Once a month my work caters in lunch. Since I stopped eating meat the amount of choices I have at these lunches have dwindled down, sometimes to nothing. Not wanting to sound as insufferable as I am, I only casually mentioned something about there not being any meatless options to our HR department.
It ended up being a bigger deal than it was (I could always just bring my lunch on those days), but they did try to accommodate me. Instead of being able to enjoy my garden vegetable soup though, I was racked with feelings of guilt. I had, in a sense, forced their hand into what they were going to be serving for lunch, and I felt awful about it. Later, when someone from our HR department mentioned to me that I could take what was left of the soup (and she was sure to mention that there was A LOT left), I felt even worse.
These feelings of guilt aren’t just limited to work. My mother-in-law has been trying, sometimes desperately, to make me something that I can eat that constitutes as an actual meal. Every time we go there for dinner I tell her not to worry about it and that I can figure something out on my own, but she tries anyway. This makes me feel bad. I feel bad that she has to make multiple meals and that she has to deal with my insufferable ways.
However, I got to thinking about my feelings of guilt, and I realized that there’s nothing to feel guilty about. I’ve chosen a lifestyle that is different from most of those around me, and I’m ok with that. I will gladly pack my own lunch, and even my own dinner, but people are choosing to be accommodating. So I will let them continue with their efforts, but I will also continue to tell them that they need not feel obligated to feed me. If they choose to make me something anyway, I will try my hardest not to feel guilty about being difficult.
Since I was in middle school I’ve had a soy allergy. When I was younger it was more serious – I couldn’t eat anything with soy in it, not even frozen dinners (they use soy protein in most frozen foods). In the last few years my allergy has gotten less serious and I think it is time that I tried tofu. I never had a reason to submit myself to this allergy test before, but now that I don’t eat meat it’s the perfect time to try it out.
Tonight I am going to make broiled tofu with a side of quinoa and another as yet to be determined veggie dish. The hope is that I don’t keel over and that the dish tastes good, of course. If the tofu turns out good, I will post the recipe here. Here’s to trying new things!
Super Bowl Sunday is a holiday in my house. We plan out entire day around the game including our meals. In the past, our Super Bowl fare consisted of meat-heavy offerings including, but not limited to: Lil’ Smokies, bacon wrapped Lil’ Smokies, chicken wings, chili cheese dip, beef tacos, beef chili, and several other meat-centric dishes.
Much like cutting back on carbs, revamping my Super Bowl menu will also be a challenge. I think the key to having a successful vegetarian Super Bowl menu will be creating new dishes, not just trying to recreate meatless versions of the old ones. The problem with trying to recreate meat dishes without the meat is that people will always compare them to the meat version, which just sets them up for potential disappointment. If I can serve dishes that people haven’t tried before they won’t have anything to compare them to. Also, keeping it simple is important. Here is what I’ve come up with so far:
Homemade Hummus w/Homemade Pita Chips
Tomato Queso Dip w/Tortilla Chips
Swiss Cheese Dip w/Toasted Baguette
As yet to be determined Tofu Dish
Buffalo and Blue Cheese Black Bean Sliders
I don’t currently have anything in mind for dessert, as I’m not really a dessert person, but I’m sure with the crowd I’m going to be with I will need to think up something for finishing the meal off (that doesn’t include alcohol).
Throughout the week I will probably update this menu and I will also post the recipes for as many of these dishes as I can. Many of these recipes are quick and easy so it helps keep game day prep simple, which helps keep the stress level down for the host/hostess. If you have other ideas for dishes to serve on game day please leave a comment.
After a week of trying to cut back on the carbs, I found that the challenge is not all that easy. After a couple of days of trying to cut down on the carbs I realized that just watching my carb intake was not going to get me very far. So instead of counting carbs I began counting calories. In the process of counting calories I noticed that my carb intake lessened anyway since many carbohydrate-heavy foods are also high in calories.
For my height and weight (5′ 4 1/2″, 135 lbs) I can consume 1635 calories daily to maintain my current weight. If I want to lose weight I have to take it down to 1380 and if I want to aggressively lose weight I have to cut it down to 1038. While 1038 is a bit extreme, 1380 is manageable. By making that calorie count my goal, I found that my carb intake went down accordingly.
I found a few recipes over the course of the week that made it easier for me to cut out the carbs/calories including some extremely versatile bean balls that can be used in spaghetti or eaten on their own with a variety of dips. I will post my final bean ball recipe tomorrow so you all can try it out for yourselves.
I first noticed that my carb intake was at addict-level highs when several people in my life started calorie counting. I have always known that I eat an inordinate amount of carbohydrates, however, it never occurred to me just how many carbs I consume on a daily basis. Even before I became a vegetarian my diet was full of carbs, but since I stopped eating meat my intake has reached an epic level. It was when my friend asked me to look at how many calories were in the pumpernickel roll (300!) we were using for our sandwiches that it dawned on me how necessary it was for me to cut back on the carbs. If I kept up my carb consumption I was going to weigh 200 lbs by the time the year was over!
From tortillas to potatoes, I do not discriminate when it comes to carb-heavy foods – I love them all. But carbs are full of calories:
- White Flour Tortillas = 120
- Slice of Wheat Bread = 70
- Pumpernickel Hoagie Roll = 300
- 1 Serving of Mashed Potatoes = 174
When your diet consists mainly of hummus sandwiches and veggie burritos, the calories can add up quickly. So how do I combat this issue? In order to fight back against the attacking carbs, I’m going to challenge myself to eat less than 400 calories of carbs for the next week. The benefits are two-fold: 1) I cut back on calories and possibly lose a bit of weight and 2) I expand my vegetarian menu to include some new dishes. At the end of the week I will share any good recipes I come across during this challenge.