One Year of Being Vegetarian
I’ve officially been calling myself vegetarian for a year! Time has flown by and while I knew I would make it this long I think I wasn’t sure how long I would keep it up beyond this. Since things have been going swimmingly I plan on keeping this as my food lifestyle until I decide otherwise. That said, I *am* looking forward to my birthday because I plan on eating a large portion of sushi.
Throughout this year I’ve read various food blogs, some meat eating, some veg, some into the primal/paelo thing, others into organic/whole living, and there are many thoughts you can glean from them all. In all most of them stress a whole food, unprocessed way of eating which I have come to think is probably the most important thing if you are looking at bettering your diet.
As for being vegetarian I am always trying to be better, to eat healthier instead of leaning on pastas and rice or other soy based ‘fake’ meats. I use them on occasion but they don’t make up the bulk of my diet. I don’t even eat that much tofu, rarely buying it, but I do love tofu in Thai and Chinese dishes—I just need to figure out how to cook it like they do.
I think the biggest struggle is being out on road trips and finding something quick to eat. It is really something I need to start preparing for at home better and taking more foods with me, I just haven’t figured that part out yet. I think it frustrates Chris because he always rags on me about going somewhere that I can eat at. Since he has been doing field work the last several months he’s not kept to eating mostly vegetarian and I think that is part of the problem, we aren’t on the same page while traveling so we’re trying to juggle finding something for both dietary needs. My biggest problem with this is that while I *can* find a place to eat with a vegetarian option is something greasy or carb loaded like fries, potatoes or fried vegetables. Not exactly healthy either.
The other frustrating thing is that yes, I can eat a salad, but then I have to pay the same price as it would be with meat, only have them take the meat off. Hardly seems fair. More vegetarian options, please restaurants! I do like Subway having avocado to add to the sandwiches now, it bulks up a veggie sub much better.
The question of protein keeps coming up from various people and my answer is that I get it from beans, eggs, nuts/nut butters and quinoa. I don’t eat all of those on a daily basis, but at least one of them, the quinoa is probably a once a week thing. I haven’t had my blood tested or anything, but I feel fine. I don’t feel like I’m struggling for lack of anything.
Recently I started trying to eliminate coffee from a daily occurrence. When we were on the A.T. and F.T. I didn’t drink coffee due to its diuretic effects and I didn’t want to be stopping to pee every mile during the morning. I felt good not drinking so much coffee and really enjoyed it even more when we were in town stops, lingering over the coffee and chatting with other hikers. It was a treat. Lately I’d been feeling foggy in the late afternoons and sort of exhausted, I started thinking of a possible culprit. So, I eliminated coffee and switched to tea. Generally I drink herbal teas but I’ve been using up some White/Green Tea fusion and some other strawberry flavored black tea and then adding in coconut milk (the kind that is refrigerated) to sweeten it up and have been enjoying that. I know it has caffeine but it hasn’t made me feel nearly as jittery or drained. While I do have that general end-of-day tiredness from staring at screen all day, I don’t feel like I want to curl up and sleep the minute I get home.
My goal for the next year is to just start being more balanced with my eating and remembering to eat well, lay off the cheese so much and ease up on sugars and deserts. I know there is much more to being vegetarian and others talk about various nutrients like Allie at Colour Me Happy recently did regarding B12.
It is definitely a learning experience!
Two previous posts regarding this journey:
+Thoughts on 6 Months of Being Vegetarian
Congrats! I’ve been veg since I was a young teen, so about 25 years now (yikes!) and I STILL have the issue with restaurants. We rarely travel, so we know where to go around here and almost always have a GOOD meal when dining out (especially when we eat at Loving Hut!), but when traveling, it’s back to the basics- veggie burgers and salads. I don’t mind paying for a salad instead of a veggie burger or fried-whatever (a crisp salad in the middle of Disney is always worth as much as they want for it!) but it drives me crazy when there are no basic, whole vegetarian options on a full-service restaurant menu.
When push comes to show I ask for plain pasta (which they always have) and a side of steamed veggies (which they always seem to have, as well) and make my own meal with a little olive oil from the bread. I also look at the kids menu- sometimes there are vegetarian options there (something I learned when Gracie came along…), or much simpler meals that can be made veg. and just tell them they can give me a full size portion and charge me for it.
I know you Dad and I need to eat a little better. You and Poppy sure would get along eating these days. He has really changed everything.