Tag Archive for health

Reflections on Eating Vegetarian: A Week in Review

I recently embarked on a crazy jour­ney. My goal was to eat veg­e­tar­ian for one whole week. I was out of town at a pro­fes­sional Sum­mer Sem­i­nar in Rhetoric and Com­po­si­tion at Michi­gan State Uni­ver­sity and was able to eat five days worth of meals at a five-star cafe­te­ria (see this arti­cle for more), and the other two days in air­ports. The food in the cafe­te­ria was espe­cially good. Not what I had in The World Famous Bean at ACU back in the day (over 15 years ago–wow!). The stu­dents donned chef coats and cooked the food right in front of you. Amazing!

Many of you fol­lowed along dur­ing the jour­ney, but if you did not (or if you just want to re-visit some of the pages), you might be inter­ested to see with your eyes the vari­ety of food I ate and the many dif­fer­ent options of eat­ing veg­e­tar­ian. It isn’t all steamed cau­li­flower and roasted pep­pers (although those are good!). The pic­tures are also really pretty! I have included links to each day’s food, includ­ing ver­bal descrip­tions and visual pho­tos of what I ate at break­fast, lunch, and dinner.

Back­ground of Exper­i­ment, Day One, Day Two, Day Three, Day Four, Day Five, Day Six, Day Seven

Phyllo and Zucchini Strudel with Summer Squash Saute

Though short, this jour­ney opened my eyes to a vari­ety of issues about food, eat­ing, meal­time, fel­low­ship, and myself. I share some of these with you in today’s post. Since it’s Tues­day, let’s just make it part of the Tues­day 12 Series.

1. Eat­ing veg­e­tar­ian reduces the num­ber of food options avail­able, which sim­pli­fies the process of order­ing food.

When I go to a restau­rant, I scour the menu look­ing for some­thing to eat. I am not one who orders the same thing each time. I actu­ally order a dif­fer­ent meal each time. Even when I cook at home, I rarely make the same thing twice. I like to cook and eat a vari­ety of foods. Some­times, it takes me at least 15 min­utes to decide on some­thing to eat.

But eat­ing veg­e­tar­ian meant that I was typ­i­cally given two main meal choices along with soup, salad, and veg­gies. I didn’t even look what else was being served. I saw the veg­e­tar­ian options and decided what I wanted. It was so sim­ple. And since I’m try­ing to sim­ply my life and my mantra is becom­ing “less is more,” I think sim­pli­fi­ca­tion is a good thing.

2.    Eat­ing veg­e­tar­ian does not equal healthy eating.

This may not come as a sur­prise to veg­e­tar­i­ans, but I guess it did to me. I assumed that a veg­e­tar­ian diet meant a healthy diet of fruits and veg­eta­bles and legumes. And it does. But it also includes the oh-so-yummy dairy food group of but­ter, cheese, and milk, oils (even healthy ones still are high in fat), and desserts. I do think, though, that eat­ing veg­e­tar­ian means that you can enjoy these foods more often since you aren’t eat­ing high-fat meats and maybe fewer calo­ries. Although I can’t point to any “real” data to back these points up, I can say that I didn’t gain any weight this week–even though I had more dessert than I have had in a very long time.

3.    Meat sub­sti­tutes taste good (at least most of the ones I ate).

The vegan hot dog wasn’t my favorite, but the ground meat sub­sti­tutes and the tofu were both tasty and served their respec­tive pur­poses in the dish.

4.    When you don’t eat meat, peo­ple assume you are a vegetarian.

The peo­ple at the Sem­i­nar assumed I was a veg­e­tar­ian. I never ate any meat, so, of course, I was a veg­e­tar­ian (really, this makes log­i­cal sense). But what’s inter­est­ing is that I never told any­one I was a veg­e­tar­ian. They just inferred, after look­ing at my plate, that I was a veg­e­tar­ian. My suit­e­m­ate, Karen, knew about my “exper­i­ment,” but I didn’t tell any­one else until much later in the week, and only if they asked. I found it really inter­est­ing that after the first or sec­ond day, many of these col­leagues even pointed out veg­e­tar­ian dishes that they thought tasted (or looked) good. They often directed me to a cer­tain sta­tion to make sure I tried one of the veg­e­tar­ian dishes being served there. I found this quite endearing.

