Oh, me! Pick me! I know the answer!
Yes, vegetarians eat animal crackers. They also eat burgers, pizza, ramen noodle soup, tacos, and much, much more.
Just in case you don’t remember, this blog was (well, is) a testament to my journey through a 30 day challenge of turning this meat-lover into a veggie enthusiast. My first post summed it up as:
My adventure? To traverse the college life as a vegetarian. Essentially, I’m doing a 30-day challenge, to see how my life changes when I have to shift where my values are. How does what I eat affect my life, and how much will my life change?
Well, life certainly changed.
I have to admit, I thought doing this project was kind of getting off easy for a class final. I mean, with only a little effort on my part, I would have everything wrapped up in a month, finished in time for when everything got really busy. Don’t get me wrong, I was very excited for this project. Especially when people thought I wouldn’t be able to make it - adversity makes me stubborn. But still. Vegetarian a month? I eat all the time, all I had to do was eat something different.
It’s a little more complicated than that. As I started my project, the first week of meals showed me how different my life was going to be. In order for me to be healthy, I needed to eat the fresh, green stuff. In order to get the fresh veggies, I had to go to the store. Often. And I don’t have a reliable means of transportation that doesn’t make it super difficult to carry a couple bags of groceries home.
Have you tried biking home with all of your groceries on your back? Let me tell you - it is painful.
So first was figuring out how to get to the grocery store. (I want to thank all of the people who I bummed rides off of, I really appreciated the help.) Second was finding the time to actually cook the stuff that I got. Having to cook a meal every day - not including throwing something together for breakfast and lunch - gets exhausting. I’m not used to that yet. Plus, as soon as I started, I got really busy. Classwork started piling up just as rehearsals for my show started. Sleep was a luxury.
Then, we have the fact that I am now paying more for groceries. Granted, I am not eating out as often because I can’t really find awesome things at a fast food place, but still. The grocery bills would kill me. So I would avoid it as long as possible, until I absolutely had to go. And then I would avoid asking people to help me with rides. And then I would have to take the time out to go grocery shopping at their convenience. And by this time I have absolutely nothing in my fridge, so I have to buy everything, so the grocery bill would cause me to have heart palpitations.
It was a never-ending cycle of horror.
The mere thought of grocery shopping would make me stress out, so I would think about it as not often as possible.
I finally realized that I was spiraling out of control right around the last week of my challenge. So, I challenged myself to cook something every day, and I did it. But more importantly, it made me think about what was going on.
Even though I felt awesome about doing this great thing - going vegetarian, cooking for myself, being all healthy and cool - it didn’t change, in the end, my values.
I am a poor college student. My life may not revolve around money, but it is extremely important. I have to constantly watch what I’m spending, and save up for everything. Watching it slip through my fingers as I was spending it on food was terrifying. Food isn’t something necessarily concrete - you have it, you eat it, and it’s gone. I felt like I was wasting money. That is so wrong. Food is one of the most important categories you can spend money on. It is what nourishes your body. As long as you budget your spending, and don’t go overboard buying treats, it is completely logical to spend a sizable amount of money on the food that you eat. Good, healthy food should not be a luxury. And yet I, like many of my peers, place more importance on money. Though that hasn’t changed since I realized this, I have noticed that there is a shift. Though money is still highly important, the quality of the food that I eat is becoming more important. I’ve found myself shelling out the couple of extra dollars for something fresh instead of from a can, and even pay the extra for the “safe” meat from Central Market when I can make it over there. I don’t mind because I know I’m going to get a meal that is both delicious and health-conscious (for me and my world).
