This past summer I did a seven week theater program. For those seven weeks I ate at a dining hall and occasionally went out for dinner or brunch, my very favorite meal, on the weekends. It was the first extended period of time I had free reign over what I ate at every meal. I have never really loved meat but never went vegetarian because honestly as a high schooler, I don’t have the time nor the dedication to organize something different from what my family is having at each meal. During the program I decided to go meat free. I realized that I only ever enjoy the unhealthy meats (steak, chicken nuggets, hot dogs, gyro meat) pretty much anything that’s animal of origin is mildly questionable.
It really was pretty easy for me to be a vegetarian over the summer because I’m generally adventurous. I love my fruits, veggies and fish (fish are food not friends, whoops sorry, Nemo.) I really will try anything once and stocked up on tasty salads with tofu, chickpeas, and edamame for protein. And I LOVE carbs. I read grilled cheese cookbooks like they’re fashion magazines and browse pasta recipes on Pinterest during AP chem, which kind of explains my grade in that class…anywho it was no hardship to be a vegetarian over the summer but I didn’t want to put the burden on my lovely mother who makes me dinner (almost) every night so I went back to eating meat.
In ye olde Catholic Church, it’s custom to give something up for Lent, the season leading up to Easter. This year I refrained from eating meat for the 40 days. I know this completely goes against everything I just said about not putting the responsibility on my mom, but she was a little more receptive of this idea this time around, probably because it was sort of for Jesus. Side note: this post was not written with the intent of converting any to Catholicism nor Vegetarianism, though I think they’re both pretty cool, but you do you.
A friend of mine is a vegan and contrary to popular belief does not spontaneously combust when she goes 5 minutes without announcing her veganism. She told me once that since being vegan takes thought and planning it has taught her to be more mindful of her decisions in all aspects of her life. I think challenging yourself, even if, no especially if it’s something you are passionate about, is necessary for growth as a person. Even just trying a new food or recipe, perhaps a meat free one hmm? can give you a slightly different perspective on the way you make decisions.
Here are two whole days worth of some tasty meat free meals and snacks that don’t make you want to cry and run for the closest steakhouse:
Toast~ cream cheese/mashed avocado/sliced hard boiled egg/paprika (remember Mr. Salt & Mrs. Pepper’s baby girl? My goodness, spice has never been so adorable.)
Salad~ a handful of greens/a half cup of quinoa/two spoons of hummus/diced peppers, tomatoes, and carrots
A banana with peanut butter (yep, just spread it straight on the banana…apparently people think this is weird, but I don’t carry a portable toaster and bread ok?)
Ratatouille!! I cannot claim credit for this recipe in the slightest so here is a link to the one I always use. And please try not to think of Remy the rat while you make/eat this one.
Toast~ almond butter/ sliced banana/honey
Salad~ spinach/ strawberries/fresh mozzarella/avocado/edamame/balsamic vinegar (if you like)
Celery with cream cheese (either spread on ants on a log style or dipped in)
Angel hair pasta, buttered and garliced to taste with shrimp (here’s a recipe if you are in need of assistance)
~bon apetit, friends~
Feast your eyes on these meat free meals: