Anddd….time! Veggie month is officially over. I can now eat meat. I really thought that I’d be more excited about this. Don’t get me wrong, I do like my chicken and seafood, but I thought that after 4 weeks of not eating meat, today’s reaction would be akin to a swimmer holding his breath underwater until he’s about to pass out, finally breaking the surface and gulping air frantically and greedily. Instead I feel more like I’ve been floating peacefully on the water and I notice a sign on the riverbank saying “meat this way” and think to myself “ok, cool…if I can’t find it I’ll just float for a bit more.”
That concludes the metaphorical portion of this post. Next up: My thoughts on veggie month without trying to sound preachy! I actually enjoyed this month a lot. It inspired me to cook more, eat better, get more creative with food and plating, forge stronger friendships, start a blog, opened me up to the world of food photography and overall upped my food game.
I also learned that I need lots of counter space (size DOES matter), I need help when it comes to washing dishes, I prefer to under salt rather than over salt, I rely on constructive criticism, planning ahead is very important if you want to make the most of your meal, and always have snacks! I did slack off a bit in between and paid the price – bread and cheese and crackers saved me more than once. Also just because something is called a veggie burger, it doesn’t mean it is healthy. Don’t deep fry a piece of broccoli, tell me that’s healthy and feel proud that you didn’t eat meat. Smh. I also was reminded that if you’re going to come off of meat, you should lean into beans and nuts for the protein and other good stuff that you get from meat and fish.
I also enjoyed the opportunity to make veggies the focal point of my dish. Meat usually hogs all the attention and quite often I throw together the easiest side which isn’t always the healthiest thing. I loved that I could try out the more time consuming veggie dishes during this month. Because I bought a wider range of veggies as well, I was able to try out those recipes that require a uniquely complicated combination of ingredients (who has Israeli cous cous, zucchini and hazelnuts on hand?) and was more or less pretty happy with the stuff I tried.
I stayed off for a combination of reasons – to challenge myself, to use up my veggie recipes and to eat cleaner and healthier. I feel like I’ve satisfied those and eating cleaner actually made me feel cleaner. I’d like to think that some of these habits will be able to translate easier in my regular eating patterns and eventually become a way of life.
All in all, deciding to stay off meat is a personal choice. You may be religious, concerned with animal rights, may need to stay off for health reasons, or may simply just not like the taste of meat. Whatever it is, I hope that you follow the best diet for you. Put the effort into eating and cooking responsibly and pair this with exercise and other healthy habits.
I can’t say that I’ll never slack off again and there’s lots of room for improvement currently (my exercise regimen is pitiful), but I am inclined to ride the wave of clean eating and see how far it takes me (Ok, sorry. That was one more metaphor). Thanks to Rabin, Adam, Tariq, & Shellon for sticking with it. Personal challenges are so much more fun when you have the support of good friends who challenge themselves right along with you!