It’s been merely 7 months since I made the decision to go vegetarian. I feel as though my life has changed dramatically and that suddenly my entire existence revolves around food, health and cooking new meals as often as possible. Reflecting on what I’ve done and who I’ve become recently led me to ponder the highlights (and low lights) that I’ve experienced thus far in my vegetarian life.
- Being vegetarian does NOT make you a tree-hugging granola eating hippie. Yes, I like trees and yes I like granola, but I hate the stereotype of people assuming I’m some weirdo because I choose to not eat dead animal carcass. I’ve met so many people from so many different backgrounds since adopting this lifestyle and I love finding that common ground and sharing that passion for meat-free food.
- In that same note, it’s been really easy to make friends with the same eating habits (I’m talking to you Arikka!). In that same note, it’s been really hard to KEEP friends who don’t share the same eating habits. Sounds ridiculous, but many relationships in my life have dwindled down to nothing but miscommunication since I’ve removed the chicken and salmon from my dinner plate. Sad, but true.
- I don’t know what addictive ingredients they put in cheese, but I think it’s nearly impossible for me to fully convert to veganism, due to my weakness for all things mozzarella and brie inspired. Butter, eggs and milk I can easily do without, but cheese…cheese has got some unworldly hold on me.
- I’ve become somewhat of a food snob since transitioning into this eating style. I will generally never touch a fruit or vegetable now that is not organic. I will not consume anything frozen (aside from organic edamame, organic corn and organic peas..and some old vodka that’s been left in my freezer- NOT organic). I refuse to eat anything assembled with white flour or white sugar. I even try to buy organic beer when applicable (Peak Organic is amazing). I’m that annoying person who peruses the farmer’s market interrogating friendly farmer’s about their pesticide use and soil quality. I will pay $7 a pint for organic strawberries because conventional is just completely unacceptable. Is this a good aspect or a bad? Most people will probably snicker at my manic food inspection, but it’s something I’d say I’m proud of.
- 5 things I’ve learned I simply cannot live without when it comes to basic cooking essentials. A good quality extra virgin olive oil, garlic, cayenne pepper, lemon and Himalayan pink sea salt. All organic of course, in case you forgot.
- Sickness, stomach issues and other health related problems quickly disappear once you remove two things from your diet- meat and sugar. That’s all it takes, I swear. I used to get an upset stomach almost EVERY time I ate until I went vegetarian. I was constantly battling the flu, a cold or some other immune system failure when I was eating like crap and changing my diet was all it took to reverse it.
- I have an addictive personality, and being part of the vegetarian community itself is somewhat of an obsession for me. I am constantly researching healthy recipes, checking organic, health or cooking blogs and literally stay up at night mapping out my grocery list and meals for the week. The last 4 books I’ve read were “The Higher Taste: A Guide to Gourmet Vegetarian Cooking and a Karma Free Diet“, “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle“, “Becoming Raw ” and “Organic, Inc.”. I think that sums up my current mentality pretty well.
- I don’t care what you heard…being vegetarian OR organic is not substantially more expensive than eating conventionally or consuming meat. I promise. Oh, and I definetely think Trader Joe’s is WAY more economical than Whole Foods. The quality at WF is sometimes better, but more often than not, I prefer good old TJ’s (plus, they have alcohol and WF doesn’t).
Browsing through all the yummy recipes I’ve come up with over the past 8 months, compels me to break down some of the best and worst of my vegetarian cooking efforts:
SURPRISINGLY DELICIOUS DISH
Vegan Mac & Cheese