When I was in high school working a concession stand, a little boy looked up and asked, “How do you go on dates if you’re a vegetarian?” Oh boy did I get a good laugh out of that one.
Most people, especially meat lovers, think being a vegetarian sounds like torture. Truthfully, it’s quite the opposite.
Have you always been a vegetarian?
The correct answer would be no, but for the most part yes. I ordered chicken tenders off the kids menu well past the age limit; however, I would sit there and pick them apart to make sure there weren’t any veins or chewy pieces. I loved ground beef tacos and a good piece of grilled chicken every now and then. It wasn’t until my freshman year of high school when I finally realized if I wasn’t eating much meat to begin with, why eat it at all?
What made you go vegetarian and was it difficult?
I’ve always been a picky eater growing up. It wasn’t the taste of meat that gave me the wrong vibe, but rather the texture. If a ‘texture problem’ is a real thing – I have self-diagnosed myself. As I mentioned before, I rarely ate meat so I decided to go cold turkey (hahaha see what I did here). Becoming a vegetarian was rather easy since I never craved meat to begin with. I missed a taco every now and then but once I figured out vege tacos were a thing I was ready to rock. I will post some of my favorite vege taco recipes later.
What do you think about the food documentaries on Netflix like ‘What the Health’?
I’ve seen my fair share of meat bashing documentaries on Netflix, trust me. While most of the information being portrayed is supported by facts, it always seems to be one sided. Of course there are negative consequences to eating meat, dairy, or specific foods in general, but there are also positives that seem to be overlooked. There are a number of foods mentioned in the documentaries that I never liked to begin with so it didn’t really have a huge impact on my eating habits. An example would be cow milk. I never liked milk (unless I was dunking cookies of course!) so I’ve always been satisfied with almond milk instead.
Does sitting near people eating meat gross you out?
Not at all. Actually I lied, “raw dog” truly grosses me out. It looks like raw ground beef but you can actually eat it raw! Other than that I don’t mind being around meals with meat. I also love the smell of a good barbecue on a hot summer day.
Will you cook meat?
Of course! I’ll even use my hands to mix or roll the meat into shapes the recipe calls for. Don’t worry I wash my hands before and after. My boyfriend never goes a day without eating some sort of meat due to the taste and protein so I try my best to cook meat as often as possible.
What are some of your boyfriend’s favorite meals you have made with meat?
Honey Sriracha turkey meatballs from Eat Yourself Skinny (I highly recommend that you check out her recipes)! I used Italian seasoned ground turkey since we had it in the freezer and they turned out great (according to Jeff). I test tasted the sauce with my finger and it cleared my nostrils immediately. One of his favorite meals that I make is a thinly baked chicken parmesan dish with homemade vodka sauce from the Pioneer Woman (and a side of pasta of course).
Do you feel any different?
I don’t think so, but again, it wasn’t as if I went from constantly eating meat to none at all. I ate meat sparingly so I didn’t notice any drastic changes. I’ve always eaten generally healthy and have always been one with natural energy. It wasn’t until recently that I started enjoying black coffee just for the taste; however, I’ve never drink/drank a cup of coffee simply for energy.
What do you order at restaurants?
Depends on the restaurant but there are vegetarian options everywhere. If we’re heading to an Italian restaurant, I typically order a pasta dish with vodka sauce, a salad, or pizza (and about 20 orders of bread). I’ll order vegetarian tacos which usually have a black bean, potato, or avocado base + chips & salsa (can’t forget the margs) at a Mexican restaurant. I will also indulge in salads, falafel, pizza, pasta dishes, or soups pretty much anywhere I eat.
Is it hard to find places to eat with a group of people?
No. I repeat, NO! Often I find myself in situation where my friends or family are trying to decide on a place to eat but they have a hard time deciding because they don’t think the place will have vegetarian options. I promise you I will go anywhere and find something edible so please don’t base the decision off of the vegetarian factor!
What happens if some dishes have meat pre mixed or a broth isn’t vegetarian?
Ok, I won’t go that far. If the only option is Bolognese sauce I’ll eat it. The meat doesn’t bother me and so far has never hurt my stomach either (knocking on wood over here). Chicken or vegetable broth are both ok in my book.
How do you get your protein?
Peanut butter, tree nuts, legumes, garbanzo beans, eggs (yes I eat eggs on occasion), protein powder, quinoa, rice & beans, and so on…. It’s much easier than it sounds and there are plenty of options!
Are your meals bland?
Refer back to my ‘About Me‘ section where I mention that I don’t believe in bland food! My homemade vegetarian meals are packed with flavor and spice. Most people think vegetarian meals consist of nothing but bland vegetables and I can assure you that is not the case. I’ll share some of my favorite meals (that even my boyfriend enjoys) later on.
Any advice for people considering joining the ‘vegetarian world’?
Start slow, especially if meat is typically included in each of your meals. Maybe slowly wean off one meat and then another as time goes on.
Start cooking for yourself! A homemade chocolate chip granola bar can be made with as little as 4 ingredients. Now take a look the ingredients on a packaged granola bar…the number of ingredients is outrageous for such a small item. You’ll be able to control (and see) what goes into your meals which personally always makes me feel better.
Research a list of vegetarian friendly foods and produce before you head to the store. The less ingredients listed, the better. In fact, foods (like produce) that don’t have any ingredients listed are the best kind.
Make sure you have a few recipes in mind ahead of time. Do not let the long list of ingredients discourage you from cooking. Most of the time it’s just a lot of seasoning or spices. If you go to the grocery store and just buy a bunch of produce it will most likely just sit in your fridge.
Prepare the ingredients ahead of time. For example, cut up all of the vegetables or required ingredients in the morning rather than during the cooking process. This takes a away stress and speeds up the cooking time!
Stock your pantry with plenty of spices! This is a great way to give your food some flavor.
Try to avoid grocery shopping on an empty stomach. This may sound obvious but you’ll be more inclined to cave in and buy that juicy piece of meat that’s marked down to ‘buy one get one free.’
Experiment and follow vegetarian bloggers for some inspiration.
Good luck! Let me know how it goes in the comment section below!
All photos belong to me. Please do not replicate.