Video: Are we natural meat eaters? (hint: no)

Are we natural meat eaters?

No.

If we were, we’d be able to kill the animals with our bare hands, open them up and eat the insides with ease and without being repulsed.

(Not a graphic video) Watch: (or click here if you can’t see it below)

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Vacationing as a veggie and other stuff

I stopped eating meat 10 months ago, it stemmed from adopting my piggies (read more here) yadda yadda, you probably know the details.

[More: Six months without meat, here’s what I’ve learned]

Anyway, Michael and I spent a week in Cape Cod earlier this month and it was the first time leaving our pigs for more than two nights and it was the longest trip I’ve taken since becoming a veggie.

I’ll admit now, I ate a lot of seafood. I don’t normally eat seafood (because fish have feelings, too, duh!) unless I’m in a bind (as in I’ll be stuck eating french fries or some other unhealthy food) or it’s a special occasion.

Cape Cod was a very special occasion. And I really, really wanted to enjoy fish and chips and all the other goods New England has to offer.

First I’ll say the vacation was one of the best I’ve ever had. We stayed at my grandparent’s vacation home in Falmouth (it’s been in the family forever … I know #spoiled). The company was great but what really stood out this time was that I had my anxiety under control, and my meals were (mostly) planned, I didn’t drink much and we stayed active.

Anxiety

I haven’t talked about this much on this blog but I just want to say a few quick things. I’ve struggled with anxiety my whole life. Some days are easy, some are hard but I usually manage to get through life without anyone noticing. When I travel, I typically set unrealistic expectations in my head and the trip never lives up to them. DON’T DO THIS. For this trip, I went in with no expectations, no set plans and had a goal to just relax and enjoy myself. And I did.

Side note: my pigs help exponentially with my anxiety! Nothing beats piggy love.

Food

Michael thinks I’m crazy, and TSA did, too, as they pulled out a bag of lemons, protein powder and a giant bag of almonds from my carry-on bag.

I have no shame. The lemons have been crucial in dealing with bloat and I always have a protein bar or powder with me.

The first day we woke up at the Cape, we hit the gym then the grocery store to get all my staples: fruit, veggies, hummus. yogurt, peanut butter and veggie eggs. (Yes, vegetarian eggs are a thing.)

We probably ate more meals at home than out which I’m 100 percent OK with because we make great food! I even had a vegan sausage with those bread-side hot dog rolls (also a thing, Google it) while everyone else ate their dogs.

The few times we did eat out, I definitely enjoyed some fried fish.

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Seafood platter for two at Seafood Sam’s in Falmouth, Mass

We went to my cousin’s house one night, she made kabobs. I asked if she minded if I brought my own kabobs to toss on the grill. Of course she was fine with that (my family is VERY supportive even though grandma forgets sometimes and offers me turkey). I found a veggie kabob kit at the store, threw them together and brought them over to her house.

I don’t want people to go out of their way for me so I try to do all the work if the menu needs to be altered for me.

I have no shame bringing my own food wherever we go. Example: on Mother’s Day, I brought my own giant salad while everyone else ordered takeout.

The piggies

The boys and our dog stayed home with their Grammy. I missed them terribly but I also enjoyed some time away and not getting up a the crack of dawn to feed them — though I admit, Michael is usually the one who gets up with them!

Grammy said they were well behaved. Pax, however, did steal his sister’s dog bed a few times. Paxton does not like when his routine is changed.

[More: Meet Paxton and meet Cooper]

When we arrived home, Pax looked excited to see me for about 10 seconds, then he snubbed me and acted like a brat for the next 18 hours. Clearly he was upset we left him for so long!

He finally gave in the next night, jumped up on the couch and snuggled me hard.

 

 

These are my favorite vegetarian foods

Everybody always wants to know what I eat.

Surprise, there’s so much more to life than eating animals 🐷🐔🦃🐄

I’m not perfect, I eat eggs sometimes and fish or shrimp probably once a month. I get it, we’ve been told our whole lives a meal isn’t a meal unless there’s meat.

More: Why I stopped eating meat (hint: cute pig involved)

It took me a while to convince myself that a main course can be a vegetable, pasta (edamame pasta preferably), beans or a substitute like tofu.

(Note: I’m not an expert, just explaining what I do and what works for me.)

Here’s what I’m eating these days:

1. Edamame

Too much soy is bad depending on who you talk to. I eat soy in different forms several times a week. Edamame is great steamed in shell or my favorite is to cook the individual beans and store them in the fridge to add to salad and wraps. They’re a good source of protein and good carbs.

