It’s currently Friday morning (cue that awful Rebecca Black song) and we haven’t consumed any meat since New Year’s Eve. I know it hasn’t been a week yet, but what’s striking about this part of the challenge so far is how little our lives have changed in terms of eating. That’s either a good thing or a bad thing (I’ll get to that in a minute). Yesterday evening we stopped for pizza in KCK after picking up our friend from the airport and chowed down on cheese pizza; the only major change here is that sometimes when we were eating meat, we would order pepperoni. But only sometimes—often we’d be out with one of our friends who doesn’t eat pork for religious reasons, and we’d share a cheese pizza with him. We ate our Boca Burgers for dinner on Wednesday night, and while Ryan is totally correct in noting that they don’t taste like burgers at all, they were good enough that we will definitely eat them again, and like I think Ryan mentioned, they do sort of satisfy sandwich-type cravings even if they don’t really satisfy burger cravings. We’ve had linguini with pesto for dinner two nights; we went to IHOP for breakfast/lunch once and ordered the same type of thing we often order at IHOP, only this time substituting toast for the meat that came with our entrees. So far, things have been relatively easy.
We have both noticed feeling slightly hungrier since giving up meat. I’m convinced that this is psychosomatic; we’ve certainly been eating enough food and aren’t starving ourselves or dieting. We are really committed to doing this the right way—eating balanced meals, fruits and vegetables, finding protein and vitamins in other sources. I am scouring my vegetarian cookbooks for advice on how to get the nutrition we require, but we’re also not giving up on sweets and carbohydrates either (like I said, this isn’t a diet, and we’re not giving up meat for health reasons). We’re not interested in making ourselves feel like we’re being deprived or missing out on anything, at least not now, so what we eat looks pretty much like what we used to eat, minus the meat products that we’d consume at least a few times every week but never every day. To be honest, I haven’t felt that great over the course of the past week, but I doubt it’s due to this change in diet. It’s been a bad winter for my allergies and my stomach hasn’t felt great since I got sick down in Texas.
The real challenge will come in a week, when I start teaching again. It’s going to require slightly more meal planning than we’re used to for dinners (we’re on our own for lunches during the week), so we’re making a trip to Trader Joe’s this weekend to stock up on some staples, and I’m working on a document that keeps track of quick and easy meals that we can make during the weekday evenings without a lot of effort. I’m teaching an overload and adjuncting this semester in addition to working on my dissertation and Ryan teaches full-time and takes evening classes twice a week; we don’t want to rely on eating out any more than we normally would, so we’re going to plan.
A few questions I will tackle here in the future are as follows: 1) Is it a good or a bad thing that this part of the challenge is easier than we might have expected? What I ultimately mean by this is that maybe going vegetarian is too simple of a task to be a part of a challenge like this, but I’ll elaborate on that at some point. Full disclosure: I expect to get hit with a meat craving one of these days, and I expect that I will handle it less-than-gracefully, so I’m not expecting it to remain this easy. 2) Why aren’t we going vegan instead? I’ll tell you right now that going vegan is not going to happen, and I’ll talk about it more later. 3) What’s the ethical defense of going vegetarian? 4) Are we committed to a vegetarian lifestyle after this challenge is over?
That’s it for now. I’ll update soon about some of the other aspects of the project, including choosing charitable organizations to support for the year, searching for volunteer opportunities, and the challenges of recycling.