Last year, I was terribly disappointed in my choice of farms for my CSA; a great deal of the produce arrived bruised and damaged beyond use. Oftentimes, half of the contents of the box had to immediately be removed and discarded to avoid ruining the rest of the produce. Please don't think I mean a few cosmetic blemishes or an occasional bruise--what I mean is it looked like someone slammed the produce into the crate as hard as they could or ran the vegetable up and down a fence rail before putting it in the crate to sit in a dark, dank place over night. Harsh words, but true nonetheless. I was so disappointed that I didn't join a CSA this summer.
Lunch: Baked potato with caramelized onions, sauteed crimini mushrooms & steamed broccoli
As a result, the vegetable consumption in our household this summer has been shameful.
I realized I needed to do something about this and decided that in an attempt to lead by example, I would challenge myself to eat vegetarian for the next couple of weeks. There are lots of good, valid reasons that people choose to eat vegetarian (and vegan) but my temporary decision to do so is not because I wish to cut out eating meat (I actually don't eat THAT much of it to begin with) but instead this:
I want to concentrate fully on what I'm not eating:
Plenty of vegetables prepared in ways that not only get my family eating them but get them excited about eating them!
I am hoping by concentrating on a vegetarian diet for the next couple of weeks I will be able to challenge myself to prepare them in different, healthful ways that makes me want to eat lots of them. By not 'centering' a meal around the meat being served I think I will be more creative to explore new options. Also, I think it will be interesting to see if I feel any differently in my day to day life as I focus on consuming more fresh vegetables (and fruits).
Sunday was my last 'meat' meal. Rick's mother had a small cookout. I enjoyed corn on the cob, watermelon and the most delicious caprese salad I've ever tasted and....a juicy hamburger. When it was time for dessert, I passed up the cake, the cookies and the other assorted tasty sweets. I am only a little ashamed to admit that I ate another hamburger for dessert. Hey! It was my farewell to meat and that burger was just so darn good!
Today was my first meatless day. I started the day with steel cut oats and coffee. I don't think even with my new resolve I'm ready to face veggies at 6 am just quite yet. I did a gentle 30 minute workout at the gym trying to be careful not to overdo it because I am still recovering from an injury. The steel cut oats were a nice way to start the day; I noticed I wasn't even a little bit hungry. Later, for lunch I had a baked potato topped with caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms and steamed broccoli. I also made a smoothie out of mixed baby greens and frozen strawberries. Yum!
After lunch, I took a long 5 mile walk and was pleased to discover that my pace is a 15 minute mile! Not too bad! I wasn't walking as fast as I could but I obviously wasn't going slow. This was my 'I have somewhere to go pace' and I was pretty pleased with it but I was incredibly hungry and empty feeling after it. I think because my lunch lacked any healthy fats to keep me going. When I returned home, I had a toasted mini whole wheat bagel with a tablespoon of creamy peanut butter and a half of a banana.
Vegetarian 'chili' with six different types of veggies
I made vegetarian 'chili' for dinner jam packed with veggies: onions, carrots, celery, garlic, peppers and tomatoes. For the protein I used bulgar wheat (I was all out of quinoa), pinto beans and toasted tofu. Of course it didn't taste exactly like chili but it was similar and very satisfying.
Count 'em: broccoli, potato, baby greens, strawberries, banana, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, peppers and tomatoes. That's ELEVEN different types of fruits and vegetables! Mushrooms don't really fit into either of those categories but if they did that would be twelve.
I fear I may have set the bar awfully high with having so many different types on this first day but I'm going to choose to look at as a way to make a fantastic start.