I have now been vegetarian for 4 weeks. It has been a lot easier to be vegetarian than I was expecting. I didn’t have any challenges with it until my menstrual cycle came along. I felt even more hungry than usual and tired, craving meat for the iron I was loosing during my cycle. I chose to go have some spinach when I was feeling this way towards the end of my cycle and I seam to be feeling just fine now. I made sauteed spinach with a garlic dill goat cheese melted in. It was so delicious. The dab of goat cheese added to the spinach is a great way to flavor the spinach so that it is not the ‘ick’ taste/feeling that so many people avoid spinach because of. It is a plant that is high in many nutrients, including calcium and iron, making it an excellent food to have regularly.
I have felt like I have gotten enough protein except during that week. I tried to have at least 1 serving of bean a day, eggs every other day, and I also increased my dairy the past two weeks for a touch more protein during and after my menstrual cycle. I wasn’t able to cook beans as much as I wanted to because my crock pot was busy with other things. When I was traveling for a day I was able to go to Whole Foods for lunch and get nicely cooked baked beans with my lovely salad with a blueberry vinaigrette and steamed collards. I rarely have collard greens but they were just what I wanted at the time. I noticed that I have been wanting more greens while not having meat.
My favorite at home meal was a lovely vegetable sandwich with a side of cucumbers. I bought more sprouts this month than I usually do so I could get a touch more beans into my diet. The sandwich had sprouts, carrots, tomatoes with mustard and a touch of ranch dressing. I had intended on putting hummus in my sandwich but what I had made a few days before had gone bad. I was still quite hungry after eating this so I probably could have used the hummus. I used a gluten free millet and chia bread, my new favorite sandwich bread. It is actually really easy to make simple meals at home that are vegetarian and super delicious.
For snacks I delved deeper into making smoothies at home. I made them based with frozen fruit, strawberries and mango, and yogurt. I added some maple syrup for sweetening when I used yogurt that was unsweetened but mostly I used honey sweetened yogurt. After a few tries I started adding some almond milk to smooth the mix out a bit more and make it easier to drink. It was nice that if I made a larger batch I could freeze some and eat it later as a sorbet desert that wasn’t too full with sugar other than naturally sweet fruit.
So will I stay vegetarian? While my body has really enjoyed being vegetarian, feeling slightly lighter, I have felt that there are times that the extra nutrients that are in some meats are helpful at certain times. If I were to continue long term I would need to start taking some vitamins to I get all of the nutrients I have been missing. I will defiantly continue to eat the higher amounts of vegetables, especially with my CSA starting next week. I am lucky that my CSA share also contains locally raised highland cow meat. As for the ethical end of being vegetarian, by having meats from my local Community Supported Agriculture Farm, Sycamore Spring Farm, I know that my meats are being raised very well and if I want to I can go visit the animals whenever I want to. Here is one of their cows. I think they are just beautiful. I think that keeping a balance of foods is what is best for me, the animals, and the planet.
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