Friday, January 21, 2011

Meat...What Meat?

Last October, Aaron and I decided to become vegetarian for health reasons. We started to slowly reduce our meat our of our diet, but we took the next couple months to eat the frozen stash and started to experiment with vegetarian meals. As of January 1, we're not completely vegetarian. We have eliminated all animal flesh from our diet. Instead we're getting our protein from a plant-based diet and dairy. In the past few weeks, we've pined for bacon at times, but haven't missed the meat! Our biggest fear of moving away from meat is, giving it up! We are surprised how satisfied we are without it.

Aaron and I both feel great. Aaron thinks his stomach and appetite have gotten smaller and I agree. We're completely satisfied after meals. I've stocked up on dried and canned beans, eggs, tofu, and whole grains from the bulk bins. We're feeling satisfied with all the fiber in our diet. At dinner, I always make sure to have fresh fruit to satisfy our need for sweets and it adds fiber.

Here's a sampling of what we have enjoyed so far....
  • Bean and corn chili - even my inlaws liked it!
  • Cauliflower and chickpea yellow curry with rice
  • Split pea soup in the slow cooker
  • Spinach and feta quiche with whole wheat crust
  • Chipotle macaroni and cheese
  • Black bean and sweet potato enchilada casserole
  • Vegetarian "meat" loaf made with quinoa and barley (pictured in this post)
  • Italian Spaghetti Squash Casserole
  • Spinach, olive, and cheese homemade pizza for our weekly movie night
Last weekend, we went to our friend's house for a vegetarian pot luck dinner. It was fantastic to be able to eat all the options! I made an Israeli couscous salad with chickpeas to share. Our host, Jill made a vegetarian shepard's pie, which was so delicious!

A downside with being vegetarian is attending conferences and eating hotel meals. At home when I'm preparing our meals, I cook with vegetables, whole grains, beans, and all the good balanced fresh foods that keep our energy strong. But, this week, I had my company's annual sales meeting and in the face of the meat covered buffet, I ate macaroni and cheese with a lackluster green salad. Another day, I ate refried bean tacos, which weren't bad, but I wished I had some vegetables. By the evenings, I was craving fruits and vegetables!

I went to a team dinner on Wednesday and my director asked for recommendations. I suggested a local brew pub, which has their own beer and a lot of vegetarian items on the menu. I love the vibe there and especially appreciate that it's smoke free. That was a treat for all of us because most of the team is from the West Coast.

I'll keep sharing our vegetarian favorites as we go along...

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