I also noticed that the cafe­te­ria staff made assump­tions about me when I ordered the veg­e­tar­ian option from their sta­tion. These assump­tions weren’t bad; I just noticed it, that’s all. Veg­e­tar­i­ans are typ­i­cally a cer­tain type of per­son (more health-conscious, more environmentally-friendly, more lib­eral, etc.). I could tell this in the ques­tions they asked me and in their friendly smiles and eye con­tact. This gen­er­a­tion of col­lege stu­dents (the peo­ple work­ing the food sta­tions) seems very aware of the impact, the dif­fer­ence, one person’s per­sonal choices can have on the larger soci­ety. To me, they seem more socially aware than my gen­er­a­tion, which, I think, is a good shift.

5.    Indi­vid­u­als and restau­rants can be very accom­mo­dat­ing to veg­e­tar­i­ans, veg­ans, gluten-freers, or oth­ers with dietary food requests and restrictions.

Many restau­rants these days are con­scious of the wide vari­ety of eaters com­ing in their doors. Many now have a wide vari­ety of options for all kinds of peo­ple, and the food is quite com­pa­ra­ble. Even when we went over to one person’s house for din­ner (who is not a veg­e­tar­ian or vegan and has no known food aller­gies), she thought in advance and made vegan hot dogs, gluten-free dishes, dairy-free dips, and many other dishes that peo­ple with spe­cialty requests could eat. I find this to be extremely thoughtful.

6.    Eat­ing a veg­e­tar­ian diet can cause mas­sive prob­lems on your intestines.

Not eat­ing meat can con­sti­pate you. It hap­pened to me on Day 2 and lasted until Day 6 (Fri­day). One col­league at the con­fer­ence told me to eat more fruits, so that’s what I did. I don’t know if the relief on Fri­day was the result of eat­ing more fruits or if my body adjusted to a plant-based diet. Either way, I was thankful.

In the same vein, I did notice that bowel move­ments are not the same (If this topic grosses you out, embar­rasses you, or makes you uncom­fort­able, pro­ceed to #7. If you read on, remem­ber that YOU WERE WARNED!).  Instead of the long, S-shaped pieces of poop Dr. Oz once told Oprah were ideal, my poops were shaped like small round pel­lets. This hap­pened the entire week, every time.

One inter­est­ing benefit/side effect of not eat­ing meat is that your poop smells dif­fer­ent; it doesn’t stink quite so bad. I hadn’t really con­sid­ered this point–that not eat­ing meat would impact the smell of my poop–which is odd con­sid­er­ing I have a 9-month baby who doesn’t eat meat yet and whose dia­per does not smell near as bad as it will in a few months when we intro­duce meat into his diet. I’m won­der­ing if this rings true for any veg­e­tar­i­ans out there??

7.    Eat­ing less meat is a really good idea.

Eat­ing less meat can be good for your health, as much research on eat­ing a plant-based diet sug­gests, even if you pri­mar­ily eat low-fat meats. It can also be good for the envi­ron­ment. I’ve heard it can be more cost-effective and cheaper (Have you noticed how expen­sive meat is?). It can make you think more reflec­tively about food and eat­ing and meal­time. It can get you to change nor­mal rou­tines and be more thank­ful for what you do eat. I could go on and on here, but I firmly believe that eat­ing veg­e­tar­ian, even if it’s only once in a while–is a good idea.

8.    Eat­ing veg­e­tar­ian encour­aged me to slow down, talk more, lis­ten more, and really pay atten­tion to each and every bite, to savor the fla­vor and pon­der the taste.

