I'm half way through an experiment and wanted to let you in on it. For the month of August I've been trying to be a vegetarian. Well, a sort-of vegetarian, because I'm allowing myself to eat fish and dairy. So technically I'm trying to be a lacto-ovo pescatarian. The idea was born from the realization that I was in a cooking/recipe rut and that I wanted healthier (and cheaper) meal options. So far, the month has been pretty good and I'm already past the mid-way hump. It's all downhill from here, right?
Now, I wasn't a big meat eater to start with. Don't get me wrong, I will admit to loving a BBQed hamburger or dish of spaghetti and meatballs. And I don't know if I could turn down a good 'ol turkey dinner. But I don't eat pork much and don't remember the last time I had a steak. My weekly meals usually panned out to include at least two days without meat at all anyway. So by putting parameters on myself, such as not eating meat (except fish) I am forced to break habits, shop differently, and try out all sorts of new recipes.
For example, when some friends invited me over for dinner two weeks into my challenge, I had to confess my new dietary restriction. They were troopers, though, and I gorged on homemade Thai food including my first taste of ceviche (it was sole marinated in rice wine vinegar), and my first taste of shrimp in about 10 years (pad thai, yum!). In fact, I had always been iffy on shrimp but I've since had it a few times and figured out how to cook it well. Now I think it's going to appear in my cooking repertoire more often.
I've also experimented more with beans and lentils, made yummy falafel wraps, cooked up a tofu-based stirfry, encouraged my boyfriend to make veggie ground-round chili (which was awesome)...and the month isn't over yet!
I'm learning more about alternative sources of protein, and more about what food (and food combos) out there that I may not have even realized I would enjoy. I've realized that being a vegetarian isn't all about salads and carbs. It's a small thing to cut out meat, but it's turning into an interesting and worthwhile experiment.
My next challenge may be to cut out dairy, gluten, refined sugar, or who knows. I'm going to get through the rest of this month first and I'll let you know how it goes. Now, what's for supper tonight? Salmon, or veggie pizza, or spinach lasagna, or tofu scramble, or.....