As a Baptist, the concept of Lent has always interested me. The thought of giving something up for 40 (well, 46 really) days seemed so intriguing. Lent wasn’t ever something I had practiced, but I often pondered what I would try to give up…and if I could last from Ash Wednesday all the way to Easter Sunday. This year, perhaps with the influence of NOLA and Mardi Gras festivities, I decided to give it a go and give up meat. While I’m not necessarily a carnivorous gal, I do enjoy a good burger and a backyard BBQ. I knew that becoming vegetarian would be challenging, but I had faith that it was something I could
It’s now been a few days since I successfully made it (piece of cake, right?). I’ve started to add animal protein back into my diet, and in doing so I found that I learned a few things during — and after — this journey.
- Chick-fil-a must be a little piece of heaven on Earth. Having said that, it is also a slap in the face since it is closed on Sundays (you know, the day I could finally eat meat again). To get me through during my 40+ day journey, its waffle fries and Chick-fil-A sauce had to suffice when I had a craving.
- Who knew I liked, and wanted, bacon so often? I mean, seriously?! I began to imagine how much better my Parmesan kale pasta or maple-flavored ice cream would be with little bits of bacon in it. (It would be immensely better, by the way.)
- Tofu is weird. They say it’s soy, but I’m not so sure I buy into it.
- Making a quick “throw-together” meal is so much simpler when you don’t have to include a meat.
- Hummus is delicious. (I technically already knew this one, but it was recently further solidified.)
- There are several great chickpea recipes, and they often involve curry.
- Speaking of curry, this stuff is delicious. I just don’t like to smell it for days after I’ve cooked with it.
- BudgetBytes.com became a new friend. The vegetarian section gave delicious, inexpensive recipes – which was extra nice considering I was also on a tight budget.
- I can cook. How ’bout that!?
- Being vegetarian CAN be cheap…but it can also get EXPENSIVE. Why do places have to charge $13 for a salad – sans chicken – that I could have easily made at home for $3? The nerve!
- Going out was probably when I had hardest time. Unless you’re going to a place that really caters to vegetarians, you’re going to have to get creative. “Instead of the steak, can I just get grilled veggies? Do you even have grilled veggies? No? I’ll just have the salad…without chicken.”
- Jacksonville really needs a better selection of vegetarian-friendly restaurants.
- There are so many new places that I’m dying to try now. Since adding meat back into my diet, I visited a new Jacksonville place, Hawkers Asian Street Fare. It didn’t disappoint.
- Giving up meat takes a little bit of research prior to making the commitment. For instance, did you know that it’s really hard (basically impossible) to get B-12 from plant-based proteins? If you’re thinking of going vegetarian, consider the supplements you may need to fill in the gaps.
- It IS possible to get a good amount of plant-based proteins. This was my mother’s main concern when I told her I was giving up meat. “But how will you get your protein?” It’s actually pretty easy – and this article helped me convince my mom.
- I could
probablydefinitely eat spinach at every meal. Every day. All of the days.
- Warning: Eating too many Wasabi Peas can cause you to temporarily lose the ability to taste food.
- Being vegetarian doesn’t mean that all of your options are “healthy.” So, while a diet of Chick-fil-A waffle fries is technically vegetarian, it’s not exactly an ideal diet.
- Friends will do one of two things:
(One) Forget that you’ve given up meat and offer you the most delicious-looking steak/chicken/lamb/fish you’ve ever seen. Ever.
- (Two) Announce to the table/server/random people that you’ve given up meat/are a vegetarian.
- Some people don’t like vegetables. These people are not always children.
- Marshmallows are technically NOT vegetarian.
- I did not follow this rule. (Some rules are meant to be broken.)
- I really like mushrooms. I thought it was only under certain circumstances prepared in certain ways. Nope. I like ’em all kinds of ways.
- There was never a time that a craving for meat couldn’t be satisfied with a vegetarian alternative.
- I really don’t crave meat. Chocolate, however…(if that’s not vegetarian then I guess I broke that rule, too)
- There’s a fun Bible verse about vegetables:
A bowl of vegetables with someone you love
is better than steak with someone you hate. (Provers 15:17 – NLT)
- Pretty sure no one said this about chicken:
“Let’s face it, a nice creamy chocolate cake does a lot for a lot of people; it does for me.” -Audrey Hepburn
- Donuts could be a real meal. Or a pre-meal. A really good pre-meal. (This may have happened.)
- I could not be vegan. I love cheese.
- The fancier the grilled cheese, the better.
- This fancy grilled cheese would also be good with bacon.
- I can eat bacon right now, but I haven’t. Funny how things like that work out.
- I thought that after going so long without meat that I might feel sick eating it again. I guess I didn’t go long enough.
- I did feel a little better about myself by not eating meat. It was almost like I single-handedly saved an animal’s life. (You’re welcome, Wilbur.)
- I’d like to continue cutting out meat, but not all together. I think that having the option of meat every now and then cuts the desire to want it in the first place. (You always want what you can’t have.)
- Cutting out meat was more of a challenge because I felt limited in choices – not because I felt like I needed meat.
- I’m already indecisive, so narrowing down the menu to one small section is probably a good thing for me.
- I could be a vegetarian – but I’m not so sure I want to be.
- It doesn’t matter what’s on your plate when you’re surrounded by great friends and family.