I was shocked to see how my eat­ing habits changed when eat­ing veg­e­tar­ian food. Granted, I was not eat­ing these meals with small chil­dren, where the words slow, savor, and pon­der don’t often show up. How­ever, I do think it was more than the fact that I was eat­ing with adults. The food I was eat­ing was on my mind the entire time. I stud­ied it. I pon­dered the food com­bi­na­tions in a dish. I ana­lyzed how I thought the dish was cooked. I ques­tioned what spice was used. I tasted the food, I mean, really tasted the food. I didn’t just eat with my eyes, but I also ate with my mouth…in a deep way that I often miss when eat­ing before. This habit could have been because I was doing an exper­i­ment about food. I’ll grant that. But even at other times, I think about food all the time–what I’ll cook, what I need from the gro­cery store, which food is the health­i­est, etc. This time, how­ever, I thought about food while I was eat­ing it. This is a new thing for me–to be con­scious of every sin­gle bite that goes in my mouth. It was a neat dis­cov­ery, and I thank this veg­e­tar­ian exper­i­ment for it.

9.    I had more energy through­out the day.

Usu­ally after lunch, I expe­ri­ence what I like to call–“the after­noon crash.” Right after lunch, I sud­denly become so sleepy that I can do noth­ing but think about get­ting in bed and going to sleep. This feel­ing of exhaus­tion is over­whelm­ing. If I am home, I may go take a nap. If not, I just try to make it through the next cou­ple of hours. Either way, this sen­sa­tion comes almost every day (depend­ing on what I ate at lunch).

Inter­est­ingly, I did not expe­ri­ence “the after­noon crash” one time dur­ing the entire week, even though we went imme­di­ately back into the Sem­i­nar for another half day of work. I didn’t get sleepy. I didn’t get tired. I was able to concentrate.

What’s more is that after the Sem­i­nar ended for the day, between 5:15 and 5:30, I exer­cised. I either went to the gym or jogged around cam­pus (all but one of these days when we went over to a colleague’s house for din­ner one evening). One might think I would have wanted to lie in bed and read or just rest (this was actu­ally my plan), but I had more than enough energy to work out for well over 45 min­utes each day I was there. THIS IS HUGE. And it felt great. My energy level was amaz­ing, and this alone is mak­ing me con­sider being a veg­e­tar­ian, at least for break­fast and lunch.

10.   I slept bet­ter at night.

I am a per­son who gets up at least twice a night to go to the bath­room. Dur­ing my time eat­ing veg­e­tar­ian, I did not get up ONE SINGLE TIME to use the bath­room. I drank just as much and drank it just as late. But I never had to go dur­ing the mid­dle of the night. I don’t know if it’s con­nected or not, but it was an obser­va­tion so I put this here. I have decided that I prob­a­bly still needed to go (I had to go badly when I woke up in the morn­ing), but I was sleep­ing bet­ter and was not awak­ened by the need to go. I’m inter­ested to hear from oth­ers: Does this ring true to your experiences?

11.   I felt full and was always sat­is­fied after fin­ish­ing a meal.

Eat­ing veg­e­tar­ian can be quite fill­ing. You’re not just eat­ing “rab­bit food.” Rather, the meals were sat­is­fy­ing and delight­ful. And because I ate slower, I was full faster, often­times, before I had even fin­ished my plate. It’s inter­est­ing how all this works together. I even noticed that I was focus­ing on what I could eat, rather than what I couldn’t eat. I didn’t even glance at the meat dishes served. I didn’t even miss them–in looks and desire or in taste.

12.   Eat­ing veg­e­tar­i­an­ism brought me closer to God, the cre­ator of all things.

I have been taught my whole life that, “in the begin­ning,” humans and ani­mals were veg­e­tar­i­ans (Gen­e­sis 1:29–30). Even though meat was avail­able, only a plant-based diet was ordained by God. It wasn’t until the flood that God told peo­ple they could eat meat (Gen­e­sis 9:1–3).

