Friday, May 24, 2013

Holy Cow!

I live in a rural area in the Midwest and have a cattle farm on two sides of my home.  I live with a man who loves meat.  Yet, recently, I decided to dabble in a vegetarian lifestyle.  Let me explain.  I love documentaries.  Last week before we left for Illinois, I watched, "Vegeducated."  This is a film about 6 adults who adopted a vegetarian lifestyle for a few weeks.  The film showed how animal confinement operations work and how animals raised for meat are treated by these big operations.  In spite of the fact that I have been raised around farms, the footage made me sick.  This was not the peaceful rural hillsides of rural America where cattle graze and chickens wander.
This movie got me thinking about trying a vegetarian diet.  In the past year Randy and I have drastically changed our eating habits.  This is mostly out of necessity, since he has been having lots of stomach problems as a result of his recovery from salmonella.  We have discovered lots of new vegetables and have tried new ways of preparing old standards.  Growing up we always had vegetables, primarily canned green beans, tomatoes and corn.  Pretty standard for middle income, Midwest people.  For 33 years I have prepared meals based around this plate:  meat, carb, vegetable.  However, recently, it has been less meat, rarely a carb and at least two vegetables.  A funny thing has happened to us lately, we now plan our meals around the vegetables we have.  Our refrigerator is stocked with kale, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and squash.  When we eat out, we scan the menu for vegetables.  For lunch today we ate at Wendy's and both had a baked potato with broccoli instead of fries.  It was delicious!  This may not seem odd to you, but it is quite a bit different diet than we used to eat.
So, back to my attempt at vegetarianism.  We left for Illinois on a Saturday morning and stopped at Hannibal, Mo for lunch.  The restaurant was called Fiddlestick and offered a wide menu, similar to an Applebee's.  They had a large selection of salads and sandwiches, non of which were free of meat.  I settled on a pasta meal with steamed vegetables.  It was incredibly good.  Steaming hot and perfectly cooked broccoli, carrots and cauliflower on top.  This is going to be easy, I thought.
We arrived in Springfield and after some shopping and relaxing, we decided to eat at Cheddars.  I knew that I would order their vegetable platter, which I enjoy even when I am not reducing my meat consumption.  The next morning for breakfast we had a bagel at a local bakery.  I was feeling really great and had not missed meat at all.  The morning was spent at the Lincoln Museum, which (handy for me) had a Subway within it's walls.  I convinced Randy to eat there, even though he does not like Subway, so I could have a veggie sandwich.  The rest of the afternoon was spent touring the Lincoln home and other area attractions.  That evening we headed to a Cracker Barrel.  I had enjoyed the vegetable platter there before and decided that would be my choice.   I asked for the pinto beans, broccoli and salad, without bacon bits.  When my food arrived, the beans had some kind of sausage in them (which I am pretty sure was not mentioned on the menu) and the salad was covered with tiny bacon bits.  In stead of sending these back I just picked the meat out and ate the food.  The waitress apologized and ended up comping my dessert (blackberry cobbler, my favorite!).
On the way back home, I began to wonder what restaurants I could visit in our local community and stay meat free.  Our chain restaurants are a Hardees (no meat substitutes there), Pizza Hut, McDonalds, KFC, Taco Bell and Subway.  A few local favorites have salads, but no vegetarian main meals.  We eat out one to two times a week, so keeping meatless seemed like it would require a major lifestyle change.
I began to read some about being a vegetarian, and happened to see a facebook post about flexitarianism.  This is a made up word (I think) and means to enjoy meat and other animal products in moderation and increase the consumption of plant based foods.  This idea seems so sensible to me, I decided to adopt it as my new eating guide.  I will continue to enjoy meat, on a smaller scale and keep my lifestyle intact.  Randy is fairly relieved that I decided to keep some meat in my life, as he enjoys meat, even though his body won't let him eat as much as he would like.
I have always considered myself fairly moderate, so this is not much of a stretch for me.  My little meatless weekend was enjoyable and proved to me that I can modify my diet with little or no suffering. 
Please share any vegetarian or vegetable based recipe you enjoy.  I am branching out!!

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed reading this post! I can relate in many ways since I was raised on a farm surrounded by those Midwest cattle! Good luck with your adventure in eating more vegetables!! Kuddos to you!