December 2016: Totally Vegetarian
[insert text here feigning horror at length of time since last post, vague promises to post more often, new year resolutions, etc.]
A past post of mine popped up recently, and it described me contemplating dipping my toe into the pool of vegetarianism, and my internal struggle with its implications. Well, that was seven years ago, and much has changed since then. About a year and a half ago (I’m fuzzy on the exact time because it wasn’t really an on/off decision, but it was definitely sometime in early 2015), I fully committed myself to vegetarianism. I have not eaten meat since then, except a lone greasy hot dog at Goodyear Ballpark in Arizona during a Cleveland Indians Spring Training game in March 2016. Let’s just say it didn’t go well.
The Positive Results:
- My cholesterol has dropped a startling 40 points. My doctors are impressed.
- I have lost 43 pounds (and counting) in the last 24 months – this weight loss is also a consequence of being a loyal Weight Watchers member, but there’s no disputing the results: I look better, I feel better, and I’m finally able to purchase clothes in NORMAL sizes at any store.
- My husband actually posted on Facebook recently that his wife looked “smoking hot”. A first, my friends. A lifetime first.
- My healthier food lifestyle has prompted me to make other positive changes, such as taking up running. I KNOW. More on that in an upcoming post.
- Expanding my recipe repertoire has been fun! I’m trying lots of new recipes (many are vegan – there’s a HUGE vegan community out there), and most of them have been added to the regular rotation. I plan to share these, as well as some of my own creations, on a regular basis.
- I still crave cheeseburgers and corned beef sandwiches (which is especially hard living in Cleveland, knowing that nearby are the greatest corned beef sandwiches in the world at Slyman’s. I still have not been there, because I know I could never resist the temptation).
- Getting Enough Protein, Part I: Weight Watchers revamped their program at the beginning of 2016, and adjusted their point-calculation formula so that high-protein foods are encouraged, and sugars/carbs/saturated fats are…penalized. Not a bad thing overall for health, but it makes it somewhat difficult for vegetarians. For example, beans – otherwise a powerhouse food – don’t fare super well with WW since they have a relatively high carbohydrate content. So, I have to limit my bean intake to conserve SmartPoints, and find other protein sources. Honestly, though – one can only eat so much tofu before one goes mad.
- Getting Enough Protein, Part II: I am irrationally (?) opposed to incorporating protein shakes and powders into my diet. They just seem so FAKE. Plus, they’re always sweetened with artificial sweeteners (blech) or Stevia (nasty). Does anyone REALLY need that much protein? I don’t think I really want to add them into the regular rotation.
- Eating too many carbs, especially while snacking. It’s so hard to not eat crackers/chips/popcorn/pretzels/chocolate as snacks. I’m still not emotionally mature enough to regard an apple as snack.
- Eating out. Vegetarian options on most menus are either a black bean burger or a -yuck- salad. I still don’t like salad. Sometimes I can get an omelette. Yay.
- I’d like to go vegan, but I’ve realized that I love cheese too much, and that vegan “cheese” is pretty universally horrendous. Shout out to vegan cheesemakers: if you think you can change my mind, I am all ears (and mouth). Come at me – I’m not above accepting samples.
- People constantly asking me why I’m a vegetarian, asking me where I get protein, or not-so-silently judging my personal (read: does not affect YOU) decision. I don’t ask you why you eat rotting animal carcasses, do I? Or judge you as you eat bacon in front of me? No, I don’t, because it’s none of my business.
- Trying to find a decent non-dairy creamer for my coffee. I have tried every imaginable milk-free alternative, and none of them have what I am looking for:
- Neutral taste
- Does not contain any goddamned coconut
I will be sticking to whole milk until someone finally creates something that meets these criteria. Again, if you’re a maker of something you think might appeal to me, send me some samples.
- Having to make two dinners most nights. I am not maligning my husband, believe me, but sometimes it’s tiring to have to make two separate dinners. It’s not his fault – I know he supports my eating choices. In fact, he often tries to make things easier for me by ordering out. Pizza is vegetarian, thank God.
- I still frequently forget to order myself a vegetarian meal at luncheons and events. I know it’s a giant pain for event planners when people forget to request these things ahead of time, because it happens at every event I plan. I’m sorry, and I’ll try to be better.
- Also, at events, the vegetarian option is usually garbage – overcooked frozen vegetables dumped on a pile of plain spaghetti, or maybe some lukewarm ravioli with a scant half cup of plain tomato sauce (these are seriously the last two meals I consumed at events). Most banquet facilities are sadly unwelcoming, bordering on disdainful, to those of us who choose not to eat meat. Thankfully, I am in a position (as a person who manages events) to put these places on blast, and get them to serve decent vegetarian food. Money talks, my friends. Money talks.
- I apparently have disappointed my father again with this. He was at least happy to know that I still consume dairy products, but he’s nonplussed about the daughter of a farmer not eating meat.
Well, as usual, I cram a lot of complaining into these posts. Guess I haven’t really changed since the last time you heard from me. Well, except physically.