Daily Archives: March 4, 2010

Recovering Vegetarian

I’m not gonna lie. I’m so not feeling it today. And by “it,” I mean everything. Ever have those days where nothing seems to please you? I’m starting to feel the stress with work + personal training certification + big move in June. Not to mention, I’m going home tomorrow and I just want to be there already!!!

At least I took a well-deserved rest day today. Okay, all rest days are well-deserved ;) But it also meant I got to eat breakfast in bed and not at my desk! I gave cream of wheat another go, this time on the stove-top.

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  • 1/3 cup cream of wheat
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup egg whites (whisked in while cooking)
  • cinnamon, stevia, vanilla extract
  • cashew butter
  • Unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Drizzle maple syrup

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Much better!! First, this was a giant serving. It puffed up huge!!! The texture is a lot like oat bran, very fine, but even creamier. I also found it to be lighter, and milder tasting. Thumbs up though!! Bummer on the fibre, but plus on the iron content ;)

Work was busybusy again. Lots more meetings spent filling up my calendar with projects. Came home to a delicious dinner.

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I sautéed onions, bell pepper, spinach, garlic and mushrooms in butter, while nuking a spaghetti squash for about 10 minutes. Once the squash was cooked, I scraped out the insides and added it to the pan with smoked salmon.

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For the sauce, I mushed up cottage cheese and laughing cow cheese, adding a little nutmeg, garlic powder and pepper. Then I added it to the pan just to heat it up. Deeeeeelish!!! Tasted just like an alfredo :)

 

“Recovering Vegetarian”

This is what I call myself these days. Last weekend, I tweeted that I was nervous to watch Food Inc. as a “recovering vegetarian.” Heather tweeted back wondering what I meant by the term, and mentioned it would be a good idea for a post. Duly noted!!

So tonight I will talk about how I went from eating veggie burgers on my birthday

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To beef burgers at my cottage

I should perhaps start at the beginning. When I was in the sixth grade, my family had an exchange student from New Zealand live with us for four months. She was a vegetarian, and my parents, sisters and I were not. So my lovely mother accommodated her diet. Our dinners became mostly vegetarian, and my mother became a very good vegetarian cook. It was a style of eating I was introduced to at a young age and really liked!

In the years that followed, my family ate more and more vegetarian type foods. My mom made delicious veggie chili, lasagna, hummus, vegepate, to name a few. I was also becoming less enthralled with the idea of eating dead things. Finally, when I was 14, I gave up meat for good.  Anyone ever see that Simpsons episode where Lisa becomes a vegetarian? She’s eating lamb chops when a cute little lamb appears and says “Liiiss-a-a-a don’t e-e-eat mee-e-e…”

Well that was me. Except my moment involved a ham sandwich and a cute little pig. At that point, I gave up eating all meat because it grossed me out. Plain and simple. The thought of picking dead bits of animal out of my teeth made me shudder.

Because I was so young when I stopped eating meat, I don’t think I went about it in the best manner. Too many carbs, not enough protein, not enough nutrients, and an overall feeling of lethargy.

I should mention there was also a brief period when I was 19 where I tried a strict vegan diet. This included no regular salts or sugars in case they went through an animal charcoal filter. It was a bleak month. I got the flu after four weeks, and when I could finally stomach food again, all I wanted was a cheesy fried-egg sandwich. To this day, that sandwich is one of the best I’ve ever had.

As I grew up more, I learned more about the local meat industry. I became more used to the idea of killing, cooking, and eating dead animals. I eventually decided that I was ready for fish again. Namely, fish and chips. After six years, I forayed into the world of meat once again.

 
Greasy and absolutely delicious. The texture was weird, but it was just like I remembered from childhood.

For the next two years, I was a happy pescetarian. I still ate a mostly vegetarian diet, with the odd tuna sandwich, salmon filet, or trip to William’s Seafood for the above fish n’ chips ;) However, it was during this period that my weight started to increase. By the time I hit 22, I was at an all-time high weight, and I was ready to drop it. I delved into nutrition research and started picking apart the food I was eating. My diet was way too carb heavy, and the measly 5g of protein I got from peanut butter in one meal was nowhere near what my body needed.

During this period I also started weeding out processed foods. I relied too heavily on things like soy slices, fake ground meat, veggie burgers, facon bacon, etc. I was suddenly an active person, and I wanted to fuel that activity with quality food. Not sodium-filled slabs of soy with ingredients I couldn’t pronounce.

Thanksgiving 2008, eight years after I’d given up meat, I chose to eat the turkey. It was good. Real good. Again, the food immediately brought me back to my childhood, and I realized how much I missed it. With the elimination of multiple soy products a day, and the introduction of occasional white meat, my body immediately started to feel better. I’ll never forget the second time I had grilled chicken. It was like a jolt of energy through my veins.

For a long time, I planned on just eating fish and poultry. But in Summer 2009, my food curiosity got the best of me. Now that I’d crossed the “gross out” barrier, I wanted to open myself up to all foods again.

And that includes my mom’s meat pie.

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So that’s how I went from a veggie to a meat lover!! Mind you, I still cook a lot of vegetarian-type meals. I often rely on tofu, soy, beans, lentils, dairy and eggs for my protein. But adding quality meat products to those things has only improved my body functioning. I recognize this is not the story for everyone, but that’s why the man upstairs made us all different ;) I’ve finally come to peace with the idea that I’m eating cute little piggies and cows. And I thank every single one of them for giving their life for my health :)

But pleeeeeease don’t talk about eggs. I don’t want to know what’s in there. *puts fingers in ears* lalalalalala.

 

Question of the Day: How about you? Meat? No Meat? Vegan? Raw? Carnivore? Omnivore? Idontgiveacrapvore?

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