Ten Days Into My Food Experiment

January 27, 2010 at 3:05pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Back on Sunday, January 17 I began a new food experiment. I decided to go vegetarian. I had been cutting back on meat for a couple months. Why not just go whole hog, so to speak?

I quickly—as in, within hours—realized that full vegetarianism was a stupid idea. It was a completely unsustainable goal. I might make it two weeks, tops. But long term? Not a chance. I love meat loaf and Buffalo wings and ham balls and jalapeno cheddar brats. If my goal were a temporary experiment then full vegetarianism might be ok. But I was after something more lasting, a true lifestyle adjustment. So I modified my plan: I would eat meat no more than three times per week. The adjusted plan gives me much more flexibility when eating out or eating at my parents’ house, and it takes pressure off The Missus when planning meals at home.

I am now thirty-one meals into my experiment and I’m doing far better than I expected. I have eaten meat just three times so far, for a total of perhaps ten to twelve ounces. Best of all I don’t really seem to miss the meat I’m not eating. I’ve realized that in many cases it’s not the meat in a dish that I crave, but rather the flavors that accompany the meat. Take Buffalo wings, for example. It’s not the wings I crave, but the sauce. Fry up some breaded cauliflower and spin it in Buffalo sauce and I’d be just as happy.

So why did I embark on this experiment? There are a bunch of reasons, actually. A biggie was diet diversification. I grew up hyper-sensitive to bitter flavors and certain textures so my diet evolved to be pretty monotonous. Now that my taste buds have relaxed a bit I can safely explore all sorts of new foods. (I love broccoli now. Whodathunkit?) There’s also an ecological component to my decision. Animal agriculture is not exactly Mother Nature’s best friend. I’m no eco-freak—not by a long shot—but that doesn’t mean I don’t care about these things. And there is a health angle, of course. As I look around at people just a few years older than me I see a lot of flab. Something magical happens between 30 and 40. I don’t want to go there. That being said, I’m not treating this new diet as a weight loss plan. Which is good, since I have actually put on a pound over the past ten days.

Anyway, I will try to check in now and then with updates. Hopefully at least some of you find my self experimentation interesting. If any of you have tips I’d love to hear them!

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The Comments

Mitchel Haas January 27, 2010 at 5:21pm

From a veg vet of 30+ years, I’m going to guess you’ll never turn back.  My wife (now also vegetarian) and I don’t feel that we ever ‘miss out’ on anything, with all the variety of foods these days.

We like to make the rice-a-roni’s, pasta-roni’s, and even the skillet dinners without adding the beef, chicken or tuna.  And, there’s even plenty of ‘beef alternatives’ out there like boca/veggi burgers, which I’d be willing to bet most meat eaters wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between real meat.

The transition is a fun stage, as you’re discovering not only a different way you feel physically and mentally, and the way you look at the world, but also discovering the new types of vegetarian alternatives that you like best.

The best of luck in your transition!

Blaine January 29, 2010 at 8:32pm

I’m almost two years into a sort of flexi-veganism. Zero meat, and I avoid all other animal proteins with a small amount of cheating on dairy and egg for social/convenience reasons. A goal for 2010 is to cheat even less.

I enjoy food MORE than when I was a hardcore, rarer-than-rare steak eater. Cooking is a great deal more fun and varied as well. Eating out is a little more tricky, but I’m never left with zero options. Waiters and chefs are very accommodating.

Speaking of eating out, McFoster’s in Omaha is superb for veggies/vegans/organics. Sunday brunch is especially good. Try the spanakopita benedict with tofu scramble. Nom nom nom.

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