10 out of my 20 years on this planet, I have been a dedicated vegetarian.
That’s right! Half of my life, I have been a veggie-belly. Not only am I incredibly proud to say this, but I love my lifestyle.
I often get asked
‘Do you eat fish?’
‘How do you get your protein?’
‘You must miss bacon.’
And several other annoying, obnoxious questions.. Almost as annoying as when people think its okay to grab and prod at my tattoos, or call them ‘tatts or ink’. No, just sit down and shut up please.
When I was younger, I did often struggle to find nutritious ways of eating.. Pasta, cheese, and bread are always easy. Thank goodness for my mother, who is very health and nutrition based, took it upon herself to educate not only us- but also my father and her, into eating a wholesome vegetarian lifestyle.
I do not eat fish, but on occasion I do eat eggs. So I guess you could say I am an ovo-vegetarian. Their not apart of my everyday food intake-but I do enjoy them. I try to only eat eggs from a neighbors farm, and stick to free range. No, I do not miss bacon! Why would I with all the delicious substitutes on the market now a days!? And to be honest.. I don’t even remember the taste.
I also always have a good vegan protein on hand for my workouts or mixed with fruits in a smoothie as a meal replacement. Whey and casein hurt my stomach, and I believe over the years I have built up an intolerance to dairy/lactose. I don’t drink milk, and I eat very little cheese, but when I do I am sick for hours.
Some of my favorite ways to get protein are:
Beans/Legumes: Black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, edamame/soy beans, navy beans you name it! I love them all. There are some AWESOME recipes for veggie burgers made with beans too. They can be delicious on their own, or in soups/chillis, baked, or even made into sweet baked goods like brownies. (Don’t knock it till you try it!)
Whole grains: Like quinoa and brown rice, these can be a staple food in meals. You can also make veggie patties with them! I’m a big veggie patty lover.
Tofu/Soy: While I’m not a big fan of soy milk, I absolutely love tofu!! It’s good in stirfrys, soups, grilled. It’s also a main ingredient in many dairy free cheeses, faux-‘meats’ and one of my favorites- tempeh! On the less savory side, they also make soy yogurts and ice creams! Tofu can also be blended and added to make creamy sauces- like vegan alfredo or mac&cheez!
Nuts, Seeds and Nut butters: I’ve said it before and I will say it again I LOOOVE PEANUT BUTTER! Almond butter is a close second. I also love cashews, pecans, Brazil nuts and macadamia! Vegan milks are also made from nuts and seeds, my favorites being almond and flax. 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter contain 8g of protein- and it’s convenient. You can easily grab some nuts at a corner store or grocery and snack on them.
Seitan and Meat substitutes: Usually made of a combination of soy protein and wheat protein (so not gluten free) I have found various products I love- and a lot that are gross. It’s all trial and error! Once you find what you can enjoy, the possibilities are endless. Faux chicken, veggie ground round, hot dogs, I’ve even seen up and coming faux sea food products!
Protein supplements: My personal favorites have been anything with sprouted brown rice, pea protein and hemp. Again, I am not very big on soy milk OR protein (in a powdered form), but it’s all up to your taste buds.
Being a vegetarian started for me after coming across PETA video on animal cruelty (A la KFC.. Which my dad thoroughly enjoys and loves). That scared me, and made me think.
People really don’t think a lot about animals. Now, I have no problem with people who eat meat, my boyfriend is by vegetarian and cooks meat in our home. But people often gorge, and take advantage of what we have around us. Meat is not a necessity- but people have made it out to be that way. The quote ‘If slaughterhouses had windows, a lot more people would be vegetarian’ comes to mind when I talk to people about this topic. So many in humane practices go on in the meat industry- and that is why I am a vegetarian. I cannot stand the stupidity in society who try and fight on this matter.
If your someone who does want to keep meat a part of your diet- research it. Buy from local butchers, and farms. Though the price may be a bit higher than the average grocery store- your getting your money’s worth, for food that is proper, and not pumped full of chemicals and water, fed grain till they burst, or stuffed in stalls with various other animals living in their own filth.
Knowledge is power my friends.
Now to get back on topic! Experiment! Have fun with your food. I have had a lot of downfalls and A+’s in my vegetarian cooking/eating life. The best part of cooking healthy, is finding out what you enjoy. I love food and cooking, and I think that’s what makes food so much fun for me!
I will post a lot more vegetarian recipes soon, I promise! Still feeling not so great today 😪 so once I am back in tip top shape- let the veggie masterpieces begin!!!