Sunday, January 03, 2010

Resolutions for 2010? No thanks, but here's what I learned in 2009.

Bring in the new year, it's that time again of resolutions. I'm not a fan of them personally, they just seem like an opportunity to set yourself up failure. However, there are a few things I've learned in the 1.3 years I've been a vegetarian.
  1. It's very likely that you will gain weight by going vegetarian. Most omnivores will be shocked to hear this, but it's true. I've packed a jolly 10 pounds since I started. How? Think about it, chips, fries, pizza sans the meat, all pack a calorie wallop. 
  2. Most restaurants will accommodate you when you mention that you are vegetarian. If they don't have veggie items, they can usually whip up something for you. But don't expect miracles. I've had undercooked risotto @ L'Orignal and 3 kinds of over salted over buttered potatoes at the very prestigious Procope, in Paris.
  3. Seitan is really amazingly delicious! Other than its fun name, mention in passing that you braise seitan and wait for a reaction, you can barbecue some wicked ribz.
  4. You'll never be vegetarian enough for some. I've switched for dietary reasons and that's just not enough for some. I'm not considered serious or sincere because my beau eats meat and I accept it. Tough nuggets peeps, I'm not doing this to make friends or be cool.
  5. You'll always be too vegetarian for some. I've learned to not talk about it at all. I hate the conversation, the questions, the justifications and heaven forbid if you do it because you love the furry little critters. It's almost like religion and politics, just walk away.
  6. Frozen vegetables make meals easy. Most people I know shudder at the idea of using frozen vegetables. However, I eat 5 to 10 servings of vegetables a day. Peeling and prepping all of that, every day? Sorry, but no time!
  7. Always read ingredient labels. It's amazing how fish can be furtively added... Think BBQ sauces, breads - yes breads that boast high omega content. It's even worse if you are trying to avoid dairy and eggs. 
  8. Mushrooms are your best friend for flavor, texture and nutrition. Dried, they can make great stock and be added to soups and stews. Fresh, they can be eaten raw or cooked, pan fried, braised, stewed, etc. Combined with tamari, you have a flavorful, earthy meat replacement.
  9. You eventually stop eating premade mock meats. Ok, I haven't completely stopped but I've weened myself off pretty quickly. 
  10. Farts, they are a fact of vegetarian life. Learn to laugh about it. You'll become a ninja in no time! Beano helps somewhat, but you'll still be tootin'.
  11. Canned beans are convenient. I occasionally make my own from scratch, you can't beat the convenience of canned beans. However, watch the sodium!
  12. Worried about calcium? Go for tofu made with calcium but make sure your tofu is organic. I prefer the texture of that tofu over the ones made with magnesium.
  13. If you eat enough calories in a day, you'll get all the protein you need!
  14. You don't get sick as often, and not as severely when you go veg. It's true.
  15. Take a vitamin supplement. You are probably not as vitamin deficient as any omnivore, but it pays to cover all your bases, no?
  16. Vegetarian and vegan restaurants are amazing. You can have everything on the menu.
  17. Go for whole grains and eat a wide variety. I'm quinoa crazy but brown rice makes me happy. Barley can be used to make a wicked risotto. Have you ever tried pasta made without wheat? Pretty darn tasty. Kasha and millet makes great ground beef replacements in pies and casseroles.
  18. Slow cookers are also handy for vegetarians. The number of soups and stews I've had simmering in mine...
  19. Invest in a good knife. This goes for any diet. Just get yourself a good chefs knife and treat yourself to a yearly professional sharpening. 
  20. Smile! Even if Copenhagen was a monumental failure and I'm ashamed of Stephen Harper, I can rest easy on thinking that I've seriously decreased my carbon footprint. It's not perfect and I have ways to go but it's certainly better than most.
Happy New Year my fellow veggie enthusiasts and friends!


Kristin said...

Such an interesting list! Thanks for sharing!
xoxo BK Crew

Anonymous said...

SOOO true about not talking about being veg. Its so odd the way it makes others upset even thought it has nothing to do with them!

irrepressiblementvert said...

Really ? You gained weight ? That's not what I experienced by becoming vegetarian last november... I lost about 5 pounds in december, probably the single time in my life I ended december lighter...

I'm concerned about chemicals used with cans... I want to buy only dry beans...

But I'm totally with you about frozen veggies... :o)

Cassie said...

Yes, I did. I'm being a bit better about eating between meals which should help me shed off those extra pounds fast. If you go for Eden's canned beans, you are certain that they are bisphenol-a free. They boast it as one of their key benefits.

I'm glad it worked for you. :)

Q. Xavier said...

Lady Cassie | Absolutely splendid breakdown of the life in the world of a plant-based diet. Some of favorite notes are:

1. Gaining weight - Me too. I call it Vegan Fat Kid syndrome for VFK for short.
2. Fundamentalism - You just can't make either side happy. Food, Religion & Politics... Leave it to the talking-heads.
3. Farts - A conversation piece at every Veg meet-up is gas and bowels. It's a common enemy.

Loved the work... keep it up!