We make an amazing salad or wrap filling using broccoli slaw, cold edamame, red onion, cucumber, hemp seeds and topped with a little olive oil, red wine vinegar and a few spices. You can add diced cheese for extra flavor. It stores well in the fridge for a day or two (the slaw doesn’t get soggy) and can be eaten on its own or in a wrap.

2. Sweet potatoes

This is my current obsession. Yes it’s a starchy carb but it’s on my good can list. We mix sautéed onions, hemp seeds and sautéed sweet potato rounds and top with over easy eggs. SO GOOD.

I also like to mix sweet potatoes with a bunch of other veggies and toss with hemp seeds for an easy lunch at work.

3. Nut tacos

Don’t laugh! It sounds funny but they are so good. I bake and top with avocado, spinach and red onion. Michael likes them, too. It’s great when you’re craving a junk(ish) dinner.

4. Protein bars

These save me in a bind. I bounce between vegan and non-vegan versions. The non-vegan versions have more protein. I look for 20g of protein and less than 30g of carbs. ONE Bars are one of my favorites.

More: Try this vegan chili recipe
More: Here’s what I eat in a day

5: Chia seeds

I’m hooked on chia pudding right now. Just mix the ingredients and cool in the refrigerator for an hour or two or overnight and then top with your faves,

• 2C almond milk
• 1/2C chia
• 1 scoop PB protein powder
• toppings like sliced strawberries and almonds

More:

• Hemp seeds
Amy’s No Chicken Noodle Soup is a good pantry staple
Tofu dumplings from Publix

More: Do you spend more money when you stop eating meat?

Bonus

I posted a friend’s review of the Beyond Burger a few months ago. I’ve finally had the chance to try it for myself.

Some very sweet friends of ours brought these on their boat for us to enjoy while we grilled out at the sandbar. They were great! The burger definitely gave us our burger fix. It’s true, they smell, taste and had the texture of a real burger.

A few restaurants carry the burgers now so it’s REALLY nice to have that option when we go out to eat.

 

This is the most relatable thing I’ve ever seen

Thanks Lisa Simpson, you are now my spirit animal.

How I feel every time I see meat:

(Link if you can’t see above video)

And factory farming …

(Link if you can’t see above video)

More: Six months without meat, this is what I’ve learned

6 months without meat; this is what I’ve learned

I’m about two weeks away from my 6-month mark of quitting meat.

You can call me an ethical vegetarian (I’ve learned a lot about labels) but I appreciate the health benefits, too.

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If you’re new around here, the long-story-short is, I adopted a pig and couldn’t fathom eating pork anymore. That eventually turned into giving up all meat and adopting a second pig. More on that here.

It’s been a fun, hard, sad, joyous and wine-filled journey. Here’s what I’ve learned:

Everybody wants to talk about what I eat

Whether it’s around the holiday dinner table where a relative insists on asking (seriously, every time I see them) why I’m doing this while also explaining all the reasons said person could never do it, or out with friends where someone is bound to speak for me to tell the server I don’t eat meat (when did I lose my ability to speak?) someone is always talking about my diet!

Shall we talk about your diet? How many calories did you eat today? “Hey waitress, don’t offer us any desserts because my friend is on a diet and can’t eat sugar.”

I would NEVER say either one of those things, so why must we continue to discuss what I put into my body?

Don’t get me wrong, if you have questions I am more than happy to answer them. Hell, I’m even fine discussing why I’m doing this. But what I don’t need is your reason for why you choose to eat meat, nor do I need you to speak for me (I know it’s because you care, but my diet is my business, not yours).

Besides, if steak is so good (one of many excuses I hear all the time), why do we have to cook it, season it and smother it with sauce? Just food for thought …

Going out to eat is hard

I knew it was going to be hard. But what’s really frustrating is when I find myself in situations where my only options for food are chips and salsa, mac ‘n cheese or french fries.

None of these are ideal. And yes, some restaurants don’t even have salad. But surprise! I don’t want eat salad for every meal!

This requires some planning. I always look at a menu before I go so I can decide if I need to make something at home before I go out. That way I can eat something filling and healthful at home and either drink my dinner (totally have done that) or plan to munch on the chips and salsa.

Yes, I’ve become that person at restaurants. I ask to make changes to items or question if there is bacon in the salad or mac ‘n cheese or, you know, everything on the menu because in America, there is bacon in everything.

I’ve made mistakes, sometimes on purpose

I don’t eat seafood because fish have feelings, too. Seriously, it’s been proven! But the thing is, I have had seafood I believe three time in six months.

