by Rebecca J. Clark
Happy Monday to you!
I've been playing around with becoming somewhat of a vegetarian for various reasons. One, cutting up and preparing meat totally grosses me out. If I make it, I often can't eat it...but I have no problem eating meat at someone else's house or a restaurant. Yes, I'm weird. Two, I feel better when I eat less animal protein (I look better, too). Three, going meatless would really help with the grocery budget. Four, I'm reading a couple of books that have scared the #$@% out of me regarding animal protein consumption (The China Study and The Starch Solution).
If my family included just me, I'd go cold turkey and try a vegan diet for 30 days or so to see how I feel and look. I did this about 15 years ago and have never felt so good--people told me I looked 10 years younger. Then I cheated and started eating dairy again and that was that. These days if I went all vegan, I think my family would divorce me. So, I'll settle for Meatless Mondays...for now.
Those of you who know me or follow me on social media know I'm a personal fitness trainer in my other life. :) Eliminating animal protein is mostly contrary to everything I've ever learned about nutrition. I encourage my clients to include a good protein with every meal because you need sufficient protein to build muscle. I've always heard that whey protein and eggs are the best protein source for muscle growth. Animal protein is more concentrated, thus a better option for our muscles than vegetarian protein. These are the beliefs I've "lived" by. But I'm starting to question these long-standing beliefs.
But because I'm still a bit skeptical about what I've been reading, and because I can't imagine never eating a cheeseburger again, and maybe because I'm a Gemini and just can't make up my mind, I'm going to start by going meatless one day a week. On Mondays. Not necessarily animal-protein free (I still may eat yogurt, eggs and cheese), but meatless. No flesh (is that a disgusting way of looking at meat? As 'flesh'? Blech.) I think this is called Lacto-ovo vegetarianism--no meat, but you can eat eggs and dairy products.
I have three cookbooks I'll cook from: The Eat Clean Diet Vegetarian Cookbook, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, and the Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites. I'll also try recipes from my various magazine subscriptions.
My family says they're willing to go along with this experiment, but I can hear the comments now during our first Meatless Monday dinner: "Where's the meat?" "Mom, did you forget to thaw something for dinner again?" or my favorite, "This is dinner? Seriously?"
Wish me luck.
I'll be posting my favorite recipes on my author page on Facebook if you're interested.