So I've decided to give it a shot and see what it's like to be a weekday vegetarian. I am a food lover of all sorts: meat, vegetables, etc., so it's difficult for me to "give up" any sort of food because deep down I feel like limiting myself is taking away from things that are great about the world. Cooking being at the forefront. No, I'm not a chef or currently working in the restaurant business, but someone who finds the act of cooking and feeding others, watching the enjoyment on their faces as they eat what I've prepared to be an utterly peaceful, joyful, and relaxing experience.
So why weekday vegetarian? I grew up essentially vegetarian. My sister became a vegetarian at 8 years old (mainly because I teased her about which animals she was eating WHILE she was eating them). She has remained vegetarian well into adulthood and struggled with ideas for cooking for her largely meat eating husband.
I've always loved vegetables and never missed meat when I've had meals without it. It didn't seem like a huge step to go from everyday meat to meat on weekends. This solution is environmentally conscious (something I've considered myself to be), economically conscious (saving huge amounts of money on grocery bills), and conscious of the treatment of animals consumed for food. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for eating animals as food. I will never vow to be a vegan, nor will I likely give up all meat forever. I don't want to put myself in a box, I just want to be conscious of my surroundings on all levels and since I care about food, I care about what goes on to my plate daily as I plan grocery lists, weekly meals, and try out new recipes with enthusiasm. I figured it makes sense to be totally aware of what I'm eating and how much everyday.
Now to people, like my own mother, who have been eating this way for years and not calling themselves vegetarian, this will seem like incredibly old news and potentially annoying that I've come up with this "new" idea for myself. Regardless, I feel like it's something that I need to test the waters with and I'm pretty excited at the prospect of a lifestyle change. My husband and I have vowed to be "Weekday Vegetarians" until Thanksgiving. We are allowing ourselves to eat meat at other peoples houses if we are invited for dinner (no one likes the annoying dinner guests who are testing out new diets and can't eat anything), and we are also allowed to choose meat at restaurants if we so desire. We will reevaluate in mid-October to see how we feel about our new choices and decide whether or not it's working for us. Personally, I can see this extending well in to 2012, if not being permanent.
I will post about my experiences, choices, and, of course, new and delicious recipes that I've tried that work for the regular meat eater...no xanthan gum, or nutritional yeast, or many ingredients that you are required to seek out at health food stores. Just delicious food that you want to eat without missing the meat.
I've been at this since Sunday and we've already enjoyed BBQ roasted vegetable pizza, fresh pasta with cherry tomatoes, basil and garlic, and an excellent lime glazed tofu stir fry.
See Graham Hill's short speech on TED Talks for more information.