This week reminded me that God is the cre­ator of all food, meat, grains, fruit, veg­eta­bles, and other won­der­ful del­i­ca­cies. And I thank God for all the food sup­plied to me. As an Amer­i­can, I rec­og­nized how blessed (some would say cursed) I am (we are) to even have the choice to do some­thing like this. Oth­ers in the world–too many people–are starv­ing, lit­er­ally, and here I am able to eat with so much to choose from. I have learned that food is a gift. Eat­ing food is a a git. And being thank­ful for it should be part of our daily lives…whatever you con­sider yourself.

***

Over­all, this was an inter­est­ing expe­ri­ence. I learned a lot and I’m left with even more ques­tions than with which I began this jour­ney. I hope my expe­ri­ences have shown you that it isn’t too hard to eat veg­e­tar­ian once in a while. Even if you would never eat veg­e­tar­ian for an entire week, I do encour­age you to chal­lenge your­self for one meal, prob­a­bly din­ner. I think it’s worth it. Maybe it will make you appre­ci­ate where you food comes from. Maybe you already appre­ci­ate that. Per­haps you want to see how it impacts your bud­get, or what a com­plete veg­e­tar­ian meal tastes like. Or maybe you just want to pull an April Fool’s Joke on your loved one. Going veg­e­tar­ian just might be for you.

If you’re inter­ested in this topic or in try­ing it out for your­self (even one day a week), check out these sources for more information:

***

One final note, this exper­i­ment did not involve me cook­ing veg­e­tar­ian food, which would be a dif­fer­ent thing entirely. I am so used to cook­ing food with meat, and I have become quite good at it, and cook­ing veg­e­tar­ian “main” meals seems like it would be a chal­lenge. Although I cook veg­eta­bles with almost every meal, they are the “side,” the appendage to the meal, the part that my hus­band could do with­out. It seems to me that cook­ing veg­e­tar­ian would take this chal­lenge to the next level. Maybe that’s what’s next.

Here are some ques­tions I’m con­sid­er­ing now:

  • What would “going veg­e­tar­ian” look like if I actu­ally had to cook all the food? How would the food taste? How would I feel prepar­ing it? What would the food taste like? Would I like it? Is it more dif­fi­cult to pre­pare veg­e­tar­ian foods?
  • How does eat­ing veg­e­tar­ian impact a food budget?
  • How does eat­ing veg­e­tar­ian impact my chil­dren? Would they go for it? Would they express “not feel­ing full” or “still being hun­gry”? How does one move a fam­ily toward a veg­e­tar­ian diet?
  • What would my church fam­ily say if I brought a veg­e­tar­ian dish to the weekly potluck, espe­cially some­thing more “exotic,” like edamame, lentils, and quinoa (yes, these are exotic around here)? Would any­one but me even try it?

***

Thanks for jour­ney­ing with me. As always, I love hear­ing from you (even if you disagree—just be con­struc­tive, not rude, demean­ing, or mean).

What is your response to this exper­i­ment? Would you ever try to eat veg­e­tar­ian? Why or why not? What are you favorite veg­e­tar­ian recipes? What is some­thing you have learned about eat­ing veg­e­tar­ian? What have you noticed? What resources (doc­u­men­taries, movies, books, cook­books, etc.) do you rec­om­mend that I (or my read­ers) take a look at? What assump­tions do you have about veg­e­tar­i­ans?


Vegetarian Experiment, Day 7

I returned home from my week away with more than I had bar­gained for…a sore throat, cough, runny nose, and fever. This meant one more day of “daddy duty” for a man who had spent all week with the kids and was ready for a break and who has very busy (and tir­ing) Sun­days as a min­is­ter. Though I was home, I was no help. I lit­er­ally slept from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm on Sunday…and then on and off for the rest of the day. I went to the doc­tor today and found out I have a sinus infec­tion. I got a steroid shot and a zpak. I hope I can get over this soon. One of my friends com­mented that my sick­ness was a result of not eat­ing meat for a week, which I thought was quite funny.

