Vegetarian: Days 1-3

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9 February 2008

For the last five years or so, I’ve given up something for Lent. One year it was caffeine, one year it was TV, etc. I’m not Catholic (or even Christian, for that matter), but I believe that giving up something for a period of time is beneficial, so I use Lent as an easy marker for when I should do that. This year, I’m giving up meat. Specifically, I’m following my wife’s rules: no meat, no food that contains meat products (like gelatin), but eggs and dairy are OK. I’m told that makes her an “ovo-lacto vegetarian,” so that’s what I’ll be during the 40 days of Lent. (I will remain vegetarian on Sundays.)

That “no meat products” rule eliminates a number of seemingly safe foods: most soups, most candy bars, some nuts, and many cheeses.

I plan to periodically blog my menus and my observations about the experience here. My hope is that there will be something interesting to be gleaned by the end :)

Day 1 – Wednesday, February 6th

Breakfast: A granola bar
Lunch: Cheese pizza and chips
Dinner: Assorted cheeses, crackers, and carrots

Kristina and I occasionally go to McDonald’s for breakfast. She’s never been very excited about it, and now I understand why – having to take the meat off everything makes it just not taste good.

Day 2

Breakfast: A granola bar
Lunch: A salad (with artichoke hearts, which I don’t like)
Dinner: Went to Brio, split an iceberg wedge (no bacon!) with Kristina, had a pasta dish with sun-dried tomatoes, basil, other stuff

My company has arranged to have a different restaurant vendor (Cosi, Potbelly, etc.) come to the office every day, selling lunch to whomever wants it. I almost always just grab whatever is available for lunch, and eat at my desk, because it’s generally tasty, convenient, and inexpensive. Today, I only had one choice: that salad with artichoke hearts. Crap.

Day 3

Breakfast: A goats-milk blueberry yogurt (I’m semi-lactose-intolerant)
Lunch: Macaroni-and-cheese and coleslaw
Dinner: Pizza with mushrooms, onions, olives, and jalapeƱos

My department had ordered a pizza lunch for everyone, but I got there late. I was glad to see that there was still pizza left, and forgot that I needed vegetarian pizza. So I loaded up my plate, and then realized what I was doing, and then realized that the vegetarian pizza was already all gone. Crap.

So I went to the restaurant vendor, who was selling… barbecue. I had two sides: macaroni-and-cheese and coleslaw. Yummy.

We talked about going to a couple of restaurants for dinner, but none of them seemed appealing now that most of the menu was off-limits. So we ordered pizza, which was actually a tasty choice.

Also, I noticed yesterday that my sense of smell seemed better than usual. Kristina has always had a very strong sense of smell. Related? I’m not sure yet.

  1. Dad says:

    If your experience is like mine was, you may find yourself feeling ‘lighter.’

    I lived with a ‘vegan’ couple for one summer during college and really liked how I felt.

    The difficulty in vegetarian diet like this is finding options (fast food or recipe) and keeping a healthy balance in your diet as I sure you already know.

    Good luck…makes me want to reduce my meat consumption too.

  2. Matt says:

    Just a quick piece of trivia – assuming March 23rd (Easter) is your termination date, then your fast will not be the usual 40 days unless you skip Sundays. Ash Wednesday to Easter is more than 40 days.

    I’ll be interested to see if you want to go back to your pre-Lent consumption when you’re done. If so, Stoney River has the best steak I’ve ever eaten in my life, and I’d love to be there when you revert back to being a carnivore :-)

  3. Nathan Arthur says:

    You know, that’s funny. I had thought that would be the case (because I saw that the 40 days of Lent don’t include Sundays), but then I looked up the dates and subtracted, and got 40. So I figured I was just confused.

    After you posted your comment, I checked it again, and sure enough it’s 46 days (or 47 if you count Easter). My problem the last time? I’d looked at the Easter date from 2006, not from 2008. Ha!

    So yes, more than 40 days :)

  4. Stacy says:

    There’s even more reason to go vegetarian these days: According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, livestock farming contributes more to global warming than total worldwide transportation.


    google://climate change vegetarian

  5. Beth says:

    Candy bars, nuts, and cheeses have meat products?? Which ones?? Both this and your post about the election are fascinating to me. Thanks for interesting reading.

  6. Nathan Arthur says:

    Gelatin is the primary culprit in candy bars and nuts. I’d say that most candy bars have it, and some processed nuts do. (That link reminds me that gelatin is used to make the casing for most pills.)

    Many cheeses are made with animal rennet, so we have to read the labels carefully, and many of my (normally) favorite cheeses can’t be eaten by vegetarians.

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