Lifestyle

30 Day Vegetarian Challenge

I’m really picky on what type of foods I buy and what I cook. I don’t buy anything prepackaged, premade or frozen. I’m aware that it can be really difficult and that means it’s more work on my side since I basically have to make everything from scratch, but I don’t mind because at least I know what I put in my food. That being said, I don’t cook a lot of meat at home. I cook chicken like maybe twice a week at the most and red meat every 2-3 weeks.

A few months ago, my sister-in-laws saw this documentary called “What the Health” that basically talks about what meat is doing to your body. After seeing that documentary, most of them decided to become vegetarians, or at least try to cut down on meat. My husband, after hearing about this, thought we should also give it a try. I’ll be honest, it didn’t really make that much of a difference to me since in my opinion, we were already about 70% vegetarian. So when he said we should become vegetarians, it was really that hard for me to say yes.

The first few days were really hard for my husband since now that he knew we couldn’t eat meat anymore, he was starting to crave it. You know when they say when you know you can’t have something you want it even more? Well that’s exactly how it was. I never craved meat before, or at least not often. I would actually force myself to eat chicken just so I could get my proteins. But now all of a sudden, I was craving things like a big juicy burger from A&W. It was crazy! Once those cravings passed, it wasn’t that hard at all. It was actually much easier.

I never realized how much not cooking with meat would make my life so much easier!

I would come home and I didn’t have to worry about not having taken out the chicken from the freezer and wait for it to unfreeze so I could cook it. It was great and I would have supper ready in a heartbeat. What I loved most was that I could try out all these vegetarian recipes that I wanted to try before but never got around to eat because my husband would always say “Where’s the meat?”.

How did It feel not eating meat for a month?

I felt great! I felt less heavy, more energized, and I lost so much weight! You never realize how fattening meat is until you cut it completely from your diet. My husband and I lost on average for the first two weeks about 1 lbs per day. After two weeks, we stopped losing weight, but we didn’t gain anything back, which I love because often when I lose weight, I always end up gaining some of it back after a few weeks. In total, we lost about 10 lbs and we’ve managed to keep it off.

After the 30 days were over, we decided to treat ourselves to A&W and get that burger we had been craving all month! In that moment, no burger had ever tasted so good!

Did we go back to eating meat after the 30 days were over?

Yes and no. My husband and I came to an agreement that we would not be eating meat at home anymore. Meaning that I no longer cook any meat at home. However, when we go out and we have a craving, we will not stop ourselves from eating meat. So if we’re at a restaurant and we’re craving steak for example, well we will give in to our cravings and not deprive ourselves from eating meat. We’ve been doing this for a few months now and it’s surprisingly really easy.

What kind of vegetarian dishes do I cook and what’s been a great substitute for meat?

Honestly, our diet hasn’t changed that much, we’ve just either eliminated meat all together or found great substitutes for it. For example, I cook a lot of stir fries since I find them extremely easy to make and you can pretty much make stir fry with ingredients you already have at home if you have vegetables (bell peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, celery, cauliflower….). The only difference now is that I no longer include meat in my stir fries. Before I would add chicken in it, now I just don’t. Same thing if I’m making quesadillas or fajitas, I just turn them vegetarian by omitting meat. I also found a great vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie recipe which is basically mashed potatoes with vegetables. A great substitute that I found for chicken is cauliflower. I used to make homemade General Tao Chicken at home and I found a great recipe that’s General Tao Cauliflower. It’s not that long to make and honestly, in my opinion, it tastes like chicken! My husband doesn’t completely agree with me on that, but he does love it. You can find all these recipes in Food Blog section.

All in all, becoming a vegetarian at home hasn’t been that hard. If you’re thinking of becoming vegetarian but you’re not sure because you don’t think there are that many great vegetarian recipes, honestly you would be surprised! Check out my food blog, try out some recipes and let me know what you think!

– mana
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