Below are the meals I ate on Sat­ur­day, 2 in the air­port and 1 at home. The one at home was made my a thought­ful hus­band. Almost all of it was veg­e­tar­ian, except for the bacon, which was wrapped around a stuffed fig (deli­cious!). I know. Tech­ni­cally, I didn’t go for the full 7 days; it was 6 and 2/3 days. But, it wasn’t that much meat, and I didn’t really have a choice since my sweet hus­band had made me such a sweet meal. (The kids even ate it too!).

I will reflect on this exper­i­ment later in the week when I am feel­ing better.

Break­fast

Bagel with Cream Cheese

Burned Bagel with Cream Cheese, burnt

Lunch

Cap­rese Baguette Sand­wich (Moz­zarella, Tomato, Basil, and Bal­samic Glaze on a Baguette)

Caprese Sandwich

Din­ner

Here’s the fab­u­lous din­ner that was wait­ing for me when I got home. I have a very sweet husband.

Cucum­ber, Tomato, and Onion Salad with Bal­samic Vine­gar Dress­ing (the cucum­bers and toma­toes came from our garden!)

Rolled Zuc­chini with Goat Cheese Filling

Bacon (the meat!)-Wrapped Figs Stuffed with Goat Cheese

Zucchini Wrapped, Bacon-Wrapped Figs, and a Salad

Din­ner

And here is my new friend, Karen from Rhode Island, who put up with me at every. sin­gle. meal. while I took all these pic­tures of my food and took so long to get started eat­ing! We were suit­e­m­ates attend­ing the same con­fer­ence and we shared a really gross bath­room (wel­come to dorm life!). I’m so glad to have got­ten to know her! It made the week much more pleas­ant Here’s to you, Karen!

My friend Karen


Vegetarian Experiment, Day 6

Today was the last day eat­ing in one of the cafeteria’s here on MSU’s cam­pus. I will def­i­nitely miss this place. The stu­dent work­ers were polite, kind, and help­ful. They even cooked the food right there while we waited. And we could see them make it. This is a dif­fer­ent kind of cafe­te­ria than I had in college…and even that I have at Bay­lor, even though the ones at Bay­lor are good, too.

Here is what I ate today:

Break­fast

Egg and Cheese Crois­sant Sandwich

Egg Sandwich

 

Lunch

Hum­mus and Tab­bouleh and a Side Salad

 

Veg­etable Lasagna with Cau­li­flower Gratin

I didn’t like the veg­etable lasagna. It had some sort of sweet sauce that I didn’t like, so I didn’t end up eat­ing very much of it.

Vegetable Lasagna2

In fact, because I didn’t eat much of the lasagna, I went back for sec­onds of the cau­li­flower gratin. It was cooked with golden raisins, capers, cheese, and bread crumbs and topped with finely diced pars­ley. It was very, very good. I never would have put these ingre­di­ents together into one dish.

Roasted Cauliflower

Tur­tle Brownie (yum!)

Turtle Brownie

 

Din­ner

Cap­rese Salad with Warmed Pita Bread

Caprese Salad

I’ve had cap­rese salad before, but only on top of a tomato (decon­structed, I think). This one with let­tuce was really good. And the warmed pita bread had a nice crunch to it. I will def­i­nitely make a salad like this at home. There’s noth­ing like basil, bal­samic vine­gar, moz­zarella, and tomatoes.

Veg­e­tar­ian Sloppy Joe with Steamed Green Beans

The sloppy joe was made with tofu and veg­eta­bles. It was pretty good. It was the clos­est thing to meat I had all week. It felt like I was eat­ing meat because of the tex­ture, but I cog­ni­tively knew it wasn’t meat. It was a weird expe­ri­ence. But it was good.

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

Tur­tle Brownie (Take 2)

Turtle Brownie

I end my week at MSU by eat­ing dessert twice today, the same thing I had for lunch. Moist, choco­latey, crunchy, and gooey. What’s not to like?

One more day of eat­ing veg­e­tar­ian and my exper­i­ment will be over. It’s given me a lot to think about.


