31 days of being vegetarian and counting…
So in my January goals, I set myself the goal of being vegetarian for the entire month. No meat, bar fish (because of my Ichthyosis) so technically flexetarian. In any case, the goal was set. So how did I do?
I achieve 30/31 days of my meat-free days. The only time I failed was because of a collaboration that I arranged before I set myself this goal. Disregarding that time, the entire month I had no meat. And I really enjoyed it. Turns out, I don’t actually eat that much meat, it’s more of a convenience. Other than having meat for my dinners, I normally have it when I’ve forgotten to eat and need a snack. Usually, Lee has slices of deli meat that he has for his sandwiches and I would grab a slice of that.
I still like meat. Let me tell you, a Cauliflower ‘steak’ is not the same as a real beef steak! But, I have discovered so many more dishes that don’t rely on meat being the main ingredient. I’ve also discovered grains (quinoa is absolutely delicious) and nuts have appeared more and more in my meals. Which is why I’ve decided to carry on being vegetarian.
So, what does the future look like?
Technically, it’s flexetarian, or pescatarian, as I eat fish. But I’ve decided that at home, I won’t eat meat. However, if we go out for dinner or brunch and I fancy a dish which has meat in it, I can have it. So far, I’ve not craved it when I’ve seen it on the menu, but I want that option there if I really want it.
So be prepared to see more vegetarian dishes on the blog, as my mind has been opened wide. Forgive me but I generally thought it meant dishes being filled with just veggies or pasta or vegetarian-friendly frozen food. At least, that was the way it was when I was last vegetarian (I was 14, it was the 00’s. The options did not exist back then). I’ve been feeding off the ideas from cookbooks for new and exciting recipes. I, of course, got Joe Wicks’ new cookbook, which is great and packed full of ideas. I also love Madeleine Shaws’s cookbooks, particularly her Year of Beautiful Eating book. Then, there’s also the internet, which is full of inspiration and ideas.
So, if your thinking of taking the plunge like me into being vegetarian, here are some top tips to help you along your journey…
My top tips for being vegetarian…
KEEP YOUR FRIDGE & FREEZER STOCKED.
It’s important to keep your fridge stocked and have snacks on you at all time. If hunger pangs attack and you have nothing on you, you’re more likely going to reach for a fast food burger or meaty pizza. We crave meat when we’re feeling tired, both physically and mentally, which is usually down to a lack of iron. Iron is obviously a major component in red meat, so us vegetarians need to find it in other places. Beans, dark green veggies and dried fruit are packed full of iron, so keep something like dried apricots on you throughout the day and you’ll conquer the world.
Have some easy freezer meals ready also for those lazy weekdays. Veggie bean burgers are great for whipping up with some sweet potato wedges. Perfect for a Wednesday when I’m feeling tired and just want a quick and easy meal. Veggie chilli is also something that you can make in batches and place in the freezer to reheat whenever you can.
INSPIRATION IS EVERYWHERE.
Gone are the days when the world would not accommodate anyone who wasn’t a carnivore. Meal inspiration is out there for you all to explore. Make a note of any dishes you see when you’re out and about- such as your favourite brunch places/ restaurants. Pinterest is also a hotbed for meal ideas. There are so many cookbooks out there (a few I mentioned above) that will help you out on your journey. Honestly, meals don’t have to just be just a plate full of vegetables. There’s a world of opportunities out there.
DRINK PLENTY OF WATER.
I didn’t realise that cutting out meat would make me feel so hungry. And not painful hungry but like I could do with an extra meal hungry. Sometimes we feel hungry cause we’re dehydrated, so I found myself drinking more water than I have before. And not because I was dehydrated, but it helps suppress my appetite. That way I could have a drink of water and if I was still feeling hungry in 20 minutes time- then I knew I needed food. Most times, I’m perfectly fine with the water, that’s filled the void.
SAY HELLO TO YOUR SPICE CUPBOARD.
Vegetables are nice but most are lacking in flavour. Your spice cupboard is going to be your new best friend if you choose to be vegetarian. Flavour is everything, the more interesting it is, the more you’re going to stick on this path. The minute it feels and tastes bland, you’re going to fall off the wagon. Flavour your veggies with spice or herbs and you’ll be on to a winning meal.
TRY ONE NEW RECIPE A WEEK.
Be adventurous with your cooking. Vegetarian or not, it can be easy to get stuck in a rut. Try something new each and every week. Even if you decide to have that new recipe on your weekly roster, just keep mixing it up. As I said above, if it becomes samely and bland, you’re not going to stay on the bandwagon of vegetarian for long. Aim for a day that you can give time to cooking, a weekend/ day off is the best time to do this. It means you can give it your heart and really put in the effort.
Have you decided to go vegetarian? What are your tips for being a vegetarian?