Though I still do not like asking for rides, I’ve come to find ways to enjoy the time that I spend on food. As someone who likes to keep busy, I have to manage my time wisely. Dealing with food seemed to be like such a waste of time that I could be using to my advantage for something else. However, all it takes is realizing that cooking is can be something that you multi-task with. In fact, I suggest it! Make that phone call that you’ve been putting off. Catch up on whatever TV show it is you’re watching, and use the time you would have used to watch it later for something else. Find people you want to spend time with and have them cook with you. You can even use your time to start prepping the next meal. You can listen to music, books on tape, or read a book while waiting in the kitchen for your water to boil - there are so many options! My favorite (thanks mom!) is washing the dirty dishes that you just used while you’re waiting - that means easy clean up after dinner! Though sometimes I just don’t feel like going through the hassle of cooking, which is understandable, I value my time so highly that I have found productive ways to keep my cooking adventures fun for me. For me, that was an obvious change in my values: food went up as I linked it to ways to get done what I want/need to work on.
Though the process turned out to be more difficult than I thought it would be, it turned into something amazing. I am aware of everything that I eat. Yes, I did go back to eating meat. I had a burger the other day. I even eat really bad junk - like those $1.50 frozen pizzas that I love to just pop in the oven for 10 minutes. However, now when I eat something bad, it’s not a continuation of the previous bad meal. I immediately consider all of my options to make it a healthier meal, that my body will be happier with. That, or I just promise myself that the next meal I fix will be healthier, in order to offset what I just had. And I make sure that it happens. I enjoy my time in the kitchen, and I like sharing it with others.
I would do this project again, if given the opportunity to go back. Though it proved to be difficult, it was fun. And how I feel now, about the food that I eat, is something that I would not give up. Though my short vegetarian stint is not one that is going to stick, what I learned in the process about myself is invaluable:
Not only could I totally be a vegetarian if I wanted, because of how stubborn I am and the fact that I actually like more vegetables than I thought I would, but I can accept and understand why I value my time, money, and food the way I do.
This was posted 1 year ago on December 12th 2011
I love Thanksgiving. It’s a day that means I have half a week off of school, I can sleep in very late and get up for a mid-afternoon smorgasbord, and then curl up in bed with a book.
Thanksgiving is all about eating. That has become the entire point of the holiday, so much so that now it is passed over and Christmas has been up in the stores for weeks.
However, this year was different - and I liked it.
I worked today. I went in stood up all day and talked to people. There were so many families who were trying to be together, it was fun to talk to them about everything. When I went home, Thanksgiving dinner was ready.
And that is all it was. Dinner. Albeit one that my mom worked extremely hard on, but it was simply dinner with the family. No stress, no rushing to get some place to finish cooking, but something simple. My immediate family, future brother-in-law, and two extremely close friends who are practically family.
And then we got to rest and clean up together, and the rest of the family came over for dessert. It was low-key, everyone sat around and got what they wanted, when they wanted it. It was so relaxing!
And you know? This was a year that no one got sick. None of the boys - or myself, I really can’t help it with my mom’s cooking - gorged themselves until they got a bellyache.
I did notice that though, yes, I did have turkey (!), I put a LOT more vegetables than I would have before this project.
There doesn’t have to be a huge focus on food, and I think we forget that. The spread is lovely, I’m not going to lie, and it is nice to have a good meal. But by focusing on the people around you, the food automatically tastes better. Except maybe collards. Not a fan.
This was posted 1 year ago on November 25th 2011
I crave fried rice almost constantly…and this is literally the easiest thing ever.
It’s not as healthy, but I use instant rice, preferably brown. I make it in the morning during my morning routine, and put it in the fridge.
Now, the healthy way is to get a lot of fresh veggies and slice them up (with LOTS of garlic!), but there is an easier way: FROZEN STEAM PACKS. Make sure you get veggies that you LIKE that you would be willing to eat with fried rice (carrots/green beans aren’t my fave in regards to this, but I wanted lots of veggies in this one).
So, the simplest recipe:
warm 2 tbsp of olive oil
pour in at least 3 cups of rice
fry for a bit
add garlic powder/salt/pepper, stir
add soy sauce, stir and cook for at least 1 min
(while this is going on, get your veggies and put them in the microwave)
push to the side of the pan, scramble two eggs on the other side, mix in add your veggies and stir
Voila! Cheap, quick, and easy!