Vegetarian Experiment, Day 5

Five days is, by far, the longest I have gone with­out meat, yet I am not miss­ing it too much. I am enjoy­ing a vari­ety of foods, am tak­ing longer to eat the food I choose, and enjoy­ing try­ing and tast­ing new food items and fla­vors. I have never eaten so many vegan food items in one week. After this week is over, I will offer more a reflec­tion. Until then, here are the foods I enjoyed today.

Break­fast

Toasted Blue­berry Bagel, one side with Peanut But­ter and the other side with Cream Cheese

Toasted Whole Wheat Bagel

Lunch

Veg­etable Bul­gogi Let­tuce Wrap

Vegetable Bulgogi Lettuce Wrap

I had never heard of “bul­gogi” before. It’s a Korean dish that usu­ally has meat in it (they were serv­ing that dish, too). I’m still not too sure what it is, except it had a wide vari­ety of veg­eta­bles and seemed to be cooked in some sort of bar­be­cue sauce. It was pretty good, which says a lot com­ing from some­one who doesn’t like (or eat) Asian food too much.

Roasted Acorn Squash with But­ter and Brown Sugar and Sauteed carrots

Roasted Acorn Squash with Brown Sugar

Wow. This acorn squash was deli­cious. I ate the entire thing. (The car­rots were a bit hard.) I will def­i­nitely be mak­ing this acorn squash soon. I know that Levi and I will eat it up!

Din­ner

Phyllo and Zuc­chini Strudel with Zuc­chini and Sum­mer Squash Saute

Phyllo and Zucchini Strudel with Summer Squash Saute

The veg­eta­bles were ten­der and well sea­soned and the zuc­chini strudel was rich and orig­i­nal. In addi­tion to the zuc­chini, the phyllo crust was also filled with sauteed onions and feta cheese, as well as a varety of sea­son­ings. Delish.

Here’s a close-up pic­ture of the Phyllo and Zuc­chini Strudel.

Phyllo and Zucchini Strudel with Summer Squash Saute

Black Bean Burger

Black Bean Burger

I’ve been want­ing to try the veg­gie burger all week and when I was still hun­gry after eat­ing the first course, instead of going for a salad, hum­mus, or dessert, I opted for the burger. The burger itself was quite spicy, and I ended up eat­ing the meat all by itself–without buns or condi­ments. I’ve eaten veg­gie burg­ers before and this one was pretty sim­i­lar in terms of tex­ture and taste.

So that’s it for today. Only one more day at the MSU cafe­te­ria. I’m going to miss eat­ing there at Snyder-Phillips! Being able to choose from so many great options. Not hav­ing to cook. Being able to spend longer eat­ing and talk­ing than cook­ing or clean­ing up. In two days, it’s back to reality.


Vegetarian Experiment, Day 4

I have now com­pleted four days of eat­ing veg­e­tar­ian in this “going veg­e­tar­ian” exper­i­ment. Here is what I ate on Day Four.

Break­fast

Fruit: Water­melon, Grapes, and a Banana

Fruit for Breakfast

Whole Wheat Bagel with Straw­berry Cream Cheese (again)

Bagel with Cream Cheese

Lunch

Jalapeno and Ched­dar Veg­gie Wrap (with corn salad, tab­bouleh, and hum­mus added to it). (Sorry about the blur of this picture.)

Cheddar and Jalapeno Wrap Stock Full of Veggies

Here’s the Veg­gie Wrap up close.

Veggie Wrap

Key Lime Pie (yum!)

Key Lime Pie

Pre-Dinner Snack

I knew we would be eat­ing a late din­ner tonight, so when we were released at 5:00, Karen (my suit­e­m­ate who is also in the sem­i­nar) and I walked down to the cafe­te­ria and had a lit­tle “snack”.

Vegan Cal­zone with Mari­nara Sauce

This vegan cal­zone had sun­dried toma­toes, green pep­pers, red pep­pers, onions, mush­rooms, and car­rots. It was very, very good. I was even sur­prised to find that I didn’t miss the cheese at all. It was quite tasty with­out it.

