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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?