This was posted 1 year ago on November 23rd 2011
Yes, this blog was a response for a class, where I was looking at the value food has in my life by becoming a vegetarian.
Though my 30 day vegetarian challenge is finished, this blog is not. Thanksgiving, the biggest holiday in the United States whose sole purpose is to eat, is coming up next week.
I’m going to continue to write about my observations during this time, because I think that the conversion back to eating meat is just as interesting as cutting it out of my diet. I definitely have a couple of different guesses as to what is going to happen, but but we’ll see how it actually turns out and how this challenge has affected me. I’m excited to keep posting healthy food options I discover for the poor college student.
Thank you for all of your support during this challenge!
This was posted 1 year ago on November 19th 2011
See that? That is a catfish dinner.
So, today’s plan was to go get sushi. When you incorporate meat back into your diet, you take it slow. You start off with light things in small amounts. Fish, then. Especially since I’ve been craving sushi. However, apparently the cheap sushi places don’t like opening in the afternoon, they open for dinner.
We ended up at Red, Hot and Blue. And I got the fish, which was INCREDIBLY yummy! I was only able to eat about half of what was on that plate, though. It was pretty filling.
That’s one thing that I’ve noticed about being a vegetarian. I get full faster, from smaller portions, but I’m hungrier more often. It’s going to be interesting gradually working meat back into my diet and seeing what happens.
It does mean that I’ll still be eating veg food for the next couple of weeks.
But now I’ve got the tricks down!
This was posted 1 year ago on November 19th 2011
It is day 30 of my 30 day vegetarian challenge, and my friend Scott took me out to eat! And not just anywhere: we went to Spiral Diner!
My lunch was amazing! I had the Hot Hummus Wrap. It has hummus, grilled veggies (broccoli, black olives, carrots, corn, and green peas) black beans, pine nuts, and avocado with tahini dressing. wrapped up, grilled, and sealed in a tortilla.
I had a side of chips and then (because I couldn’t resist) I got a small side bowl of some of the best guac I have ever had. Ever.
All in all, it was an awesome meal, and a great way to eat. For dinner, I had a bowl of the tabouli I made earlier this week, but I added kidney beans, black olives, paprika and feta cheese.
Today was so yummy!
This was posted 1 year ago on November 18th 2011
Continuing my week of awesome food, yesterday I fixed myself some tabouli.
It actually came from a box. You add boiling water and olive oil and let it sit in the fridge for an hour. Easy peasy lemon squeezy!
Then, to make it worthy of being amazing, I added diced tomatoes, a little bit of garlic, black beans, black olives and feta cheese.
This was posted 1 year ago on November 18th 2011
So, I got some absolutely amazing news today. And then we had a run of the show that I’m acting in that had some really great responses.
We felt like celebrating our success… TAHDAH! :
Whole wheat pasta with olive oil, garlic, sun dried tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese, warmed up over the stove. With a glass of wine and a new episode of New Girl.
Two days left!
This was posted 1 year ago on November 17th 2011
Yeah, you should probably not plan a Wendy’s trip.
You can order a bunch of sides, but every single one of their salads that is meant for a meal has meat on it.
So heads up: unless all you want is a Frosty, I suggest you avoid Wendy’s.
This was posted 1 year ago on November 16th 2011
Man, I TOTALLY wish I had discovered this sooner!
So, seeing as how I happen to be a poor college student, I am slightly addicted to Ramen. Not because of it’s nutritional value, obviously. But because it is yummy and cheap.
However, the flavor packets have dried animal bits in them, so I decided that that was not allowed in my diet (not all vegetarians feel this way, but I wanted to go all-out). So, I have been Ramen-less.
I got the vegetable bouillon stuff, and it’s perfect! Stick 3/4 of a cube (on the box it says 1 cube for 2 cups of water, that makes it super salty and a bit much, and you can use even less if you start adding in fresh ground pepper and garlic salt) with your water as you boil, and then add the noodles when it’s come to a full boil and the bouillon is completely dissolved.
Voila! Noodly ramen goodness!
This was posted 1 year ago on November 15th 2011