|Veggie Breakfast Bowl at Early Girl Eatery in Asheville, NC|
BECOMING A FAUX VEGETARIAN
A month ago, I mentioned that I was going to spend the month of August meatless as an attempt to take the vegetarian lifestyle for a test drive. Today is September 5, you probably already knew that (but you're welcome for the extra reminder), which marks 31 days of being meat-free.
Well, on August 4, just four days into my faux veggie trek I slipped up and chowed down on a delicious pork chop cooked and prepared for us by one of Casey's good friends, Nick Weisheipl (thanks, Nick and Megan!). They had us over to their beautiful home near Philadelphia, prepared a scrumptious dinner for us and I wasn't about to be rude and turn it down. It was extremely tasty and I am happy with my decision. So, I restarted the 31-day countdown on August 5.
I am so glad I set forth to achieve this goal (when setting a running goal isn't an option, I must look for other outlets to challenge myself) and I am so happy that I have started educating myself more about what is going into our food in the United States, specifically our meat.
I've learned so much throughout this process....
-Judgement: People are quick to judge a vegetarian or a vegan. You're quickly labeled uptight, considered boring, granola or even an elitist. Look, I love nachos, pulled pork and anything slathered in BBQ, but the business/agricultural practices going on in our country are very real. I don't judge someone for eating meat, so don't judge me for going sans meat. I couldn't believe how many people took offense to this, as if me not eating meat affected them in some way. My decisions effect me, not you. So, what gives? I gained a lot of respect for the discipline vegetarians and vegans must have and the strength they possess to allow comments to just trickle down their back and stay true to themselves and their beliefs.
-Picky Eater: Becoming a vegetarian made me realize how much of a picky eater I am. I knew I was overly picky as a kid but I thought I had blossomed and grown out of that, yet without fail I always order the same items over and over again at restaurants, i.e. chicken ceasar salad or pulled pork sandwich. Going vegetarian forced me to actually browse the menu and try new things. For example, we were in vegetarian/vegan heaven, Asheville, NC and I would have never had the veggie breakfast bowl (black-eyed peas, spinach, scrambled eggs, and farmstead cheese smothered in herb cream gravy) at Early Girl Eatery if it weren't for sticking to this goal (by the way, it was delicious!). Instead, I probably would have opted for the local sausage and sweet potato scramble (yum).
-Carnivore Jenny: Throughout this process, I realized just how much I consume meat. I never realized it, but I eat animals, albeit chicken, turkey, pigs, cows, you name it, on a daily basis and sometimes more than once a day. EVERY DAY. Whoa.
-Skin Care: Some people claim to have more energy when becoming a vegetarian, I haven't necessarily noticed a difference in energy levels (I have a hard time sitting still to begin with), but I have noticed a difference in my skin. I mean a massive difference. However, I can't completely relate eliminating meat to my clearer skin because in the past two weeks I have also cut out wearing makeup altogether by only sporting mascara and using coconut oil as moisturizer.
-Next Step: I've had a lot of questions if I'm going to keep up the "streak" of no meat and ya know what? I think I am. I feel like it's just the tip of the iceberg and I'm looking forward to discovering more new foods and learning more about how to make vegetables more appetizing. However, if I'm having an intense craving for beef or chicken nachos from one of my favorite establishments (Busch Stadium, Vines on Clark, Margaritaville, etc.) then I'm going to have some. What this has taught me is that if I do go back to eating meat, I will limit my consumption and won't go back to eating little piggies on the reg. Thus far, becoming a vegetarian has not only been a healthier decision for ME personally, but it is also happens to be more sustainable for the environment--an added bonus. :)
I encourage everyone to try becoming a vegetarian for a month just to learn more about yourself, your eating habits and to continue to practice self-discipline. Then you can come back here and tell me all about it (positives and negatives). If that's not your cup of tea then I encourage you to set some kind of goal to accomplish and share it with others.
If you follow me on Instagram, then you're probably up-to-date on every facet of my life. Yeah, sorry about that. And if you follow me on any of said social media outlets, you probably are sick of hearing about my knee and how much I miss running. So, I'll keep this short (or at least try to).
Today, I FINALLY received a cortisone shot. I'm hoping, wishing and praying that this is the answer to the problems I've been having in regards to bending my knee (which effects running, biking, squatting or just getting out of the shower). If it's not the solution, my next option may lead to surgery or a second opinion.
All I know, is that I miss running. I miss racing. I crave it daily and cannot wait to feel like myself again. There will definitely be tears shed the next time I cross a finish line. I will ease back into running (when I can), SLOWLY, cross train regularly, strength train, focus on my core, stretch and cringe during ice baths. I promise to do it all RIGHT and to LISTEN to my body better....hear that Knee Gods?
I'm on a two-week break from our current tour so I'll be catching up on the blog (famous last words) and catching up on some new reads:
By: Howard F. Lyman with Glen Merzer
By: Chrissie Wellington
(I know I'm late to this party, but I'm looking forward to sticking my nose in this)
An Investigation into the World's Most Controversial Company
By: Marie-Monique Robin
(This was an unexpected purchase and an impulse buy at the book store. I thought it would be an interesting read as I try to learn more about how our food is being produced and because Monsanto is right here in our backyard in St. Louis. Apparently, this has also been produced as a documentary)
I'll have to keep you posted on how they all pan out.
What are you reading? Any recommendations?
And in the TBT spirit, I'll leave you with THIS. If you know me, you know I'm obsessed with frozen custard, fro-yo and ice cream (served separately or together, I love them all). Something's just never change.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR GOALS?
COULD YOU GIVE UP MEAT FOR A MONTH? BETTER YET, WHAT COULD YOU NEVER LIVE WITHOUT?
ARE YOU VEGETARIAN OR A VEGAN? ANY GREAT RECIPES?
ARE YOU IN ON THROWBACK THURSDAY OR DO YOU REFUSE TO RELIVE THOSE CHILDHOOD MEMORIES?
I'm new to TBT and won't be sharing weekly, especially because I wasn't a cute kid, but it's kind of fun digging up old photos while I'm home.
Stay tuned for posts on Italy, Philly, Boston, Asheville and Charleston...