Conclusion on a vegetarian lifestyle

Today is the final day of my month as a vegetarian and tomorrow I switch to vegan.

I’ve spent the whole of March on a diet which has excluded all meat and fish products which according to the Vegetarian Society is a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet. This is the term used for vegetarians who eat dairy products and is the most common type of vegetarian.

Firstly I can say I found it very easy to lead a vegetarian lifestyle which is probably because my husband has been a pescatarian for a number of years, that is, someone who doesn’t eat meat but who does eat fish. He also occasionally has chicken but it has to be free-range organic chicken.

Rather than cooking separate meals, I’ve also tended to follow this diet too. So the main difference has been the lack of fish or chicken for a month.

As I mentioned in the previous ‘mid month‘ update, our dinners have contained meat substitutes such as Quorn which I still have mixed feelings about due to it being processed. Also, if you substitute lean meat such as chicken or turkey for say a cheese flan or cheese pasty, this has to be the more unhealthy choice too.

My conclusion?

In my view a vegetarian diet is easy to follow although, unless you limit the processed meat substitutes, cheese and pastry, I can’t really see the health benefits.

In addition, I would think there is greater suffering for cows if you consume larger amounts of cheese and milk. Rather than being slaughtered at a young age, cows have to go through multiple pregnancies throughout their lives to meet the demand for human consumption of their milk. So which is worse?

As mentioned, I’m starting ‘Vegapril’ (instead of Veganuary) tomorrow to experience a month as a vegan. Although the increase in people choosing a vegan lifestyle is rapidly increasing, I’m anticipating a few more challenges…

 

 

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Update: being a veggie

We are nearly half way through March, my month of being a vegetarian… and, so far so good… I’ve found it relatively straightforward to stick to a fully vegetarian diet which excluded fish too.

Breakfast is easy as I usually have either bircher muesli (although I buy this in packets rather than making it myself) with *oat milk, or eggs or Alpro yogurt with fruit.

*I’ve cut down significantly on milk throughout the last year or so with animal welfare in mind. I started to consider the sad lives of mummy cows who have to spend their lives being pregnant and saying goodbye to their calves shortly after giving birth just so humans can consume their milk. When there are plant based alternatives to milk, it seems unnecessary and unnatural that we humans are consuming a product meant for baby cows…

Lunch has also been easy! When working at home I usually have some kind of vegetable soup, usually either broccoli and stilton or carrot and ginger. Or maybe hummus with pitta bread. When I’m working in the office I pop over to Pret where they have a delicious range of clearly marked vegetarian and vegan options.

Dinner, I have mixed feelings about… firstly, most restaurants in the UK have vegetarian options which is OK if you don’t mind a somewhat limited menu. We had dinner in a local pub last night which was great as I had a delicious vegetarian chilli which was made with a range of chopped fresh vegetables so was also a healthy choice.

Other times, the vegetarian part of the menu includes things like: feta cheese tart; cheese risotto or a cheese based pasta. I’m not keen on too many white carbs and from a health perspective, I still would prefer something like grilled fish and vegetables.

At home, I’ve been using Quorn as a meat substitute rather a lot. For example, last week I made quorn shepherds pie, quorn stir fry and sweet potato curry with quorn instead of chicken. Quorn is a brand which prides itself on being a healthy protein option which uses something called Mycoprotein. This is derived from some kind of fungus which I would think has to go through a great deal of processing for it to look like minced beef or chicken.

At the moment, I am thinking my current vegetarian diet isn’t quite as healthy as the diet I had previously followed, i.e. occasionally having free range chicken and having quite a lot of fish.

Perhaps I need to find some more creative vegetarian dinners to cook throughout the rest of March? Sainsbury’s sell ‘mushroom mince’ which is simply mushrooms which have been finely chopped to resemble a minced beef consistency. So rather than using quorn, I could try using a few more chopped vegetables for our dinner recipies?

 

 

Vegetarian month starts tomorrow!

With February being a short month, this had kind of crept up on me! I realised earlier today that 1st March is actually tomorrow and this is the month I made a pledge to myself to eat only vegetarian food.

With my husband Chris being a pescatarian, i.e. he is a vegetarian who eats fish, I didn’t need to do too much food planning. We never eat red meat, as I have more or less adopted his diet in recent years.

I did however realise that if I am to be a vegetarian for a month, I wouldn’t be eating any fish either…

My first small challenge arose when my mum invited us for dinner next Saturday… she proudly told me she had organised a vegetarian option for Chris and a vegan option for Zoe (my daughter)… I had to tell her that I too will be a vegetarian throughout March. Thankfully on this occasion it was fairly easy given she had already planned veggie/vegan meals and said brightly “That’s fine, I’ll do a vegetarian option for you too”.

I do feel conscious that if people are kind enough to invite me for dinner, I don’t want to put them to any trouble… it will be interesting to see what happens throughout the rest of the month…

 

 

 

Pondering… why become a vegetarian for a month?

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Vegetable market in Hoi An, Vietnam

For the last few years I’ve gradually eaten less and less meat. The more I see awful videos of the abuse suffered by animals the more I’ve gravitated towards a semi vegetarian and vegan diet. I’ve also been influenced by my husband Chris, who has only eaten organic chicken (rarely) and fish since I’ve known him. And my daughter, Zoe, who became a vegan in 2016. Zoe has a point when she says “there are so many alternatives so why do you have to eat an animal?”

Many people become vegetarian for health benefits although as Harvard Health explains, you could eat a diet full of pizza, ice cream and cakes which is still technically vegetarian but not the healthiest!

So I have decided to try a vegetarian diet for the month of March just to see how things go and to consider whether this is right for me. Will I miss eating fish? Are there plenty of alternatives? Will I end up eating too much cheese and gain weight? Will I be sick of vegetable lasagne by 1st April? Will report back in due course…