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Not ‘Chickening’ Out on Vegetarianism

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Nine weeks ago, I began my journey into a meat-free world. What started as a project to blog has somehow become an entirely new lifestyle. One where I have eliminated eating anything that once had a heartbeat.

In being a Vegetarian, I’ve discovered just how much meat I was actually eating per day. I’ve never been a fan of red meat, but white meat was a regular part of my diet. Chicken and Turkey might as well have called themselves my boyfriends because I was spending so much time with them. But our recent break up has been a challenge. I’ve completely cut them out of my life…much like deleting that ex-boyfriend from Facebook.

I have also spent more time observing the grocery store and discovered the strangest things. I am determined to try every kind of lettuce sold–which may take a while. I’ve cut my shopping trips by a good 5 minutes now that I don’t have to spend time picking out meat products. “Tofu” is on the top of my list every time I jot down what I need and ‘Glee’ night is now ‘Glee and salad’ night.

The real challenge has been outside the vegetable-rich bubble I call my kitchen. The alternative to meat in most restaurants is usually something unhealthy like fried vegetables, pasta dishes and desserts. People assume a vegetarian diet is healthy, but it can be the exact opposite if there is no effort to find the right food. I recently visited “Lolo’s Chicken and Waffles” for the first time and was forced to miss out on half the dining experience. Yep, I wasn’t able to try the waffles. (Just kidding.)

When done right, vegetarianism can lead to some great healthy alternatives!And while my friends may have laughed when I ordered a Greek Salad instead of chicken wings at Native New Yorker, at least I didn’t need to ask for a wet-wipe at the end of my meal.

I believe in this lifestyle, despite what my hispanic grandmothers say (Something along the lines of “you’re insane”). I know that my lack of purchasing oven-roasted turkey slices won’t diminish the meat industry, but it’s one less customer they’re having to provide products to and one less animal sacrificed on the count of feeding me.

Bye Bye Birdie: Adventures of a beginner Vegetarian

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I spent $94.28 on groceries last week. You’d think that eliminating an entire food group from my diet would result in spending less money? Yeah, no.

Who know healthy eating could be so colorful?

My groceries were mostly the same as every week–lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini squash, onion, grapes, bananas, oranges, wheat bread, cereal and pop-tarts (an essential). I skipped the poultry department and spent an extra five minutes trying to find the  “tofu” heading in one of the isles. After realizing the soy-milk product isn’t cool enough to have it’s own tab in an aisle menu just yet, I found it near an array of other food products whose names I could not even pronounce.

Bringing home these new groceries was almost as exciting as bringing home a new puppy–except I’d never google recipes for puppies? My first vegetarian meal of the night was veggie soup, a simple and safe choice. But as the week progressed, I got more creative with my cooking. On Wednesday I boiled and blended vegetables and made a delicious and nutritious soup. I then tackled the tofu, which was for the most part a success. I combined the crispy pieces with brown rice. Most of my other meals since have consisted of pasta, stir fry, fresh sandwiches, cereals and fruits.

I planned on attempting to cook ratatouille as well but somehow lost the eggplant I swore I purchased. Yes, I lost a vegetable. That distracted.

Zucchini Cream Soup: Basically, a blend of veggies.

My week as a vegetarian has left me craving more, or in this case, less. I really don’t feel like eliminating meat was all that of a challenge so I am continuing the vegetarian diet from here on out. After reading an article in the Vegetarian Times, I realized just how healthy living a meat-free life can be. I’m improving my health by sparing the lives of animals–WINNING.

Don’t get me wrong, I love chicken and what’s Thanksgiving without some delicious Turkey? But the more I research and write about animal rights, the less I crave a meat product that comes from a confined animal injected with hormones. I’ve signed a petition with PETA2 urging McDonald’s to eliminate their current breeding and slaughtering methods for chickens. You should too! 

I’m not saying I’ll never eat meat again, but I intend on making an effort to never go back. Stay tuned for updates, until we ‘meat’ again.