Whew! I’m back.. with a Reverse Meatless Monday recap

It’s been a couple weeks, but I’m back. I had to take a little break. Things just got too crazy, and I couldn’t find the time to fit in this long overdue update to Reverse Meatless Monday.

First, the Hubs and I went on our annual pilgrimage to Vegas. Then, when we got home, I had to hit the ground running at work. This has happened three times this summer, and I vow I’ll never do it again–be out of the office for more than a couple days and the first day back have interim meetings all day for the next three days.

But let’s get down to business, shall we?

This is what I ate the last few days of Reverse Meatless Monday:

 Clockwise starting at top: chick pea and quinoa stuffed peppers from the Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook, sauted brussel sprouts (without bacon grease–who knew?!?); fried green tomatoes and graniteed broccoli; Bridge Brew Works Moxxee Stout at Pies and Pints; and pizza with tomatoes, carmelized onions and mozzarella, and “The Mothership” tomato salad from Jamie At Home.
The quinoa and chick pea stuffed peppers were amazing and surprisingly filling. We love quinoa, and when I see a recipe for it, my curiosity is always piqued, especially when it also has goat cheese in it. I also, had both brussel sprouts and fried green tomatoes using without bacon grease. And it was good! More vegetables without bacon grease might be in my future! One night of the last week of the project, we went out to eat at one of our favorite local haunts, Pies and Pints. They serve great draft beers (naturally) and Bridge Brew Works is a Fayetteville outfit turning out some fantastic beers. I am a dark beer lover, and I couldn’t resist their offering that uses coffee from a local coffee shop. Delicious! About half of the specialty pizzas on Pies and Pints’s menu are meatless, so it’s a great option for vegetarians. Those pizzas will even satisfy meat eaters. Finally, I made pizza at home from some dough I had in the freezer. I really need a pizza stone. I vow to not make homemade pizza again until I get one. My pizza crust has been getting progressively worse each time I make it. But caprese on the side of sad pizza cheered me right up.
I intended to do a final recap of my Reverse Meatless Monday project, which was us not eating meat except for one day a week, for the entire month of August. Here’s what I learned:
The project was more difficult than I expected! But it was a “challenge,” so I didn’t want it to be a walk in the park. I wanted to take something away from it and learn something from it. And I did, so mission accomplished.

The project’s difficulty surprised me for a number of reasons. First, I did not realize how little some restaurants offer by way of meatless choices. Sometimes it’s a real challenge to find something on the menu besides a side salad. Who wants to go out to eat and get a bowl of iceberg lettuce and mealy tomatoes and shredded cheddar cheese? I have a new appreciation for vegetarians who are stuck with these places and have to be a little creative when it comes to ordering.

Another reason, and perhaps the biggest surprise, was how sensitve my body really is to what I’m eating. At the start of the challenge, I figured we could just have fresh green beans out of the garden and grilled squash for dinner, or whatever happened to be in the garden, every evening. But about a week and half into the challenge, I noticed how much of profound difference this was making to my energy level. I needed to be going to the gym after work, but instead, I felt like I could barely put one foot in front of the other to make it to my car from my office. How is this supposed to be making me healthier if I don’t have the energy to work out? Being a vegetarian takes thought and planning, I learned. I needed to seek out alternative sources of protein to fill the void that meat had left. The day this really hit home was when we were heading out for wings and beer on our “meat” day to celebrate Jeremy being home from travelling for work. I came home and took a nap because I was so tired, then we headed out to get wings, and I noticed handfuls of hair on my shoulders!!! Sure enough, not getting enough protein can cause your hair to fall out. After that day, I made an effort to find some other sources of protein to work into the meals. Which means researching what foods are high in protein, and planning and more time spent trying to figure out what to make for dinner. Add to the challenge of all that, that Jeremy doesn’t really like beans. Only likes eggs fried. Is iffy on tofu. Seitan is out of the question for him. So, that doesn’t leave me many choices. We ate a lot of quinoa and cheese.

We would have spent less on food for the month, but I felt like since we weren’t eating meat, it freed up money to spend on better quality food that we were buying. I bought the “good” cheese and lots and lots of beautiful vegetables and fancy things I wouldn’t normally buy. We definitely ate better quality food during the month.

I like the concept of Meatless Monday. There’s no doubt it will impact your food budget and waistline in a positive way. And it’s been well documented how it is the single-most significant change we can make to reduce our carbon footprint. I do plan to keep up Meatless Monday. However, so I appreciated that steak the first time I had it in September.

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