Why? Once was at a restaurant with my grandparents. I was in desperate need of protein and was stuck with a non-vegetarian friendly menu, but I really wanted to take them there because they would enjoy it.

Another time I had a bite of Michael’s conch fritters because I was tipsy at a bar and very hungry.

And one time I ordered shrimp. I don’t know why. They were gross.

Update: I went to a seafood festival this weekend and ate a lot of fried clams. No shark for me though!

I want to be vegan

I’ve touted myself as vegan(ish) a few times, which I still identify with. Some days I will eat completely vegan (no dairy or any animal products) and some days I’ll have eggs and cheese.

Yes, I know youcould never give up cheese, I’ve heard that so many times.

I can and I want to because the dairy industry is horrible! But it’s hard. Michael still eats dairy and some days it’s just easier to have to quesadilla (he makes bomb tofu quesadillas) than to figure out alternatives or eat vegan cheese which is, well, interesting.

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Great vegetarian meal but the cauliflower cups have eggs and cheese

Faux meat baffles me

We’ve been eating more faux meats lately, mostly because we both desperately need the protein. We both lift weights 4-6 days a week.

The faux chicken has the same taste and texture is real chicken. How we can manipulate soy and other stuff to emulate meat completely baffles me — and totally grosses me out.

I have to track my carbs

I track protein, too, because when you give up meat, you typically head to carb-rich foods to fill that void (give me all the pasta!).

I learned pretty quick that wasn’t going to work with my body.

I never used to eat pasta and I still don’t. I’ve found other things to fill me.

Some days are really hard

aaa

Yes, I’m still missing those damn chicken wings. And some days I lose my focus and ask myself, “why am I doing this?” “Am I really making a difference?”

Yes, I am making a difference. I remind myself that no animal deserves to be killed (typically in a horrible manner) so I can enjoy a meal of its flesh.

Pass the spinach please!

I’m really happy with my choice

I get to look into the eyes of my two pigs every day and know that because of them, I’m  doing my part in this world to fight animal cruelty, speciesism, factory farming and the slaughtering of millions of animals every day.

That’s something I’m proud of ❤

Try this easy vegan chili

My family was in town for a few days and I wanted something easy to make and keep in the fridge for me or them to eat whenever.

I used to make a great turkey chili so I reworked the recipe to make it vegan.

My meat-loving grandfather even enjoyed it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium white onion
  • A few garlic cloves
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 small can of diced green chilis
  • 1 small can of tomato sauce
  • 1 medium can of diced tomatoes
  • Beans, beans, beans (whatever kind you like) around 4-6 cups.
  • 3 tbs chili powder and any other seasonings like black pepper or garlic

Toppings (optional but encouraged)

  • Diced red onion
  • Sliced avocado
  • Corn chips or any kind of chip or cracker
  • Vegan or real cheese
  • Vegan or real sour cream

Instructions

  1. Sauté white onion, pepper and a few garlic cloves. I used a large pot for everything but you could cook these in a frying pan then toss in a crockpot
  2. Add diced tomatoes and diced green chilis, and let cook for a few minutes.
  3. Add tomato sauce and beans, I use two cans of chili beans and two cans of pinto beans
  4. Add chili powder and any other seasoning you might like
  5. Optional: add half a cup of water to thin it out a bit
  6. Let simmer on low for about 45 minutes or in a crockpot on low for a few hours
  7. Add topping and enjoy.

First veggie Thanksgiving: The good & the bad

I’ll make this short and sweet because I don’t want to dwell.

My first Thanksgiving since giving up meat was tougher than I anticipated.

I went to a Friendsgiving last week and when I saw the turkey, I was excited to eat it for a split second. Then I remembered, “oh hey, I don’t eat dead animals anymore” and suddenly I felt really left out.This led to feelings of anxiety (something I deal with regularly) and then I was pretty bummed out. So I poured a glass of wine and sat at the table solo and started coloring. (There were cool placemats to color so stop judging me). I was soon joined by a 4-year-old … and eventually several other adults, because coloring is cool, people.

I spent the next few days thinking about that experience and how I could avoid those same feelings on the real holiday.I chatted with some veggie friends about their plans and then I stumbled upon a veggie pot pie recipe from Thug Kitchen. I was sold after reading this:

I prepped these suckers the night before and was so excited to try them for dinner I wasn’t even thinking about that (poor) dead bird on the table.

MORE: These pigs inspired their families to stop eating meat