodness. My Son is the Mac n Cheese king. He likes and makes all different variations. He asked if he could add pastrami to it. Either he was toying with me on Day 1 of Vegetarian week or has no idea of what it means. No matter, the answer was NO. (Please note: I am not a food stylist or a photographer, but that will  become evident as you scroll through my pics.)

TUESDAY – Taco Tuesday is a Vegetarian Burrito Bowl.

Burrito Bowl

This wasn’t a stretch for us either. It involved all of the ingredients in my standard burrito bowl with the addition of roasted poblano pepper and minus the meat. The poblano pepper was just the kick it needed. Cilantro lime rice and spiced black beans were the base with a pico de gallo salad topped with some chili sour cream ( the sour cream was an afterthought- basically it was Mexican dip I had in the fridge). My Son said he missed the meat but cleaned his plate anyway.

WEDNESDAY – Cauliflower Potato Pea Curry

curry-mbl

Well, it wasn’t our fave. It wasn’t bad but it just wasn’t the meal that you’d say, “Oh let’s make that again”.  I used this recipe and actually followed it. I served it over basmati rice and a side of naan. We love curry but this one was a thumbs down. It was filling though. On the bright side, no one is starving at my house. Tomorrow night I will dazzle them with Italian.

THURSDAY – Alfredo Pasta and Italian chopped salad

mbl alfredo

My Son, who has been a good sport, so far, asked if we could make Alfredo sauce instead of Marinara. I honored his request, although in my mind the marinara was more veggie-forward than the alfredo.  But the Italian chopped salad was a hit. It had lettuce, cucumbers, red onions, tomatoes, bell peppers and pepperoncini with homemade Italian dressing. The pepperoncini is the little touch that says ” Buongiorno!, I’m not a sad plain salad, I’m Italian and worthy of your admiration”. It was delicious and definitely redemption from last night.

FRIDAY – Veggie Pizza From Pizza 51

Veggie Pizza

Pizza 51

I could at vegetarian pizza all day every day. I always joke that if left to my own devices I would order thin crust pizza with mushrooms and extra mushrooms. Friday was Pizza night and unfortunately the last day of Vegetarian week. I had planned to go through the weekend and make it a true week, but we only lasted 5 days.  My DH and son couldn’t even make it that far. I found them in the kitchen at night scavaging for protein. One night it was cold shrimp, the next deli meat and then it devolved into frozen corndogs in the microwave.  I had big plans for hummus and falafel,  5 mushroom lasagna and veggie fried rice and veggie potstickers. Those dinners will still show up on Meatless Mondays. I’ve decided to stick with that.

So what did I learn?  Being a vegetarian isn’t a solitary existence of salads bars only. There are a lot of meatless foods that can be both delicious and filling. I wasn’t willing to go the FAKE MEAT route. But I would do mushrooms and beans as substitutes. I don’t love tofu so I took a hard pass on that (OK,  except in sweet and sour soup).  I found myself gravitating towards carbs instead of meat: Pasta, rice, bread, potatoes and sweets. That was not great because my DH is diabetic. And needs to eat fewer carbs, more protein.

I did learn that I like MEAT. I crave MEAT. I am not put off by meats’ mere presence, as some vegetarians are. I need MEAT in my life.

It was a great week and I did learn a lot about myself and my family’s eating habits, while we are not going vegetarian any time soon, more vegetables will appear into the menu rotation weekly. It’s not a paid endorsement but we love Imperfect Foods. They take the too big, too little and damaged package produce that would normally go in the dumpster and sell them at a discount. It’s a brilliant business model and great for the environment. We’ve never been disappointed.  Thanks, that all of my shameless plug for Imperfect Foods.

For anyone else that wants to try a week of vegetarianism, my advice is:

  • Plan, Plan, Plan- Read through some of the vegetarian bloggers like Oh My Veggies, With Food and Love and Vegan Hans. And make a plan for your week of meatless meals. Make a menu plan and avoid dining out.
  • Don’t purchase tempting meat items – It’ll be easier to keep true to your plan and not reach for a “midnight shrimp” if it’s not even in the house.
  • Experiment with different veggies.  Try different fruits and veggies, to keep your palate satisfied in the absence of meat. Fennel, beets, broccoli rabe, swiss chard, zucchini and acorn squash are just a few that are overlooked in the produce aisle.
  • Look to different cuisines for inspiration- Middle Eastern, Indian and Asian foods have great meatless options. And use a lot of different herbs and spices that will warm and satisfy you.
  • Don’t make it seem like a chore – Go into your week with curiosity and interest. Enjoy yourself and know that you will not starve on a vegetarian diet. You may just find out that you love it.

We had big grilled Rueben sandwiches to break the vegetarian fast. No picture available because we gobbled it down.

 

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Author Details
Paula Henry earned a BFA in design from William Woods University. She used her design degree in combination with her abundant natural people skills to become a top sales manager and design consultant to architectural firms across North America, representing companies such as Magic Woods, Panolam and RJF International. When her son was born she left the corporate world and assumed the role of stay-at-home mom and CEO of the Henry household, where she honed her skills in the areas of patience, ingenuity, multi-tasking, and knowing when to resort to plan-b. During her free time, she is a highly successful fundraiser for several not-for-profits. Paula serves as the Co-Founder and Executive Editor at MyBigLife.com, which she operates with her husband Jeff.

If you like this post, check these out!

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https://mybiglife.com/lifestyle/9-ways-to-add-more-fruits-and-vegetables-to-your-diet/

https://mybiglife.com/lifestyle/3-important-things-to-know-before-you-start-losing-weight/

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