*******Update on 8/29/2008*********
It has been about 5 days now and I have not lost my desire to eat meat. I saw a billboard for a steakhouse last night and I told Trey that the steak looked really good. It was a challenge to find something to eat at the Cowboys game last night (I really wanted a hot dog but I settled for nachos). By the way, Trey has also decided to support me by giving up red meat and just eating chicken, turkey or fish these next few weeks. Thanks for your comments and support! Steph
I bought a vegan cookie, a bag of goldfish crackers, and a bottle of water for Sophia and me to share before we got on the plane back to Dallas a few weeks ago. I know this is not the most nutritious meal but after missing the exit to the airport on the highway and getting through security with her car seat, a backpack and a two year old - we only had five minutes before we boarded the plane home and the Hudson News in the Lexington, KY airport was our only option.
I normally would not buy a huge cookie for Sophia (this one was 4 inches in diameter), but the label caught my attention as we were standing at the register. It was a brand of cookie that I had been trying to remember the name of for several years. When I lived in Lafayette, LA, I would buy vegan cookies at Smoothie King. After we moved to Dallas, I looked for the cookies in several stores but could not find them or remember the brand name. Alternative Baking Company. I saved the wrapper so I could look it up when I got home.
When I checked out their website, my main intention was to find some store locations in Dallas so I could buy more cookies. I eventually had to call the company for store locations, but I did click on several links on their website that contained information about vegan and vegetarian lifestyles (definitions below).
Vegetarian – Eats a diet of grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables, and fruits with or without the use of dairy products and eggs and does not eat meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish or crustaceans.
Vegan – Does not eat dairy, eggs, or ANY other animal product
A few months ago, I started making small changes in my lifestyle to have a more positive impact on the environment. Basically, I was “Going Green”. Trey has been supportive to a certain point, but he HATES the fact that I bought re-usable shopping bags to take to the grocery store. (Seriously, Trisha can back me up on this. He was appalled when I handed him the bags and asked him to buy them at the store). In addition to changes we have made in our home, I have also considered making changes in our diet. This would consist of substituting a few meals a week with “meat free” options for the environmental and health benefits. After reading the information on these websites, I am encouraged to take action. I am going to change my diet.
I know it is not going to be easy. I have been a meat eater my entire life. I enjoy the taste of burgers, steak, chicken, ham, bacon, etc. I did consider becoming a vegetarian in college but my cash-poor college student status was the main reason instead of a conscious choice to change my eating habits. Basically, I can’t say that my views about eating meat have changed overnight but they are evolving.
Mainly, I am curious and interested in learning more about eating meat-free. Would my health improve with a vegetarian diet? Would I be contributing to a healthier environment? How hard would it be cut meat out of my diet or follow a completely plant based lifestyle? Will I be able to eat out at a restaurant? Will I go crave a good steak or a piece of bacon? How long can I stick to this severe dietary change?
I have decided that I am up for the challenge. After much consideration, I am going to follow a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet. This means that I can eat vegetables, fruits, grains, eggs, and dairy products. So basically anything except actual meat, chicken or fish. I am going to follow this diet for 21 days and keep track of the changes I see in my health. I am not asking anyone else to make this change or try to argue my point of view – this is a personal and individual decision I have made to eat meat-free. In case you were wondering, I am still feeding Trey and Sophia chicken, fish, sausage, and ground beef. However, I have learned that Sophia likes roasted red pepper hummus with her veggie sticks (I guess she thinks it looks like french fries and ketchup)!
As I am writing this, I am on day four of my 21 days. So far I have noticed that it just takes some planning (especially for lunch) but I am eating more fresh fruit and vegetables so far. I also found a new vegetarian restaurant that just opened near our house that will give me some new options to try over the next few weeks. But I still think a big, juicy steak sounds delicious!