2.07.2016

2 Weeks Vegetarian




At the end of December, I heard some very unexpected words come out of my husband's mouth: "We should not eat meat for a couple of weeks".
Trying to hide my enthusiasm for fear of over zealousness causing the idea to dissipate, I calmly responded, "That's a great idea."
As I discussed in my Disneyworld post, we ate really well on our Florida vacation. Then, we returned to the Northwest for Christmas with family, where we also ate really well. Basically most of December we ate really rich and delicious food and felt really quite overstuffed and terrible. I think that is what precipitated Daniel's unusual request.

I want to share with you two things today: what I learned from two weeks eating vegetarian, and some fantastic recipes we found along the way. Before I launch into that, I just have to tell you about the two cook books that saved me during this process!





As soon as we mentioned the idea while on our visit with family, my mother-in-law pulled out Veg Power! This recipe book by Weight Watchers is full of super healthy and filling meals. As you'll see in my recipe list, this one was definitely a staple!

 The second one (a Christmas gift also picked out by my mother-in-law, what can I say she has great taste!) was the No Time to Cook Book. The way this book presents directions is just ingenious. Check out this spread on Salad-in-a-jar:

Although this book includes recipes containing meat, many are vegetarian or adaptable. I also was so inspired by the graphics and innovative ways to combine ingredients. This book also became a big staple for me and I am sure will continue to be!


Things I learned from 2 weeks veggie:

1. It is not hard to get protein from non-meat sources. I have been logging my food intake on Fitbit since September and have gotten familiar with my typical diet balance. When we started this experiment, I was so surprised to see how much protein I still got in my diet! Foods such as beans,  nuts and nut butters, seeds, dairy products, grains like lentils, quinoa, and oatmeal totally got me at least 50 grams of protein a day. I did notice I had more fat in my diet than usual- but a majority of the fat was coming from healthy fat sources. Plus, my dietitian friend told me that there is a lot of research that lower carb, high fat diets are more successful for sustained weight loss. I figure as long as it's coming from a nutritious and natural source, I'm not going to worry too much!

2. I didn't miss meat. Really. I will say that I'm not a huge meat eater in the first place, I eat a lot of chicken and I love a good hamburger every now and then but that pretty much covers it. I'm not someone who ever craves steak. The closest thing I got to craving meat was a desire for Chinese food, but it was easy to replace the sweet and sour chicken with a stir fry dish like the general tso's chickpeas. However, I actually did crave fish. Randomly enough, I really wanted some canned tuna.

3.  Eating less meat has some serious benefits when it comes to meal planning and prep. Making dinner is so much faster when you don't have to wait for anything to brown or thaw! Clean up is quicker because you don't have to use as many dishes to avoid contamination. Additionally, our grocery bill was a bit cheaper.

4. I felt amazing! Now, as a psychology major who took a lot of research classes I do have to point out the confounding variables- I know I'm a nerd. For one, we had finally returned to the comforts and routine of home after travelling (travelling tends to upset my stomach). Secondly, this shift wasn't just eliminating meat- it was about increasing produce and nutritious choices. But still, I think the meatless diet greatly contributed to my feeling fresh, energetic, and experiencing the joys of a totally happy tummy.

Here are some wonderful meat free, nutrient rich dinners we tried along the way:
(recipes are listed from left to right by row)

Have you ever eaten vegetarian- whether short term like me, or as a life-long change? What did you notice? I am excited to continue eating less meat and enjoying more produce, so send any great recipes my way! Thanks for stopping by!


Thankful to be linking up at:

11 comments:

  1. Great post! I was never much of a meat eater growing up and just naturally stopped eating it when I went off to college. That was years ago, but I never again ate meat. Today my diet is pretty clean - I eat fish, mostly salmon and lots of fresh veggies. Coffee is probably my only vice :)Thanks for all of these great recipes! I will definitely peruse your list and may just give a few a try! Have a great day!

    http://marymurnane.com

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    1. Thanks, Mary! I can understand coffee as a vice, mine is probably chocolate :)

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  2. I'm a vegetarian and I love this list. Great resources for those that are trying to eat less meat.

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    1. Thank you, Celeste! Eating less meat has been really eye-opening.

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  3. I still eat meat, but find myself eating less and less. I am looking for good vegetarian recipes, so this is perfect. Thanks for sharing with the Thursday Blog Hop!

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    1. Pam, I am so glad this list is helpful!

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  4. Wow this is such an informative post. While I eat meat, last year I committed to two vegetarian meals per week. This year I'm aiming for three. I'll have to check out those books for inspiration.

    Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).

    Wishing you a lovely day.
    xoxo

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    1. Those two recipe books are seriously awesome! I find that committing to just a certain amount of meatless meals can be helpful too. Thanks for your comment!

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  5. What a great 2 weeks of Vegetarian dishes, they all look great! Hope you had a great Valentine Weekend and thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

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  6. You have some great recipes in here. I always love to hear a successful transition to vegetarian because I have been considering it for a bit now. Question, did you plant any seeds with your husband to precipitate his suggestion? I ask because, while I am very interested in going vegetarian (or, perhaps, pescetarian), when I subtly raise the issue with honey, he is not giving me any kind of warm reception. It is going to be 10 times harder at dinner time if one of us is still eating meat. (I don't like dirty dishes, don't cook anything that I'm not eating, and don't do the everyone-gets-individual-dinner thing. LOL!) Any advice?

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    1. Hi Regina, thanks for your kind comment. I think one seed I planted was starting with meatless Monday- eating vegetarian just one day a week helped him see that food can still be tasty and filling without a hunk of meat. Honestly, I think the biggest factor was how incredibly bad we ate over vacation. I was shocked when he suggested it, so I'm not sure completely how it came about! I TOTALLY get the less dirty dishes and everyone gets the same dinner, I would not be up for that either! Good luck and I'll let you know if I think of any other tidbits that might have made my husband feel positive about the change.

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Feel free to comment! I'd love to hear your thoughts.