As some of you know I was vegetarian to vegan for the past 6 and a half weeks up until Easter it was a crazy experience, and I learned a lot. I tried a lot of new foods and I learned a new lifestyle and even went to a vegan restaurant, twice! I really tried to get into the mindset of being vegetarian and vegan as I was asked multiple times why I was doing what I was doing, other than it being lent and sacrificing something big I didn’t have another reason for it just than to see what happens to my body if I did and to see if I could go through with it and how hard it would be.
Pretty cool huh?
Honestly, I think it was more mentally tough than physically. Luckily for me I live alone so I control what comes in the house and for the most part what goes into my mouth as well, at least 90% of the time. The other time I am skimming through a menu trying to find something that’s not a dry salad and not fried food that I can eat and telling yet another person where I get my protein. Support is huge, though it was hard for those around me to tiptoe around my diet, most at least tried. I definitely had to defend myself more than once and got frustrated when everyone wanted to eat out at places where I could only get french fries, but overall I am glad I did it and would do it again. No doubt I am implementing some of my lifestyle from that 6 and a half weeks into what I eat now. I would say at least 4-5 days of the week I still eat vegetarian, I’m not huge on meat and with all the hormones and terrible stuff that they feed the animals that eventually go into my body I’m not totally convinced to consume it. I think if I could make something stick, for me to be a pescatarian wouldn’t be a far reach at all. A vegetarian plus seafood.
I will share with you one of my favorite recipes from my experience, probably only my favorite because I can call it my own! I remember in college one of my roommates once made a sloppy joe but instead of on buns she made it in a croissant roll..pocket..type thing. I didn’t have one but I thought that was a pretty cool idea! So I was looking through tempeh recipes and I found one for bbq sandwiches, immediately I thought of the sloppy joe croissants and thought I would combine the two! Even for those of you who are meat eaters you may want to save this recipe for next Lent when Friday rolls around, its so good!
16 oz of tempeh (usually two packs)
1/2 white or yellow onion
1/2-1 diced bell pepper
3-4 tbsp ketchup
3-4 tbsp bbq sauce
1 (I think 8 oz) can of grands croissant rolls
If you have followed any of my recipes before you know that I’m not much for precise measuring, a lot of it is to taste so if you don’t like onion take it out, if you do, use the whole thing and depending on your sauciness you may want more or less ketchup or bbq.
Now, put some oil down and throw in your diced onion and bell pepper so they can soften a bit. Its not necessary for them to soften long because they will be going into the oven after as well. Then throw in the thawed tempeh, it literally cooks like ground meat except its already cooked. After the tempeh, onion and pepper or mixed, put your sauces in and mix well. Make sure everything is coated, again, I didn’t quite measure what I put in so you may want more or less of the sauce. Once everything is coated and warm get your croissant dough out and mend the dotted lines, depending on how big or small you want your joe’s you can make them the size of your choosing, I just ripped and mended as I went. With the dough in my hand I scooped some filling in and packed that baby closed. Once the filling is all in, (I had a bit leftover so be conscious of your fillings) place them on a sprayed baking sheet and throw them in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees. Watch constantly as all ovens are different, if the dough is browned well then it is time to come out! Yumm…
Like I said before I still eat well over 50% of my meals vegetarian but everyone does it for their own reasons. I have many. If any of you have watched a video on meat processing and slaughter houses you would change your outlook a little. There’s a saying that goes “If slaughter houses had glass windows everyone would be vegetarian”. Whether that is true or not animals definitely at times are treated inhumanely. When I think of animals being treated badly and it ending up in our food, I don’t think of slaughterhouses, I think of mass industry farms. That grow chickens twice the size as in 1950 and they do it in half the time. All the hormones and steroids that go into that one chicken to make it like that is not something that I prefer in my body, especially when some are so big that they brake their legs trying to sustain their own weight. Now I’m not trying to convince anyone to be vegetarian or vegan but do a little research and try to at least eat grass fed animals and organically farmed animal products so you know there aren’t any chemicals, steroids, and hormones lurking in your foods. Just imagine what that is doing to your body. When you eat organic your body processes whatever you are consuming so much easier than processed chemical ridden foods. Especially if you own Netflix, I strongly urge you to watch just one documentary about food, every tidbit of information helps you be more conscious about healthy choices.
Well, now that I’m off my soapbox I will leave you with some tips and tidbits that I learned throughout this amazingly difficult journey:
-This is first for a reason. Don’t ask a vegetarian or vegan where they get their protein, especially condescendingly, go educate yourself and try some lentils or tempeh for a change of pace, you just might like it! Its okay to inquire with an open mind if you are looking for suggestions but please be conscious.
-Look up some recipes you might like and prepare a grocery list, when being vegan there comes a LOT of label reading to make sure there is no animal product in what you buy.
-Which leads me to telling you to read the labels, you have to look up the tricky names like whey and casein that mean milk and find substitutes for those. Good for you, at the end of a lot of ingredient lists it says in big bold letters THIS PRODUCT CONTAINS: …. This is probably for people who have allergies but comes in handy when avoiding certain products.
-Try something new, there were plenty of exciting recipes I looked up, some might turn out good and some bad but if you are like me, being creative in the kitchen regardless of what you are cooking helps you not only learn about the food you are cooking but eliminates what you try and like with what you try and don’t like.
-If you are worried about getting enough protein keep in mind that vegetables have protein and of course organic will be better for you. The less processed an item is, the easier it will be received by your body and the more benefits you will get from it, trust me on this one, go buy a juicer if you have to!
-My biggest tip, is if you are going to do something like me and give up meat and meat products for a limited amount of time, do NOT overdo it when that day is up. I had three pieces of turkey bacon, an egg with some cheese for breakfast on Easter and I was sick the rest of the day. My body isn’t use to processing that type of stuff so it was a rough time.
Much love to all!
If there are any tips you would like to share or even good documentaries or books on healthy eating please share!
Have a great day!