Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I'm Just Keepin' It Real

I believe about 75% of what I read on the internet. I should believe less than that, but I can be kind of na├»ve. I want any internet skeptics to believe my blog. That is why I am coming to you with the realness. This has been a hard week for me. I really didn’t think being a vegetarian would be this hard. First are the physical side effects. My face is pretty much looking like a pizza right now. I assume it’s my body releasing toxins that are in my body from meat. And speaking of toxins, I have been releasing them from other places as well. I have had everything from gas to bloating and diarrhea.  I have been walking in utter embarrassment all week.
 Yesterday was the final straw. I have had a pretty good eating plan while at work. I had breakfast, lunch and dinner and a few small snacks. Everything has been perfect. Until my day off.  I’m used to running my errands and then coming home and making a nice dinner or splurging and ordering out. Yesterday I was at home all day in the midst of post-Labor Day Bar-B-Que. I didn’t crack and binge on pork steaks but I was very unhappy all day. I did have my bestie bring me some Doritos and snacked on them. For the most part, I have stayed healthy. But I walked around all day, feeling like something was missing. It’s not snacks or sweets. It’s meat. I really did not think I would miss meat this much. I don’t know why I didn’t see this coming. I eat meat in every meal. Why did I think I wouldn’t miss it?
I have also been having trouble trying to figure out how to get protein from a vegetarian diet. I defiantly don’t want to be protein deficiant. Did you know lack of protein can cause hair loss? I am not trying to go bald. I did lots of research and I found out that I can get lots of protein from whole grains and beans. That’s no problem I know lots of recipes with both of those. In fact I ate a really yummy dish called with black bean and brown rice with a southwest flavor. And yet I still miss meat.
I’m not ready to give up. Heck, it’s just been a week. I have more willpower than that. But I have decided to modify my plan. I am going to include fish and some seafood into my diet. This diet modification is called pescatarianism.  Now this does not mean that I will be eating fried catfish and macaroni and cheese every Friday. I’m still going to be healthy. And hopefully I will be able to leave fish behind and become a full fledge vegetarian. Until then, this is what’s going to keep me sane. Jenny still don’t eat no meat. She will however enjoy fish. J
If you want to learn more about pecatarianism here is a website I found. Also a link to a you tube video of a woman who chose to go pescatarian.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Summer Veggie Lovin'

Summer is the perfect time to take advantage of ripe veggies. This time of year zucchinis are big and yummy.  Here’s a simple pasta recipe that I am in love with.  It could also be great for entertaining.  I made it up so the directions are very informal.  Hope you enjoy it.
What you need:
               A big zucchini cut into small pieces
               Canned diced tomatoes. (I used Italian style but you can use whatever you want.)
               About half a cup of shredded parmesan cheese
               Half a box of whatever shape pasta you want. (I used whole wheat rotini)
What to do:
               Fill a big pot with water and begin boiling. In a sauce pan add zucchini and tomatoes. Cook until the zucchini is soft. That takes about 10 minuets. Once the water in the big pots is at a rolling boil add a little salt and then the pasta. It takes about 10 minutes for al dente. Once the pasta is done and the zucchini is cooked through, drain the pasta and add zucchini and tomatoes to one pot. Add the parmesan cheese and mix through. This makes enough for about 3 people. Enjoy!!!

What are your favorite summer vegetables? How do you cook them?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Whole New World

I love shopping but picking out a ripe cantaloupe doesn’t give me the same thrill as picking out a cute dress. Today was my big day. I am officially a healthy vegetarian and the first thing I had to do was buy some healthy food. My shopping trip was an emotional rollercoaster. I was full of anxiety, confusion and deceit. Yes, deceit. Yesterday I wrote out my shopping list for this week and I immediately felt anxiety. What if buy this food and I don’t like it. Am I choosing the right products? I just didn’t feel secure that I was making the right decisions. I felt silly because it really shouldn’t be this hard. I go in the store buy some rabbit food and get out of there. I’m not being asked to cut the red wire or the green wire.
But this is a big deal to me. It’s time that I get healthy. I’m 5’3’’, 190 and I will be 25 years old in less than a month. It’s more than a vanity thing. Shoot, I don’t consider myself fat. I’m thick. But medically, I’m overweight and that can lead to some serious issues. High blood pressure runs in my family. And while I don’t have it now, but if I continue with my unhealthy habits it’s just a matter of time before it affects me.
So I headed to my neighborhood grocery store. The moment I walked in I was filled anxiety. Where do I go first? What do I do? The only thing that calmed me down was the sight of Home Grown tomatoes 2lbs for $3. I picked up a firm tomato and held it in my hand. A feeling of peace came over me and my confidence came back. I took out my list and headed for the onions.
The vegetable buying part wasn’t a problem. I knew what I wanted and for the most part I found it. I was a little disappointed that there were only two zucchinis. One was gigantic and the other one looked like it had been used to beat somebody across the head.  By the time I left the produce department I knew that the $50 budget was out the window but I knew that I wouldn’t be making a big grocery trip like this every week so I was ok with going over budget.
I knew that I wanted some soup. It’s an easy meal. What isn’t easy is finding a truly vegetarian canned soup. I found a good vegetable soup on sale. It looked promising but when I turned to look at the ingredients I saw that there was chicken stock in the vegetable soup. After picking up can after can I kept finding that several of these “vegetable” soups had chicken stock. I finally found a couple cans of soup from Campbell’s Select and Healthy Choice.
My major victory was found in the pasta aisle. I only want to eat whole wheat pasta but I know that whole wheat means a whole dollar or two added to the price. However I was relieved to find that this store had a few brands of organic whole wheat spaghetti and rotini noodles that were at a marked down price. So you know I stocked up.
After picking up a box cereal and few other impulse items I headed to the check out. I stood in line nervous. I knew I was over $50 but I did not add up as I went along so I had no idea how much I had spent. I put my items up on the counter. There was no turning back now. I wasn’t putting anything back because I needed everything. She scanned everything, pushed the total button and told me $82.81. But I was at peace. I knew that this would not happen again. I wouldn’t let it. At the bottom of my receipt was how much money I saved from in-store sales. $12.64. Yeah right. I’m buying a newspaper. Vegetarianism is going to turn me into a crazy coupon lady.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Keepin' It Simple

