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Lent and what it meant.

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So as you may remember, I gave up meat for Lent (except for seafood). I had been abstaining from meat for a while, but I decided to try and make the big change over Lent. Verdict? It wasn’t that hard. The worst was going to events/places where there were absolutely no options. And the only real time that was a problem was when I went to a fraternity event with Jonathan and it was allll BBQ. And mayonnaise. (Ick.)

I was able to get all kinds of creative in the kitchen.


So much good stuff…and recipes to come.

I ate good food at various restaurants…


The last one would be veggie Chicago-style deep-dish from Tortuga’s. Oh, how I love Tortuga’s. I was able to find good options pretty much everywhere I went. Of course, it helped that I was still eating seafood.


Oh, and I went to three weddings while I was a vegetarian. Above is a plate from my favorite. So many fresh, delicious options!

The main question now, at least for me, is will I continue on with the vegetarian diet? And my answer is a little tricky. I was considering becoming vegetarian for a while, and for several reasons. I’d felt a strong urge to stop eating meat, and it intensified after watching the movie Food Inc.

The movie doesn’t use scare tactics like some others do, but it basically makes you feel more informed. And it opens your eyes to a lot of dirty practices in the food industry. It made me want to make better choices.

I had thought that when I finished abstaining from meat, I’d go from there. And my thoughts were that if I decided to eat meat, I’d make smart choices.

And I think I still feel that way, but I’d be lying if I said all the meat I’ve eaten since Easter has been organic, grass-fed, and so on. It was really hard to actually get used to eating meat again. I had ham on Easter, and then I think I had it twice that first week. Since then, I’ve not really gone out of my way to order, cook or eat meat.

Well, I did last week, but more on that later.

I think I”m eventually going to transition back into the pescatarian lifestyle. In the end, what you eat is very personal, and it’s nobody’s business how I choose to eat. I don’t want to label myself.

Sooo…as I said, I tried a lot of delicious recipes, and I can’t wait to share them all with you in the coming weeks! Now tell me—have you ever experimented with meatless eating? Thoughts? I know Jaclyn just ended a long-term relationship with vegetarianism, and she couldn’t be happier. One word: bacon!


11 responses »

  1. Eating less meat has been important to me for a while, not just for health reasons but for the ethical/environmental reasons too. I think it is easier for me than some people because I’ve never been a huge meat eater and I really love vegetables. That said, I will occasionally have a hamburger or BBQ sandwich if I want it, although most weeks I eat a mostly plant-based diet.
    I rarely buy meat to cook unless it is for someone else, and I honestly don’t even think about it at the grocery store. Eating mostly vegetarian or vegan foods has helped me find new dishes and cuisines that I love.
    I’m glad you were able to find good foods to eat during Lent, and I think you’re right that food choices are very personal.

    • I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to maintain a veg diet because of my dislike towards salad. That’s right, I said it—I hate lettuce. I’m not crazy about raw spinach, either. But then I learned that there a million other vegetables that I love, and that I don’t need meat to be complete (I’m rhyming up a STORM in these comments). And I think one of the best things that came out of my Lent experiment was my learning about all these unique dishes that have NO meat.

  2. I think there’s a lot to be said for a vegetarian diet and meatless or mostly meatless living. The fact of the matter is that Americans simply consume too much meat (and too much of everything else EXCEPT fruits and vegetables) and that we don’t need meat at every meal just because it’s available to us. Abstaining from meat several times a week or even for one meal a day helps the environment indefinitely. Buying organic eggs, dairy, and meat when possible helps put votes toward farmers who practice safe, sustainable farming, and the more people who do it, the lower organic prices will get, and then they’ll be more affordable for everyone.

    For me, getting back on meat has made two significant improvements in my health–first, my vitamin B12 levels are finally normalizing, which has helped my sleeping habits (I’ve slept without prescription sleeping pills for several weeks now, for the first time in my life), it’s helped decrease my depression to nonexistent levels, and it’s helped my recovery time between workouts. Second, cutting soy out of my diet has helped my estrogen levels normalize, which has cleared up my skin in ways my doctor told me was impossible. I also think cutting the soy helped defeat the depression.

