Monday, January 31, 2011

The Vegetarian Transcript

This evening marked the end of our month long vegetarian odyssey!  We finished out our adventure with a lovely tofu stir fry and a little conversation about our experience for the month.  I have included a transcript of our conversation below.  Enjoy!
Well, we're done!  We should probably talk about what this experience has done for our family. Personally, I loved the newness of these Monday through Friday meals.  Living with such a tight schedule saps a lot of my week-night kitchen creativity and these meals were both satisfying to cook and to eat.  My favorite dinners were the Greek Whole Grain Pizza and the Hominy and Sweet Potato Chili.
I thought this was an excellent experience and I found myself being more thoughtful about my choices throughout the day.  I went a little lower on the food chain and learned I don't need meat with every meal.  My favorite dinners were the Cabbage and Tofu Stir Fry and the Lentil Shepard's Pie.
When you are a vegetarian you have to think about it all the time.  It is so easy to misstep, but being a vegetarian feels really good for your body.  My favorite dinners were the Potato and Eggs and the Olive Pasta I had with Mom.
When you eat vegetarian for so long and you get to eat one bite of meat it tastes better than it ever has before!  My favorite dinners were the the Spinach Brown Rice and Eggs and the Quiche.

Emma:  Honestly, I think I could keep this up if we could eat meat like two days a week.
Finn:  Whoa!  I'm gonna disagree!  I REALLY missed the meat so I'd say I'd like meat three days a week.
Mel:  So you could eat vegetarian four days a week?
Finn:  Yep, I could totally do that as long as you throw down at least one day a week.  Like maybe Sundays.
Leif:  I could easily eat a vegetarian diet four to five days per week.
Mel:  I think that would make us Flexatarians!
Emma:  Besides I bet this saved us money.  Isn't meat expensive?
Mel:  I think we did save some money and we ate an almost all organic diet in the dead of a Chicago winter.  We also hardly had any pasta.  I am not an expert, but I'd bet that is a big mistake people make when they drop meat from their diet.  We ate a ton of whole grains, beans, and fresh veggies.  Super healthy!

Mel:  Here is the big question.  What do you want for dinner tomorrow?
Emma:  Greek Chicken Feta Pitas!
Finn:  Steak and Crab Legs.  Hey, I missed it okay?
Mel:  So much for saving money!
Leif:  Should I say something vegetarian?
Mel:  Nope.  Just say what you really want.
Leif: Okay, I want some ribs.  That's how I'm feeling right now, but you can put some beautiful  veggies next to them!
Emma: Mom?
Mel:  I want some more tofu!
Emma: Honest?
Mel:  No.  I'd like a pork chop, but I'd be fine with tofu for a few days after that.

Mel:  Did you ever cheat at lunch when you were on your own?
Finn:  Once.  I ate a turkey sandwich instead of a salad.
Mel:  Only once? 
Finn:  Yep.  Just once.
Mel:  What did your friends think?
Finn:  They didn't seem to care.  Except for Clare because she is a vegetarian, too.
Emma:  My friends thought it was really cool, but I cheated in Family Consumer Ed.  We learned to cook bacon and I totally ate some.  Who can blame me?
Leif: No-One.
Finn:  Yeah, everything is better with bacon.
Leif:  Cheat is such a harsh word.  I'll say I deviated from the plan while I was chaperoning the outdoor education field trip.  I willingly participated in turkey taco night.
Finn:  What?  I TOTALLY ate vegetarian that night!
Emma:  Mom?
Mel:  I cheated when I had lunch at Cemitas Puebla.  I had the vegetarian cemita, but also had a taco arabes.  It was totally worth it!

Mel:  What have you learned from this experience?
Emma:  I learned there are so many good choices to make out there.  Skip the salami and take a salad; you'll feel so much better!
Leif:  A couple of underscored the importance of thinking about what you are eating.  Food choices impact your personal heath and energy levels, but there are deeper global and environmental aspects to altering the amount of meat you consume.  What an easy way to reduce our carbon foot print!
Finn: I learned that when you put your mind to something it isn't that hard to complete it.
Mel:  Cool.  Thanks guys!

The truth is were were a meat for dinner everyday kind of family and all four of us can count the number of times we consumed meat of any kind in the past 31 days on one hand.  This experience has completely shifted the way we view our family table and I don't think we could ever go back.
  Thanks to Emily from Eat Close to Home for being our guide for the month!  You would be welcome at our table anytime!


Anonymous said...

Y'all made my month. :) Glad you enjoyed it so much!


Nubia said...

I looooove the way you captured everyone's experience...what a fun read.

Two things....I need this hominy, sweet potato recipe! Oh my heaven - two of my favorite things! I made a fake semi-veggie chili today (pinto beans, hominy, tomatillo, jalapeno, tomatoes, and "chicken" stock). I usually add celery to it but forgot I had it.

Second - I have YET to go to Cemitas Puebla. We may need to make a date to go!

Lastly, I love that everyone indulged in a little carnivore celebration and owned up to it. But it was a minor deviation that everyone thought about! I might decide to give this a shot. hmmmmm

Mel said...

Nubia, you can get the recipes on the vegetarian page under my blog header! Give them all a try. Emily makes a similar chili and I just added the sweet potato. It is a serious yum!

Alex Quici said...

I stumbled on your blog totally by accident and have enjoyed reading your posts. My wife and I (also married 14 years) haven't eaten meat (except the occasional fish) for about 20 years, so it was fun to read how you guys did it for one month. Good job and...happy eating! Now I think I'll go check out some of those recipes.

Anonymous said...

What an open-minded family you are! Congratulations on trying something different.

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