We're committing to vegetarianism for a long period (at least 6-months) to see the effects on our bodies. Our plan is to eliminate meat (beef, pork, poultry), but still eat dairy to help with protein and possibly fish on occasion. I can't imagine giving up cheese, milk, or eggs so I was onboard with that. I suspect that in the end after our experiment is over, we may balance out to add meat back in to our diets, but not the focus or even every day.
I'm not going to lie. I'm going to miss bacon and pork because I love the salty, smoky flavor that it adds to a soup, sandwich, or heck, just eating it alone. But I do without. I went without wine for my entire pregnancy so I think I can go without meat for 6-12 months.
We broke the news to Aaron's parents at Thanksgiving. They gave us the "Are you an alien?" look afterwards. We told them our reasons and they told us not to worry because there's always peanut butter in the pantry! Almost every meal features some form of beef or pork so it's going to be tough. I think we'll stock some veggie burgers at their house and plan to cook alternatives for us to eat.
As we're planning to go vegetarian, we're doing two things.
- Experimenting/Researching: I really like vegetarian meals and have recipes already in mind. I've been eyeing the bulk bins at Whole Foods for the dried beans, quinoa, barley, and oat groats. We get a produce box of seasonal, organic produce already so we'll experiment and find our favorite vegetarian meals. We already have several that we love: Chipotle Macaroni and Cheese and Veggie Pasta Ragu (made with veggie burger in the sauce). I liked a coconut peanut curry with tofu, cabbage, green beans and rice noodles meal that I made recently. At restaurants, we're ordering vegetarian options. For the past month, we've been eating less meat overall to make the transition smoothly.
- Eating our meat from the freezer: We had a drawer in our freezer filled with varieties of hormone-free meats and grass-fed beef. We cooked ground elk for chili and made beef hamburgers in November, even though we'd prefer to eat burgers in the summer! We cooked a pork tenderloin this week and we ate it in smaller servings to ease back our meat intake.
Just in the last couple weeks, I've lost 3 lbs! I'm wondering if it has to do with the vegetarian tendencies we're having in the last month. To be fair, I'm breastfeeding, which uses tons of calories and my weight loss has been slow and steady. One ounce of breastmilk is about 20 calories, which is taken from my body to produce. I pump about 28-30oz when I go to the office all day and feed Ava before work, in the evening, and overnight. No wondering I'm always hungry! It seems my weight is dropping off all the sudden. This week, I reached my pre-pregnancy weight and fit really easily in my old jeans that I hadn't worn comfortably since I was 12-weeks pregnant. My goal is to keep trimming down while my metabolism has the added boost from breastfeeding.
I'm having fun pulling out my cookbooks like Nourishing Traditions and Feeding the Whole Family is especially useful with the great alternative, wholesome foods. As I write this post, I'm soaking dried mung beans for a stew tomorrow. I'm chopped butternut squash and it's ready to go for the stew tomorrow.
Follow our experiment on the blog. I'll post our progress and share our recipes. Please share your favorite veggie entrees and dishes, too!