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What I Noticed While Eating Vegetarian

November 2, 2010

There have been times in the past where I’ve turned part-time carnivore. Months I Veg-out, and stay meat-free for 31 days.  But this time was different; I noticed.  After logging my eats for over a week at the begging of October, I noticed that I was already eating a vegetarian diet.  I decided to run with it, and declared it the month of Vegtober.

5 Things I Noticed While Eating Vegetarian

 1. I noticed that Non-vegetarian bloggers make just as tasty vegetarian recipes as the vegan/vegetarian ones do.  I know where to go if I want to find a vegan/vegetarian substitution for just about any dish I can dream of, but I was especially happy to find my favorite vegetarian recipe I made this month on Rhodey Girl Tests.  I seriously cannot speak highly enough of Sabrina’s Mushroom Lentil Burgers, which I topped with hummus and greens on an Arnold’s thin.

2. I noticed that just about anything tastes better with a runny egg on top. I added sunny side up eggs to my Mac & Long Island Cheese Squash, to a bowl of roasted sweet potato, to a piece of veggie pizza, to a barbeque and cheddar toasted sandwich, and a mug of savory oats. 

3. After shifting my train of thought, I noticed that it wasn’t difficult to order when meeting friends for lunch or dinner.  I didn’t feel like I had to stick to the salads, and got creative in my ordering.  When the vegetarian options don’t sound appealing, it’s okay to customize another item on the menu by simply subbing the meat for something else.  This past weekend I had an amazing tomato, avocado, cheese and sundried tomato pesto sandwich by simply asking to hold the turkey.

4. Refusing to take no for an answer to my cravings, I noticed that it was fun to get extra creative in the kitchen.  When all I could think about was BBQ chicken tacos, I decided to give other ingredients a try, tossing some cubed orange zucchini and kidney beans in a skillet, bathing in a sweet honey sauce, and topping with broccoli slaw in tortilla shells.

5. Fitness wise, I noticed that not eating meat did not negatively affect my performance.  Vegtober 2010 was the first time I really paid attention to how my choice of food was fueling my workouts.  I did not track nutrients or protein or number of produce servings, but I did try to make sure I was getting some sort of protein at every meal, and occasionally counted my calories in and calories out to assure I was fueling enough as my distances increased in training for the 15K.  Throughout my October work outs, I never felt under fueled or craved meat.  I never felt like I needed MORE to perform BETTER, and in fact, I surprised myself throughout my training by how quickly I was running completing my PDRs, and “easy runs.”  I felt well energized, and didn’t have any muscle aches or shin splints. 

I’m not saying, or assuming, that my month of vegetarianism lent its hand to my strong training, but I’m also not saying it didn’t.  I think, for me at this point in my journey, it’s more important to me that leaving meat out of my diet didn’t negatively affect me.  I am reading No Meat Athlete’s The Vegetarian Endurance Advantage: The Essentials of Plant-Based Training (which you can sign up to receive for free on his blog) because I’m interested in learning more about the benefits of a no-meat diet.

Do you have any questions about my vegetarian month experience?  Do you eat meat in your diet?  If so, do you ever consider giving it up? Why/why not?  If you avoid meat products, what is your reasoning?

14 Comments leave one →
  1. November 2, 2010 1:17 pm

    Hi Heather. Like you, I lived the 31-days of Tofuber (what you call Vegtober) as a vegetarian. My wife and I did it in celebration of World Vegetarian Awareness Month. Similarly to your experience, we evaluated our dining preferences and realized that we tended to naturally choose vegetarian (almost always choosing tofu when available).

    I found reading your blog somewhat eerie. It was like I was reading something I’d written, only more eloquent. Anyhow… Just wanted to say “Thanks!” Love your blog and know that the world is reading. 🙂


  2. November 2, 2010 2:29 pm

    So glad Vegtober was a positive experience for you!!

    I try to eat a vegetarian diet 95% of the time but sometimes I just get bored or tired. Thanks for reminding me that I just need to be a little more creative and utilize some of the great resources out there for recipes and menu ideas. I’m excited to try the Mushroom Lentil Burgers recipe! Thanks for sharing!

  3. November 2, 2010 2:39 pm

    Thanks for the shout out!!!!!!!!!!!

    I am SO happy you enjoy that recipe! My husband just recently begged that I make them again… time to get cooking!

  4. November 2, 2010 3:24 pm

    So glad the month of vegetarianism went well. I always feel like being a vegetarian would be restrictive until I look at what I eat naturally. I mostly gravitate to vegetarian meals anyway! Now, being vegan is another story. My life might end if I had to give up cheese.

    • November 2, 2010 3:25 pm

      I hear you! As a wisconsin girl, I don’t know if I could ever give up cheese on purpose.

  5. November 2, 2010 4:37 pm

    I’ve been a vegetarian for 21 years (since I was 6!). I was recently told by a doctor that I MUST start eating meat again. Ummmm…what? I got a second opinion. The other doctor said that as long as I feel okay, I don’t have to eat meat. I am now trying a new protein powder with hopes that it will help whatever is wrong with me. I cannot imagine eating meat ever again!

  6. November 2, 2010 5:56 pm

    I would love to be veggie- but my body would hate me after a month of no meat and I would have no friends…

  7. ShugarDAD permalink
    November 2, 2010 8:07 pm

    i don’t photo my food, but I love a sprout and poached egg sammich on ciabetta bread. dont forget the spinach dip spread. yum

  8. November 2, 2010 8:12 pm

    Interesting post! I eat vegetarian most of the time, and am actually trying to eat more meat (humanely) again. I liked reading about your experience.

  9. November 3, 2010 7:13 am

    Going veg definitely wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. It started as Vegetarian February, and I was concerned I wasn’t going to be able to make it through the month, but now I’ve almost made it a year!

    Thanks for our veg-friendly dinner last night. 🙂

  10. November 3, 2010 9:03 pm

    Thanks for sharing this. I haven’t done a full on vegetarian diet, but do go meat free quite often. I agree with a lot of those. It definitely opens creativity.

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