Tuesday, January 16, 2007

My So-Called Vegetarian Life

So in my previous post, I declared myself a late blooming Seahawks fan. (Last year I tried the same thing) Knowing they were going to be playing the Chicago Bears I decided to make a little wager with Rob Woolen, a friend and former co-worker from BEA days. He's a vegetarian and I used to always give him grief, I also used to always convince him to go camping. The conversation usually went something like this :

me : You should go camping with me
rob : Why would I want to sleep on the ground when I can sleep at the Hyatt?
me : Because where I go there are no Hyatts.
rob: Why would I want to go there if there isn't a Hyatt?

Now to be fair to Rob, (and I am all about being fair), he is not some outdoor wimp, he has hiked Half Dome twice, he just likes a soft cushy bed.

So after my gauntlet was thrown I got this mail from Rob :
Okay... I've given it some thought...

In the unlikely event the great Monsters of the Midway
lose to the lowly 10-7 Seahawks, I will drag my poor
fiancÚ into the woods and subject her to the horror of
watching me go camping. None of that pseudo-hotel
stuff either. I'll be sleeping in a tent in the
outdoors. I'll chronicle the adventure with some nice
photos of me wishing I was in the Hyatt and post them
to flickr.

If the mighty 13-3 Bears win, you will sample the
vegetarian lifestyle for a week. You don't need to
go vegan. Even I feel that live without cheese is
not a good idea.

Are you in?

So I committed, and tivo'd the game while I was at church. The game was close, and went into overtime, but sadly the Seahawks were defeated 27 to 24 by the Bears. So began my week as a Vegetarian. Here are the details of what I ate, some general comments afterward.


Breakfast : 2 pieces of raisin toast
Lunch : Green Leaf : Vietnamese Vegetarian Grilled Tofu "Ham" Noodles with Fish Sauce
Dinner : Spinach Salad : pear, craisens, honey roasted sliced almonds, goat cheese and fat free balsamic vinaigrette dressing


Breakfast : Cold Cereal : muselix
Lunch : Specialities Vegetarian sandwich
Dinner : Spaghetti with goat cheese and marinara


Breakfast : 2 pieces of raisin toast
Lunch : Specialties Roasted Veggie sandwich and a chocolate chip cookie (Cause I deserve it cause I don't eat meat) and the cookie was way too much, too big and made me feel gross.
Dinner : 2 Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches


Breakfast : 2 pieces of raisin toast and apple turnover (Our team offsite)
Lunch : 1 Veggie wrap, fritos, fruit salad and 1/2 peanut butter cookies. The veggie wraps were some of the worst food I have had, it was like someone walked up to the veggie bar, dumped in a tortilla, wrapped it up and said "here you go", there was no flavor and it way too much just veggies.
Dinner : Team Dinner : Hummus Appetizer, Cheese Plate, 1/2 House Salad vinaigrette, cheese, candied almonds, and a wild mushroom and cheese tortilini in some very soupy like broth


Breakfast : Bowl of Frosted Mini-Wheats
Lunch : Went back to Green Leaf : Vietnamese Vegetarian Fried Tofu "Ham" Noodles with Fish Sauce, one of the best dishes I have had all week.
Dinner : California Pizza Kitchen. 1/2 Green Salad, Gorgonzola cheese, balsamic vinaigrette, apples & 1/2 margherita pizza


Breakfast : Bowl of Frosted Mini-Wheats
Lunch : Chipotle : Vegetarian Burrito Bol with black beans, fajita veggies and guacamole
Dinner : Cheese Pizza and breadsticks from Round Robin


Breakfast : 2 pieces of cinnamon raisin toast
Lunch : Asparagus Risotto with Essential Bakery Fremont Sour (The rest of the family had salmon as well)
Dinner : hors d'oeuvre, garlic melba toast with goat cheese and sundried tomatoes, muffaletta and grilled red peppers


So how was it? All in all not bad. First a note, that since it wasn't a major lifestyle choice for me I didn't have a lot of thought or shopping preparation on protein replacement. I mostly ate what I would normally eat, I just removed the meat, so that could definitely skew my perceptions.

In general I did find that I felt like I lacked energy, I felt a weakish hollow at the core of my being and in my arms. Not always, all day long, but in between meals as the last one got further away and the next one got closer.

I also noticed that other veggies tend to congregate, I found Jenn, to be talking "hey let's go get some veggie food" bent with me, like I had entered some secret veggie club. ;) And I experienced what I have heard many times from my veggie friends, that places that don't think about vegetarian and are asked to prepare things meat-free usually just go to the salad bar and bring you a plate of raw produce. Vegetarian dishes need not be bland or lacking in flavor, I had some great meals.

And being on the opposite end of the non-veggie banter, I found that a lot of people gave me grief for being vegetarian (ahh karma, not so instant but in my face none the less). They tried to convince me to eat meat, ("Rob will never know") and just in general nagged at me for being vegetarian. At dinner on Friday night I got major pressure from my wife and the Chamberlains about getting chicken on my pizza. ("You can just pick it off"). I was pretty determined to be true to my vegetarian lifestyle, even if it was only for a week, and didn't bend or break. But it did get old being harassed about it at almost every meal

And now its over, tomorrow I go back to my meat-ful life. What did I learn? I should be more tolerant of folks who are vegetarian, particularly not give them such a hard time, its annoying. I did find that many things, which were well prepared, tasted lighter and fresher and with meat I often felt "heavy". I think I have a dedication to eat a bit lighter and not be so heavy about what I consume. I am definitely going be eating meat, but a bit more sparingly (no more hot dogs I think) and bit more prudently. While I lost it was interesting to be sure. Now I just gotta figure out what I can do to get Rob to go camping! :)



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not vegetarian myself, but, I have had some excellent vegetarian food here in Seattle. Especially at Cafe Flora, over in Madison Park. Give it a try sometime; you won't think about the fact that it's vegetarian, it's just really good food. :)

7:42 AM  
Blogger Rob said...

Glad you survived and somewhat enjoyed the week. Losing to the Super Bowl champions in OT can't make you feel that bad :>

PS Fish Sauce? What plant was used to make that?

11:23 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

We'll see what happens with the Super Bowl, as far as I know it hasn't been played yet :)

I am not sure what was in the "Fish Sauce", but it didn't taste fishy at all, its mostly vinegar sweet tasting stuff. I guess there may have been some fish in there, though it didn't taste fishy, just vinegarish. I am hoping that it was the vege fish sauce just like the fried "ham" tofu. :)

11:38 AM  
Blogger Tina said...

Hmmmm...I was wondering about the fish sauce, too. But hallelujah to "Vegetarian dishes need not be bland or lacking in flavor..." We veggies gave up meat not taste!

8:15 AM  

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