food for thought: my first weeks as a vegetarian

20 Jun

Time for some reflection and an update on my summer challenge.

I’ve been on the vegetarian train now for 2 1/2 weeks. So far, so good. I do not feel deprived at all. In fact, I think I have eaten a wider variety of foods than normal and even more fruits and veggies (which I didn’t think was possible).  I feel great. I don’t know that I feel any different yet, but overall, I feel great.

Thank you to all of you for your comments and suggestions and for checking in to make sure I’m sticking to it- I really appreciate it!

People’s reactions have been very interesting. Of course I have received the classic, “But where do you get your protein?”. That question likely deserves its own post as there is lot of debate over how much protein the body needs. But, regardless of how much protein you need, there are so many non-meat protein sources out there, it should not be a problem.  Here’s what my main sources of protein have been:

  • Tofu/Tempeh – though I limit this to 1-2 per week. My body handles soy well but there is debate over how much you should eat.
  • Beans, legumes & lentils – of all shapes and colors. I LOVE this category. Expect most recipes I post this summer to include these.
  • Quinoa,  millet and whole wheat pastas – all high protein grains. Bonus: They are super tasty.
  • Eggs and cheese
  • Greek yogurt
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Vegetables and fruits (x 100) – did you know they have protein? Okay, not as much as a piece of chicken, but in the quantities I eat them, it counts.

So here are some of my other favorite comments and questions I have received when I’ve told people about my summer challenge of being a vegetarian.

  • “What will you eat?” This one makes me chuckle. It was asked as if I was the first vegetarian to ever walk the earth.

Answer: See above. In addition to those items, I also eat oatmeal, bread, chocolate, and red wine.

  • “Why?” Said with a “you must be dumb” look on their face. How do you respond to that when you know no matter what you say, they’ll still think you’re crazy.

Answer: My common response: “I’m just trying this out to see how it feels and see if I can notice a difference.”  I don’t get in to anything political unless I’m baited. :)

  • “Congrats – good for you!!” This one made me smile. It was genuine and sincere, like I had just told her I had gotten married or found out I was pregnant or something (by the way, I’m not).
  • “Can you do that and still work out?” Why, yes, yes I can. In fact, a lot of my inspiration came from Matt over at No Meat Athlete and the book “Thrive” by Brendan Brazier. Both of them are serious athletes and are not only vegetarians but……vegans! (cue the horror music).  There are a growing number of vegetarian and vegan athletes out there.  Both Matt and Brendan claim their performance improved by cutting out the meat. For me, that would mean being able to run a 1/2 marathon in a 10 minute mile pace. Did I just say that out loud? Like it’s my goal for the 1/2 in October? Did I even mention I was signed up for one? Well, now it’s out there. I’m doing a half marathon (my second) in Mankato, MN on 10/23 and I’d like to run it in 2 hours and 11 minutes. That would be 10 minutes faster than the half marathon I ran in San Francisco almost 2 years ago. That would also be super cool.

I’m going to save my observations regarding eating out as a vegetarian for a later post, but so far, it’s been hit or miss. There is definitely opportunity for improvement.

For now, I’m curious of the reactions any of my vegetarian readers  experienced when they pulled the plug on meat.

Odd questions? Awkward moments? Please share!

One Response to “food for thought: my first weeks as a vegetarian”

  1. steve jewell June 20, 2010 at 8:51 pm #

    Nice going, poopsie! As for your race training, let’s go for an easy run this summer!

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