Vegetarianism

July 2, 2010 at 11:25 am 10 comments

I’m having a late lunch today, so I will post it tonight!  In the meantime, check out these morning snacks!

I am down to my last Larabar.  Must replenish stash stat!

A girlfriend of mine recently requested a specific blog topic and who am I to deny such a request?  She is curious to know more about my vegetarianism – the whys, whens, and hows – so I thought I’d run through my history a bit and give some tips on how to be a healthy, frugal vegetarian.  Because that is what I strive for…most of the time!

I became a vegetarian 10 years ago.  My vegetarian-iversary is actually August 2000!  It was the summer between high school and university and I was beginning to question things I hadn’t previously.  I was learning about politics and social movements and vegetarianism came out of this learning curve too.

Throughout childhood, I was never a huge meat eater.  I didn’t like meat loaf or sausages and I despised this thing called London Broil.  Ick!  But I’d eat chicken, hamburgers, and pepperoni.  I wasn’t picky in most ways.  I just ate what my family ate.

In my teens, thoughts of vegetarianism occasionally came to me and the diet and lifestyle definitely appealed.  I didn’t give it too much thought until that fateful weekend in August when I realized I hadn’t eaten any meat the entire weekend.  In fact, the last piece of meat I ate was veal!  Yes, the last piece of meat to pass through these lips was baby cow.  Pretty horrific, but a nice reminder of exactly WHY I became veg.

After that surprise weekend of meat-less eating, I just declared it.  I was now, officially, a “vegetarian”.  My parents didn’t think it would last and my mom was convinced I’d buckle on Thanksgiving, but I never did!  I got through Christmas too and was well on my way to a vegetarian lifestyle.

I lost about 5 pounds when I became vegetarian, but I didn’t eat the most well-balanced foods.  Things like tofu and veggie ground round weren’t as readily available, and soy hot dogs were absolutely gross back then!  I probably got most of my protein through cheese.  Once I moved out on my own and began doing more grocery shopping and cooking, I definitely ate more tofu and beans.  I was able to experiment with different recipes and find out what worked for me.

Never once have I been tempted to eat meat.  Once I became pregnant and decided to consume fish oil, I did contemplate trying salmon and other fish, but I still haven’t given in.  I am actually a bit afraid!  Afraid of the flavour and texture and how my stomach will react.  It’s been so long since my body has processed animal flesh, that I’m afraid what it will be like.

Since I am a lacto-ovo vegetarian, I am still able to get animal protein from eggs and dairy.  I have occasionally thought about giving these up too, but any chance of that has been put on the back burner while I’m pregnant.  Plus there is this thing called “feta” that I am pretty much obsessed with.

Soy products have greatly improved in the 10 years of my vegetarianism.  Soy hot dogs, hamburgers, ground round, “meat” slices, “chicken” nuggets all taste so much better than they used to, and are so easy to find!  My only qualm about these products is that they are highly processed and highly processed.  The only processed soy products I regularly buy, aside from basic tofu, are veggie ground round for tacos and spaghetti sauce, and soy burgers to cook on the barbecue.

I try to get most of my protein from dairy, eggs, beans, and lentils.  For a frugal vegetarian, beans and lentils are your BFFs.  I have only recently begun cooking with lentils and they are truly magical.  First of all, they are cheap!  You can buy them in bulk for mere pennies.  Secondly, they cook quickly.  Dried beans take much longer to soak and simmer.  Thirdly, they have a great texture and take on flavour easily.  My meat-eating husband has loved all lentil dishes I have made because they are as satisfying as eating meat products.  Fourthly, and most importantly, they are so freaking healthy for you!  The protein content is mind-boggling.  If there was a way to put lentils in Green Monsters, you know I would!

I usually buy canned beans instead of dried because the dried are so time-consuming to prepare.  I once tried making hummus with prepared dried beans and the texture just didn’t cut it.  Some of my favourite frugal bean recipes include:

  • Three bean salad
  • Beans and rice
  • Beans in baked pasta
  • Vegetarian chili
  • Hummus

Other great, frugal, vegetarian foods include quinoa (much lauded for its complete protein content), basic firm tofu, rolled oats, chia seeds, flax meal, and nuts.  Nuts can be expensive, but you really only need 5-10 of each to feel satisfied.  My favourites are walnuts and almonds especially for oatmeal and salad topping purposes.

I hope that this little diatribe has been helpful.  I am by no means an expert, but after 10 years I have been around the meat-free block a few times.  I know what keeps me full, satisfied, and not craving London Broil 🙂

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10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Diet Porn  |  July 2, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    I was a vegetarian for two years and vegan for over 6 months in college. If the recipes, cookbooks, products, movement was the same than as it is now, I wonder if that would still be my lifestyle. Although, I do love sausage – it was the first piece of meat that broke me from my ways. I am Polish and that is our thing. (Real sausage – from Polish deli’s. Yum!) Anyways…

    One of my favorite bean recipes that both me and the man enjoy. It is a little work, but so much better than any processed soy patty, IMO.

    http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/spicy-black-bean-cakes

    Reply
    • 2. Frugal 'n' Fit!  |  July 2, 2010 at 7:57 pm

      Yet another thing I didn’t know about! Thanks for the link to those patties. That is one of those classic vegetarian staples I still haven’t tried making — my own patties! Will keep this recipe for the future 🙂

      Reply
  • 3. Diet Porn  |  July 2, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    Ugh. I wish I could delete/edit my comment above for grammar.:-(

    Reply
  • 4. Simply Life  |  July 2, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    oh I love larabars!

    Reply
    • 5. Frugal 'n' Fit!  |  July 2, 2010 at 7:58 pm

      They are so good! Now if only they cost half the price 🙂

      Reply
  • 6. theemptynutjar  |  July 2, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    Lara bars are good.

    I am not vegetarian. Sorry 🙂 A full “everythingtarian” here.
    Particularly eggs, dairy, fish, chicken, turkey, etc.
    If you do ever decide to try fish again — white fish and salmon is so lovely.

    I don’t do “green monsters” , but I recently saw a girl put frozen edamame in her version. Kind of a beans based one. Sounds odd- and she liked it.

    Reply
    • 7. Frugal 'n' Fit!  |  July 2, 2010 at 7:59 pm

      I try not to be a judgmental vegetarian and am married to a happy meat eater. I am open to trying fish, I just need to work up the courage! 🙂

      Edamame in a Green Monster sounds very very intriguing…

      Reply
  • 8. Allison  |  July 5, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    LOVED THIS POST!

    Reply
    • 9. Frugal 'n' Fit!  |  July 6, 2010 at 3:33 pm

      Your comment was caught as spam! Weirdness. I’m glad you loved the post! 🙂

      Reply
  • 10. Minerva Capistrano  |  November 23, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    I need to ask you what brand of hot chocolate is this the one that has a sodium of 480g and Potassium of 680g. I need to find out coz my grandson needs to have these nutrients. Thank you! – Minerva

    Reply

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Welcome!

What happens when you love to eat healthy (and some unhealthy!) food, love to live frugally, and love to write? You start a food blog, of course. Of course!

Eating well and living frugally does not always come easy, but Lord help me, I am trying! This blog will detail my endeavor to live the best life possible. This will include pictures of my cats, odes to almond butter, and the general miscellany that makes up my life. Enjoy!


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