Four Days in and I am loving it.
So itâ€™s four whole days in on the first challenge and I am still alive and more importantly still meat free. I have spoken to several old pros at this vegetarianism that have managed mere 20, 25, 35+ years as meat free and have passed on tips and hints. Way too soon to see effects so I canâ€™t report I am bouncing up and down with energy yet. ButÂ I have noticed a few things though which are eye openers rather than effects.
- The amount our meals revolve around meat.
- The choice available.
- The cost.
The first was on New Yearâ€™s Day when I went to lunch at friends. Not wanting to cause a fuss I went with the â€˜donâ€™t do anything special, I will just avoid the meatâ€™ tactic. I didnâ€™t starve or find it a problem; I did though see how much we revolve our meals around meat. It was rather slim pickings on meat free food on the table (it was a buffet set up) but I found enough to keep me happy. It was actually remarked, by someone who didnâ€™t know my personal challenge, that I had very good restraint when I finished eating before everyone else.
The second eye opener was when I went to the local supermarket. I have never been the most organised person in the world and a check of the fridge and food cupboard yesterday morning confirmed this. It was time to embark on my first shopping trip as a non meat eater. Â I found whole stretches of shelves that I never knew existed. It was a bit time consuming reading labels and looking for the V signs. It was also such an eye opener the amount of choice supermarkets now provide. When I was a rebelâ€™s teenager and wanted to go vegetarian to annoy my parents, the choice then was very limited. Shops and restaurants just werenâ€™t geared up for non meat eaters. Itâ€™s only been since the media, high profile celebrities and the odd vegetarian book that the supermarkets and restaurants realised that providing the non meat option was a money earner and here to stay.
There three things that I knew about vegetarians. Lentils, tofu and quorn. Tofu was a bit of hidden item in the supermarket and not given much shelf space and after trying it I do understand why. QuornÂ on the other hand had just about a whole aisle devoted to a variety of meat look alikes. I havenâ€™t plunged into the lookalike meals yet but I will try them on the kids at some point. Lentils, hmm now it doesnâ€™t matter how they try to jazz them up I cannot get passed the hippy image in my head. These will defiantly be one of the last things I attempt.
My final eye opener was the cost at the till. I had at least a weekâ€™s shopping and itâ€™s defiantly cost less than an equivalent meat week.
Until now I have always campaigned that there is more to life than stuffing a mushroom or a pepper but I am suddenly drawn to them. Stuffed Portabella mushrooms were actually quite nice and the vegetable stir fry even had a half hearted thumbs up from the children. One declaring they want it more often, the other one not so keen.
I may still be basking in the novelty of reading vegetarian cook books and then creating my version, but I can declare I am loving this challenge.