I went vegetarian for the month of January.
I really just wanted to see if I could do it. Turns out, it was surprisingly easy.
This was not done with political or moral convictions on my mind, as I have no problems with consuming meat and entered the month knowing it was not to be a permanent conversion. Still, it was an eye-opening and educating experience and I feel like I’m the better for it.
For example, seeing restaurants through the vegetarian lens was quite enlightening. Suddenly, I had to actually pause and think before heading out to make sure that the location of choice was accommodating enough. Not that this was a huge dilemma, since Austin, it turns out, is an incredibly vegetarian-friendly city and I didn’t suffer through the month feeling like a martyr, because I most assuredly was not one.
I didn’t even bother telling most people about my little personal challenge, although my friends and coworkers inevitably found out. There was a lot of expected teasing, and both my omnivorous and vegetarian friends were intrigued that I would dare to attempt such a feat with my infamous appetite.
I did feel hungrier than usual at the beginning of the month, but that feeling quickly went away as I ate smaller portions more frequently. Toward the end I felt perfectly normal. One thing I liked about this month was that it forced me to better plan my meals ahead, and I had to cook for myself almost every day. My consumption definitely became healthier, since I didn’t fill up on carbohydrates and ate a lot more raw vegetables. I took a few pictures of things I ate through the month, but I just decided it’s not worth posting them here because I was a poor documentarian and forgot to take pictures of the more interesting things I cooked. Oh, well.
Despite this, I don’t think I lost much if any weight through the month, though I forgot to weigh myself at the very beginning of it. I didn’t work out less, and I didn’t notice an appreciable change in my energy levels.
The question I got most from “meat-eaters” was something along the lines of “Aren’t vegetarian diets dangerous because you might miss some nutrients you can only get from meat?” Most people I heard this from didn’t even know what those nutrients are. Being essentially raised by two nutritionists made this easy for me, since I was already aware of these potential issues going in. I compensated by choosing specific foods and taking some dietary supplements.
The question I got most from vegetarians and vegans was “So are you going to eat meat again after this month?” The answer to that was always yes, and I doubt anything would have changed my mind. Sorry, folks. Meat is just too dang delicious.
I just ate my last vegetarian meal for the month: An omelet with peppers, onions, tomatoes and mushrooms. What, you think I was going to give up eggs, too?