I have been thinking about what I want to eat my first week as a vegetarian. I want to keep it simple. I’m a pretty good cook when I take my time but I am also very lazy when it comes to cooking. My work schedule is different everyday so I won’t always be able to go home and cook a big dinner. I’m sure that there will be times that I am eating leftovers or just a salad.
I am not a big fan of breakfast so I am keeping that very simple. I am not what you would consider a morning person. Okay, I’m not a morning person at all. I don’t like being spoken to until I am fully awake. That takes at least half an hour. With that being said I doubt that I will want to stir it up in the kitchen making a tofu scramble.
So here is my menu for this week. It might change once I get to the store. I might buy all this stuff and say “To hell with this I’m frying some chicken”. I doubt the latter will happen. I’m pretty committed now. I’m excited for this challenge. If you plan on joining me let me know. Or if you are already a vegetarian leave me some tips in the comments section.

               Healthy cereal with soy milk and raisins, apple slices, green tea with lemon slice
               Vegetable soup and cut raw veggies
               Spinach, feta cheese and walnut salad with balsamic vinegar dressing
               Leftovers from dinner
               Zucchini, tomatoes, penne
               Vegetable pizza on flat bread
               Baja Black beans corn and rice (a recipe I found on
               Salad, veggie soup and mixed fruit
               Mixed nuts
               Fruit smoothie
               Whole wheat crackers

So I am waking up early on Thursday morning to head to the grocery store and make my first vegetarian purchase. Hopefully I don’t get sidetracked by a manager’s meat special.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Getting Ready to Dump The Meat

I love food. It makes me happy. Even on a day when I am late for work, have been bickering with my boyfriend, and am having the worst hair day of the year, thinking of food can turn it around. What kind of “tarian” am I? I would classify myself as an eat-it-tarian. Meaning if it is edible I will eat it.  However, vegetables rarely cross my plate. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good salad. And I was always taught that I should have a vegetable with every meal. I don’t know where I went wrong. Somehow green beans have turned to french-fries and my broccoli has been smothered in Velveeta. So I asked myself, “What if the food I made available to myself were vegetables?” It will be quite a challenge. I can go a whole day without eat a vegetable and now I am talking about only eating them. I want to do this. I have to do this but I see more red lights than green. Here are a few:
·        STOP!  Being a vegetarian takes a lot of planning ahead. I am the opposite of a planner. I’m not sure what the opposite of a planner is but that’s me. I don’t know what I am eating day to day. Vegetarians have to plan ahead for weeks. At any given moment I could be somewhere and not have anything to eat. Not cool.
·        WATCH OUT! Being a vegetarian is terribly expensive. A two piece a Church’s Chicken on a Tuesday is cheaper than a salad. I’m on a budget and the joy of processed food is that is cheap and doesn’t parish.  And don’t get me started on those meat substitutes. I could get a pound of meat for the price of a little pack soy meat substitute.
·        CAUTION! Being a vegetarian sssssoooooooooo boring. I love food. I love eating. And if I have to eat boring and tasteless food, this won’t last long. I’m an okay cook but not very creative. I’m afraid that I will be stuck eating salads and bags of Steam Fresh frozen vegetables every night.  

So I’ve given myself a $50 budget for groceries and I am in the process of making a meal plan and shopping list. I think I will look up some recipes so I won’t want to go back to meat after a couple days. My first day as an official vegetarian will be September 1st  so I have just a few days to prepare.  I wonder what I will be able to come up with.