Saturday, May 7, 2011

Vegetarian May



We are week into May and a week into my eating vegetarian. No, it's not something permanent. It's more like an experiment. I want to see how not eating meat might make me feel health and energy-wise. It's not been too difficult at home and bringing lunch to work. The real challenge is going out to eat with friends.

I am one of those people, maybe like you, that has had to have some sort of meat with every lunch or dinner. Even in salads I want something - whether it's chicken, some shrimp, or slices of steak. Pork is my favorite meat of all. LOVE pork in all forms. But the medical and nutrition community has said for many years that we need to make meat the side dish and beans or vegetables the main part of every meal. 

At first I contemplated going vegan for the month, but decided that would be just too drastic a step to take. I'll try that soon, I'm sure, but for now I wanted to just stick to eliminating meat to see how I do.

I figured the route for me, Ms. Meat Eater, is to try the fake meat approach to ease me into the vegetarian meals. Ellen Degeneres is a vegan and on her show she's been challenging people to try the vegan lifestyle. I was watching one of her shows where a family was trying vegan and using Gardein products to help. 

Gardein makes healthy protein alternatives. You can call them fake meat if you wish, since they are meant to take the place of meat in your meals with names such as Chick'n Scallopini and Beefless Burger. The products consist of a blend of grains, fiber, and soy to create dense pieces that have a consistency as close to meat as possible. I contacted Gardein and they were kind enough to send me some coupons so I could get a few different products to try.


So far I'm really liking the Chick'n Scallopini. They come frozen and you saute them in a skillet or pan to cook them. I've been using them as a substitute for chicken in my salads for lunch. For dinner, I've cooked them up in some butter before adding some lemon juice and capers. I serve it all up with some steamed asparagus for a simple, yet delicious meal.

Now I must admit that if pork is my favorite meat, chicken is my least favorite. Having these Chick'n items has been an easy change for me. They are close enough to chicken that I don't really notice the difference. I've also tried the Chipotle Lime Crispy Fingers which are baked in the oven. Nice and crispy. I still have to try the beef alternative items.

The next few weeks will have more posts about my trying vegetarian. So far, it's not been too difficult.


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