About being a vegetarian

About being a vegetarian

About being a vegetarian

It seemed like it was time to do a post about being a vegetarian. This month makes it three years since I stopped eating meat.

In my family, I was the last one to do it. There were many reasons I resisted, but the main one was because I didn’t know what I could cook. I felt like I had to make lots of changes. Find lots and lots of new recipes. The reality was that all I had to do was change the way I thought about food.

About being a vegetarian

Why did I become a vegetarian

As I said, everyone else in my family was, and my husband has been one for around 10 years now. I didn’t cook for him and we basically did our own thing.

The reasons for becoming a vegetarian was because of the environment and the resources used for meat production. Animals also produce a lot of greenhouse gases. I agreed with it all in theory, but making that step was hard.

First I stopped eating beef and tried to stay away from pork. Bacon can be hard to resist. I had this idea that I would eat meat ethically. Beef was the worse and so was pork. So I stayed away from them. Chicken is the best, and then perhaps lamb. I don’t really know about lamb actually.

In the end, what made me tip over to no meat was food poisoning. We had some takeaway from a place and the meat must have been off. I was really sick for a few days and I knew it was the meat. I was the only one that ate it and the only one who got sick. After it I couldn’t look at meat so decided to give it another try.

About being a vegetarian

Not eating meat

While I couldn’t stomach meat I started thinking about food differently. If I love spaghetti bolognese, then how could I still eat it without meat. The answer, use lentils instead of mincemeat.

I started going through all my favourite meals and working out how I could eat them with no meat. What could I substitute for it?

It isn’t always easy and something you just can’t have anymore, but mostly I have turned my favourite meat dishes into vegetarian dishes.

About being a vegetarian

Converting and substituting

When I go out to eat I often do the same. I usually talk to the waitstaff and ask about vegetarian dishes. Then I also ask how flexible the chef is. I love burgers, really, I do. You don’t have to have meat in them though. Often I will see if the meat can be substituted for halloumi or falafels. At Maccas, we get a Big Mac with no beef patties and put a hash brown in it instead.

It really is about thinking outside the box. If there is something I want to eat, the I have to see how I can do it without the meat. Salads here are done with quinoa or rice mixed through. Cous cous is also good in a salad especially if you get the flavoured ones.

About being a vegetarian

Growing my own vegetables

I am sure that part of the reason for wanting to grow a vegetable garden is that I can have more control over what we are eating. We will know where it comes from and how it was grown.

Also, we have noticed that the price of fresh produce has gone up a lot this year, so it is more economical to grow your own.

I think we can all agree as well that homegrown tastes so much better too. Really the only problem is how long it is all taking. I am impatient and I can’t wait to start picking our fresh produce.

About being a vegetarian
Sorry, not a great photo of my roast vegetables with chilli lime dressing.

Vegetarian food

So now that I have changed my way of thinking I am finding it very easy to be a vegetarian. I have a list on the wall, on my blackboard, of all the things that I cook. When I am looking for what I am going to make for dinner I look at the list. A friend described it like a restaurant menu.

It is expanding all the time. I’m constantly finding new dishes to try. Tonight I am trying a chickpea and potato curry. It sounds good, so I can’t wait to try that.

I’m also starting to make my own recipes and sauces. The image above is one of those. I worked out the sauce recipe and it is one of our favourites now.

Being a vegetarian is a state of mind, and I’m so glad I made the switch. We save so much money by not having to pay for meat. Meat is one thing that is really expensive.

Are you vegetarian or vegan? Have you found it hard?

About being a vegetarian

About being a vegetarian

24 Responses

  1. Lovely post! I think many people do not understand the impact on the environment of our current food system.

  2. Great post. I like your idea about substitution and the board to record menu ideas. I have been recording lists and ideas on the boat which comes in handy when we have visitors… when you have limited space to store stuff you have to be inventive.

  3. This is the thing I love about you, Leanne—your commitment to a new idea! And regardless of the photo, the potatoes look yummy.

    • It is the sticking to the commitment that I sometimes have problems with, but I try, this one has been easy so far. The potatoes were so good, might have to cook them tonight.Thank you Pam

  4. Leanne, I so much relate to your post. I’ve been a vegetarian since over 15 years, (well I still eat fish) but since than my cooking has become so much more creative and so much more enjoyable, besides enjoying my meals so much more. I never experienced such creativity before and I love cooking, as for example I had discovered legumes as such a healthy diet, the variety of recipes is endless. It had been a sudden decision from one night to day and it felt like so natural to me like I had done this for ever, it was just such a relieve and I feel so much better and healthier since than. So enjoy your new way of nutrition and cooking, it will enhance your live tremendously.

    • I really enjoy cooking now as well Cornelia, I think once I have my own veggies I will enjoy it far more. That is great to hear, and I agree, I feel healthier and happier now too. I would like to get a bit fitter, but the garden is seeing to that happening. I will, and you continue to do the same. thank you

  5. I didn’t know you were vegetarian. I was vegetarian for a decade. Back then, it wasn’t for ethical reasons. I just didn’t grow up eating a lot of meat (for budget reasons) so I never got used to the textures and flavours. I introduced some lean chicken and white fish back into my diet for specific health reasons during my first pregnancy so that is the only flesh I have consumed in several decades. I would resume full vegetarianism (now for environmental reasons as well as personal taste) if not for the fact that I live with five carnivores I have to cook for. We eat a mostly vegetarian diet with a little chicken and I cook red meat for the others maybe once a week max. I imagine I will return to full vegetarianism once we are empty nesters. I think it would make a difference to the environment if people at least reduced the amount of meat they consume.

    • Yeah, I am, been one for a while now. It is funny the different ways we grow up. I grew up on a farm, and we raised animals to kill and eat, so there was always lots of meat to eat. I can understand how it would be hard living with lots of carnivores. They say that it is okay to eat meat, but try not to do every day, so it sounds like you are doing a great job Laura. I think so too, if everyone consumed less it would make a massive difference. Thank you.

  6. mmmmm yum. Beautiful images!! I was a vegetarian for many years, now I eat fish also. As I age it seems my body needs a little extra boost of fish protein.

    • Thank you Pam. I considered doing the fish option, but the over fishing of the oceans was a concern for me, so I cut that out too.

    • Yeah, I know. It seems the older I get the more my body needs a little bit of some form of animal protein. Right now it is smoked salmon. That is about the heaviest meat my stomach will deal with and it seems to be just the small amount that it needs.

    • I haven’t found that I need it, but I am taking B12 every day as well. I might need other things as I get older, we will see.

  7. I tried being a vegan for awhile. I took some vegan classes out of curiosity from the 7th day Adventists. My family which at the time was my husband and my son did not cooperating so eventually I gave it up. I found that going back to eating meat made me feel guilty. I realized it was a religious thing. I had to stop looking over my shoulder wondering if the 7th day Adventists were seeing me buy meat. That was years ago now. But the thing about being a vegan is it is learning all over again how to cook. It was like learning a foreign language. I found it difficult even with help from the classes and the many recipes. My sister is a vegetarian. She simply doesn’t like meat. Once and awhile she eats fish but that’s all.

    • It can be hard when not everyone does it. My husband was one first, but I told him he was on his own. Now I cook for him since we are both vegetarians. I can’t do vegan, I can’t give up my milk for my coffee. The rest yes, I don’t really like that much cheese, but the milk, I have tried using soy, but didn’t like it. Veganism is a whole other thing. I mean who knew that wine was vegetarian or vegan? So many things to think about. Thank you Lena, that was interesting.

  8. I have been a vegetarian for going on 50 years. For 5 of those years I was vegan. I have a few favorite vegan restaurants here in town I used to go to, but I reverted back to vegetarianism and am OK with it. Leanne, there are so many wonderful vegetarian cookbooks out there to broaden your palate. With Covid, I’ve not been out to eat in forever but between vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free among other things, restaurants, here in the US at least, can accommodate most any dietary request. Growing your own vegetables will be fantastic! I don’t have a garden so envy you and the plant selections you will have fun with. Enjoy!

    • My daughter was a vegan, it is hard. I just can’t do it. I’m okay with being a vegetarian too, I have also found that my stomach doesn’t really like soy. I think the internet is fantastic too. There are so many websites devoted to vegetarian food, it is wonderful. I can’t wait for my own vegies, that is going to be fantastic. I am lucky with the garden, it is also helping me get fit as well. Thank you Lois.

  9. bcelasun

    I am a modified vegetarian (lacto- ovo- …). I do not eat red meat, poultry and processed meat of all sorts. Deciding was easy. Doing it was even easier. Took just a day. No regrets, ever. I believe it is more than 10 years now. Perhaps, 15. I feel much better and “lighter”. It coincided with a life style change, by the way. Less work & more exercise was part of the overall change. Your food images are beautiful, by the way. You are still a good photographer! Looking for to see more…

    • It is good to hear that you are too. I am full, so no meat at all. I was thinking of doing fish, but our oceans are so overfished that I didn’t want to be part of the problem there. I agree about feeling better, I do as well. I just need to exercise more and then life will be good. Thank you, I’m enjoying doing the food photography. I should do more.

  10. Great post, Leanne. I am not a vegetarian yet, but I have been incorporating more meatless meals over the last few years. I have taken a real liking to veggie burgers. But I just love the taste of meat.

    One day maybe, but I am proud of your choice. Your dishes look tasty. Thanks for the great post.

    • I don’t think you have to be a vegetarian to help the climate, but cutting down your meat intake is a great way to go too Tim. Try not eating beef for 6 to 12 months and then see if you still like the taste. That is what I found when I stopped eating beef initially, in the end I didn’t like the taste of it. Now if I do eat meat I get the worse stomach cramps, not worth it.

      Thank you Tim, it is amazing how good food can be without meat.

  11. It’s a difficult choice for sure, I made the same choice about 4 years ago. I’d attempted once before back in the early eighties but it was much more difficult then just trying to find supplies for the substitutes. Anyway I did start again 4 years ago and haven’t really had the same troubles this time around although sometime if you’re going out it seems that Vegans are better catered for with regard to Restaurants than Vegetarians. All that’s required really is a bit of extra effort to make sure you’re getting the appropriate proteins and vitamins in alternative sources at the needed levels for your body.

    I’m happy with my choice and so it seems are you. Well Done!

    • I have attempted it a few times as well Craig, this is the first time it has stuck. I do think it is easier now because so many people are choosing to be vegetarian now. I will eat vegan food, but I don’t think I could be vegan. Spot on Craig.
      I’m happy with my choice too, thank you Craig.

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