Vegan Calzone with Marinara Sauce

Cut Vegan Calzone with Marinara Sauce

A bite of the vegan calzone

I think you can tell that I liked this vegan cal­zone. It was really, really good. I def­i­nitely think I will try mak­ing this dish when I get home.

Din­ner

Later this evening, every­one tak­ing the sem­i­nar and most of the pre­sen­ters went over to Nancy’s, the sem­i­nar host, house. She grilled out, and there were a lot of fin­ger foods, but here’s my main dish:

Vegan Hot Dog

Vegan Hot Dog and Side Salad

So what does a vegan hot dog taste like?

There was lit­tle resis­tance bit­ing into the hot dog, unlike in a beef hot dog where the bite is actu­ally a crunch that breaks the hot dog’s skin and sends a (yummy) spray of hot oil (grease?) into your mouth. I do like that sen­sa­tion, but I didn’t mind it not being there in this case, though. The tex­ture of the vegan hot dog was soft and a bit mushy. Unfor­tu­nately, I didn’t find there to be much fla­vor in the hot dog, even with the ketchup I added after I took my first bite. Next time, I would add mus­tard and per­haps some onions to enhance it’s taste. Or maybe I just wouldn’t eat it in the first place.


Vegetarian Experiment: Day 3

Day 3 of my week of going veg­e­tar­ian has gone really well. The cafe­te­ria here at MSU has a wide selec­tion of veg­e­tar­ian and vegan options at almost every sta­tion, and even more options at lunch and din­ner. I felt fuller today.

Break­fast

Veg­gie omelet with pep­pers, toma­toes, onions, mush­rooms, spinach, and cheese

Vegetable Omelet

This was all right, but not very good. I don’t blame the veg­eta­bles, though. I think it was the way they were cooked. And the egg omelet was very thin (and not too appe­tiz­ing). I would have liked black beans on the omelet, but they were not avail­able. I don’t think I’ll have an omelet again while I’m here.

Whole wheat bagel with cream cheese

Wheat Bagel with Strawberry Cream Cheese

Because the egg wasn’t very good, I decided to go get a bagel as well. It was really good.

Lunch

Veg­etable Lasagna, squash and zuc­chini saute, gar­lic bread, a small bite of the same veg­gie enchi­lada from yes­ter­day, and tab­bouleh, which I of course had to have again after how good it tasted yesterday.

Veggie Lunch

Other veg­gie options I didn’t choose included a veg­gie burger, a veg­etable wrap on spinach tor­tilla, and a tofu let­tuce wrap. So many options for peo­ple with spe­cial dietary needs. It makes eat­ing veg­e­tar­ian quite simple.

Din­ner

Israeli Cous­cous, Fried Chili Cab­bage, Spiced Lentils, Veg­etable Med­ley, and Naan Bread

Here is a pic­ture of the Spiced Lentils up close.

Spiced Lentils

The lentils were my favorite of this meal. The cous­cous was mediocre and the cab­bage was hard and over­cooked. The naan bread was good. What I really wanted to eat was the chicken tan­doori. It looked so good, but I bypassed it like a good girl.


Vegetarian Experiment: Day Two

In Day 2 of my adven­ture eat­ing veg­e­tar­ian, I ate all three meals at a cafe­te­ria on MSU’s cam­pus. I had no dif­fi­culty find­ing a vari­ety of veg­e­tar­ian and vegan options, and the food was really, really good. Not your typ­i­cal cafe­te­ria fare.

Break­fast

French Toast with Syrup, Eggs, a Pear, and Cran-Apple Juice

French Toast with Eggs and a Pear


Lunch

Green Salad with Lots of Veggies

Salad from Salad Bar


Veg­gie Enchi­lada and Asparagus

This dish was deli­cious! The veg­gie enchi­lada was made out of veg­etable beef. I’m not sure what that means exactly (do any of my read­ers know?). It had beef’s tex­ture, but wasn’t near as greasy. I wanted to go back and get sec­onds (and thirds). I didn’t, but it was THAT good.

