Tuesday, October 4, 2011

One Week Down, One Month To Go

I've toyed with the idea of vegetarianism for years.

I went a year and a half without a touch of red meat - in high school, after a gruesome story-telling session with the father in a family I was babysitting for, who insisted on telling me about his time working at a slaughterhouse in Texas.

I cut out red meat entirely and without much problem. I became accustomed to looking for the chicken entree on the menu, even in the finest of steakhouses.

Slowly, and I'm not even sure how, I forgot about the horror stories and red meat came back into my diet. But I'm not sure I ever fully re-incorporated it. At most, I'd eat red meat a couple times a month. In fact, if I was on my own or ordering in a restaurant, I'd naturally gravitate toward the vegetarian option.

So when Jeff brought up the idea last month of experimenting with pescitarianism I was totally on-board. Truth me told, it wouldn't be too far from the way I eat normally anyway. We discussed the experiment while out on a 50-mile bike ride, talking mostly about health benefits and weight control during our off-riding months that are rapidly approaching. (total sad face)

Pescitarians are basically vegetarians who eat fish and seafood. (I love sushi too much to think about giving that up!)

We chose to try this way of eating not for animal rights (although, I do love those big, brown cow eyes and sometimes wonder how I could eat such a seemingly friendly, gentle creature). We're not trying to be trendy or make a statement of some kind.

I figure we could all stand to cut out some extra calories and other bad stuff that comes along with that juicy slab of steak on the plate. We're in it for health reasons. We're lucky that we're already pretty healthy - and we're just trying to stay that way for a long time.

Somewhere along that bike ride, Jeff and I agreed that we'd try pescitarianism for a week. If that went well, we'd do it for a month. After that, we'd see where it went.

We're about 10 days in now. (Guess that means we're in it for the rest of the month.) The first week went down without so much as a hiccup. In fact, I don't think I really changed much of my eating habits - except, perhaps, to make my eating choices a little more conscious.

I've noticed that I look at restaurant menus differently now, picking out things that are suitable to this new lifestyle. It's actually pretty easy. There are plenty of good choices, and our go-to favorite eateries have lots to offer. (It helps when you like Thai, Indian and other exotic cuisine.)

Our at-home menu for the week consisted of a roasted puntanesca sauce over gnocchi, a whole wheat harvest lasagna that lasted for days, veggie pizza options and chickpea salads. I'm mindful of the fact I don't want to replace the meat with loads of startchy carbs, and am looking forward to exploring the line-up of veggie meals planned. Ideas welcome.

One week (and then some) into our new way of eating and I feel great. I've lost three pounds (which was shocking because I felt like I've eaten more than I ever have and did absolutely zero exercise last week).

I really haven't missed meat at all. It's been an interesting change so far - one that I'm looking forward to carrying out for a while.

One week down. One month to go.