    I’ve kind of come to the conclusion that there are some of us who need animal protein and there are those of us who don’t. Despite the fact that I was a good vegetarian, I was careful to get protein and iron, I supplemented with multi-vitamins, I ate tons of fruits and vegetables and healthy fats, I was not able to keep my body working at its best on a vegetarian diet. I know some people who function better on one. It comes down to what’s right for you and your body. I think a lot of it has to do with genetics, culture, and family history as well. There are cultures that are completely vegetarian and they thrive on that diet because they’ve evolved to do so. There are others that don’t. I’ve also observed that “vegetarians” who are actually pescatarians tend to look and seem in better health than straight veggies or vegans.

    And I totally agree with you, what we eat is really personal and there’s little need for labels. The hardest thing for me about giving up vegetarianism was losing the identity, but once I started reaping the benefits of getting off soy, I got over it really quickly.

    I’m glad you enjoyed your stint in meatless eating! I think the best thing about it is how many new things you’re suddenly inclined to try! That was without a doubt the most valuable thing about my time as a veg. If I’d never gone veg I may have never met and fallen in love with mushrooms, the food of the gods.

    I’ll shut up now.

    • I should title this comment “Jaclyn’s Companion Piece to Summer’s Blog.” But seriously, that’s a wealth of information to take in! And you’re so right about some people being to function without meat and some not able to. I feel drawn to eat a veg diet, but I’m not sure if it’s best for me. And I TOTALLY agree about the notion of losing the identity. I’ve heard people bash others for saying they eat a “mostly vegetarian diet”—which I do—and say it’s all or nothing. I think that just goes back to the fact that it’s a very personal decision.

  3. Our “going vegetarian” stories could not be more different! For years I had been well aware of all the health, environmental and ethical reasons for going vegetarian but had not given it that much serious though. Then, for some reason, one day, I just decided, “What the hell, I’m going to go vegetarian. Sounds like a good thing to do.” I quit “cold turkey” (sorry for the somewhat inappropriate pun, haha!) and haven’t turned back since. It has been one of the best decisions I have ever made! Whatever decision you make, I wish you the best of luck 🙂

    • Thanks girl! And that’s pretty impressive, just up and giving meat the ol’ heave-ho (LLOLs for the cold turkey ref—I had a veg friend who wasn’t sure if she could still say “kill two bird with one stone”). I’m still in the deliberation process.

  4. I’m so proud of you for giving up meat for Lent and sticking to it! I gave up trying to live without cheese about the second week in. I think it’s a good idea to lessen the amount of meat I eat, especially red meat, but to also find ways to get my protein, since I find it so essential to fuel my workouts and keep me feeling satisfied between meals. I must say, though, the veggie items you cooked up look sensational! Anytime you wanna have me over for a meatless meal, I’m game! (No pun intended.)

    • Thank you m’am! I enjoyed experimenting with veg dishes. And cheese is a tough one—I gave it up for Lent last year, and I found it to be much harder. I do agree with Jaclyn that most Americans eat too much meat, and a lot of us are getting way over the amount of protein we need without realizing. Some great sources: Greek yogurt, cheese, nuts, and many more. I mean, in the protein department, meat is definitely tough to beat, but there are ways.

      Sweet pun 🙂 I’ll cook vegetarian dishes for you anytime!

  5. I’m very proud of you, Summer. You are definitely doing something I couldn’t. But, you are so right, what you eat is very personal. And I agree with above comments, some people can do it and some people can’t. It’s my damn dad’s fault for introducing me to bacon……
    But, I don’t eat meat every day. And usually when we do, it’s chicken (which I know, in no way, makes it any better). Unforunately, I like meat. And you know most women don’t like change. Hmmm, I wonder how I would live without carbs? Don’t even want to think about it……(I love you rice.)

    • Aw, thanks girl! I’m still decided if meat free is right for me (I love rhymes). And I’m afraid there’s going to be an imbalance between what my body needs and what my heart wants. It’s a big decision!

      There’s no way in hell I’m going without carbs. I’d go from carby to crabby in less than a day, I’m sure of it.

  6. Pingback: who wants man meat? « that's what summer said.

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