Vegetarian Enchiladas

Din­ner

Tab­bouleh, Hum­mus, and Pita Bread

Tabbouleh, Hummus, and Pita Bread

The tab­bouleh was AMAZING, the best I had ever had. If you have never tried tab­bouleh, it’s a salad made of bul­gur, tomato, pars­ley, onion, gar­lic, and lemon. It was deli­cious, espe­cially with the pita bread.

Vegan Sweet and Sour Chicken with Steamed Broc­coli

Sweet and Sour Vegan Chicken

I would give the sweet and sour vegan chicken a 5 out of 10. It was aver­age. I’m still curi­ous what “vegan chicken” is made out of.

And for dessert, Toll­house Pie

Tollhouse Pie

The pie made me think of Phoebe Buf­fay and her grandmother’s famous cookie recipe. Here’s to you, Phoebe, and your grandmother’s Ness­lay Tollhausen.


Vegetarian Experiment: Day One

I just fin­ished Day One of my week-long exper­i­ment of being meat-free. It was a long day full of air travel and air­port food, but I man­aged all right.

Break­fast

I didn’t have time to eat break­fast at my par­ents’ house before head­ing to the air­port (it was very early in the morn­ing), so I decided to get some­thing at the air­port. How­ever, because of wrong turns get­ting to the air­port and long lines every­where at the air­port, I barely found some­thing before my plane took off.

I saw an Ein­stein Broth­ers Bagel and a Star­bucks, but the lines were too long, and I would miss my flight. I finally found a small food stand called Real Food with a short line and decided to stop there. They sold yogurt and sandwiches.

Because of the design of the place, I didn’t have a chance to decide what I wanted until I got to the front of the line. At that point, I was rushed and had to choose some­thing quickly so the peo­ple behind me wouldn’t get irritated.

The crois­sant sand­wich with bacon, egg, and cheese looked good. That’s an option.

The sausage bis­cuit also looked good, but it seemed a lit­tle heavy, so I bypassed that.

I finally decided on the bagel sand­wich with ham, cheese, and egg.

Ham, Egg, and Cheese Bagel Sandwich

But, no, that’s not right.

As I was pay­ing for the Ham, Cheese, and Egg Sand­wich that the lady nicely warmed up for me, I saw a sign for an “Egg and Cheese Bagel Sand­wich.” That’s when I remem­bered that I was not going to eat meat, and I had just ordered a sand­wich with meat.

Habits do not go away easily.

When I got on the air­plane, I took the meat off the sand­wich and ate the egg and cheese sand­wich sans ham.

My bagel sandwich without meat

 

Lunch

For lunch, I ate at Chicago O’Hare Air­port. I found this place that had a lot of veg­e­tar­ian and vegan options. The dish that stuck out to me first was the Pesto Chicken Sand­wich, but I didn’t for­get this time about my mis­sion and order the sand­wich. I don’t think a pesto sand­wich would have been very fill­ing with­out the meat. Instead, I ordered a Tomato Gar­den Veg­etable Teapot, which had toma­toes, gar­den veg­gies, and baby spinach over mate-infused brown rice. It was vegan and gluten-free. I also ordered a side of Cracked Pep­per Baked Lentil Chips. Both items were extremely good. And fill­ing, too.

Baked Lentil Chips

Here’s a close-up of the Tomato Gar­den Veg­etable Teapot.

Vegan and Gluten-Free Tomato Teapot

Din­ner

I went to the Open­ing Sem­i­nar Ses­sion and didn’t eat until after­wards (around 9:30). The only thing open was McDonald’s or Sub­way. I opted for Sub­way where I got a Veg­gie Sand­wich on Wheat.

Veggie Sandwich from Subway

At the end of the day, I still feel hun­gry. I don’t know the extent that travel and eat­ing at ran­dom hours impacted my stom­ach growls, but I do feel like I could eat more food. There’s just noth­ing around to eat.

I’ve also had a headache for about 5 hours. I hope it’s not related to the food, but I’m begin­ning to wonder.