I’m kinda enjoying it. Meat free for Lent has made me think about what I put in my mouth. There was one slip-up, at a fashion party, when a prawn canapé managed to find its way into my mouth without me thinking. Oops. But, apart from that, it’s not been as difficult as I thought. Which probably shows I don’t eat huge amounts of meat anyway.
I’ve made a couple of recipes - veg curry, jackfruit wraps (as recommended by Twitter) - but not as many as I wanted to. It’s quite nice to make my vegetarianism somebody else’s problem, which means eating out or getting other people to cook for you. (Sorry, Mum!).
Left - The Vegetabull - A 1950s poster from a recent exhibition at the Jewish Museum
Here are a few things I’ve learnt from my time as a #MeatFreeGeek
- You use more bowls than plates.
- Less sauces - tomato sauce and mayonnaise, but more salt and pepper.
- Cheese becomes your meat.
- I’m less hungry.
- You save money.
- You avoid cheap, processed foods.
- Bad things go with bad things. So it’s a double win when you stay away from them.
- I’m eating more carbs - bread, pasta. This has actually made me put a little bit of weight on, just slightly.
- Sugar is a problem. I feel like I’m eating more sweets and chocolate. It feels like a pleasure.
- Some vegetables seem to last forever no matter how much you think you’re eating. I’m looking at you greens.
- Cauliflower steaks for the win.
- Soya is like brown chicken meat.
- Chips don't go with anything.
- Sandwiches aren't as exciting.
Whether religious or not, Lent is that perfect time of year, and a decent length of time, to challenge yourself to give something up or try something different. I’ve been thinking of trying vegetarianism for a while now and while I could have easily done it, after Christmas, as a New Year’s resolution, it could've felt a bit like jumping off a cliff edge, after the indulgence of Christmas, and I wanted to give it a proper go.
Lent is perfect, being in the middle of February, you feel mentally prepared and can block off the next 6 weeks as you countdown to Easter.
Christians traditionally abstain from animal foods in remembrance of Jesus' 40 days of fasting in the wilderness and with Vegetarianism and Veganism growing in popularity, it felt like the right time to give it a go.
A few of my friends are vegetarians, so I’m going to tap them up for recipes and advice. I’m going to put some Quorn in the fridge for those days I may need something meat-like. My main worries are getting bored and also feeling hungry quickly after meals. I also don’t want to pig out on carbs or turn to sweet things to fill me up. I think I’m going to have to be more organised with my meals and less lazy with the snacking.
If I lose loads of weight and feel like a bag of bones, I’ll think about stopping. But, the main driving force is, it’ll be healthier for me and for the environment, and I want to take more vegetarian options into my everyday and maybe find a few things that I will enjoy and carry on eating. I’ll keep you updated.
See Part Two - here