As I near the end of my 30 Day Vegetarian Challenge I am pleased to report that I have made it through the month relatively unscathed and well fed!  I would be lying if I said that this challenge has made me repulsed by meat or that I no longer have a desire to ever eat meat again.  In full disclosure, I am eagerly counting down the final days of the challenge and dreaming of a medium rare steak.  Admittedly, this challenge in no way converted me into a vegetarian.  I still love eating meat and intend to go back to being a meat eater at the conclusion of the 30 days.  But I am glad that I did this challenge and happy that I was able to stick with it.

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Here are the biggest surprises from my month without meat:

  1. Meals without Meat Aren’t Lacking– At the start of this challenge, I was worried that my meals wouldn’t feel complete without meat.  By augmenting my meals with extra vegetables or starches I found that there was always plenty to eat.
  2. There is Plenty to Eat– I ate a lot of rice and pasta, which felt plenty filling.
  3. Vegetarian Diets Aren’t Automatically Healthy– Between the increased carbs, cheese and the discovery that desserts are vegetarian, I actually didn’t find myself eating very healthy. If I were to do this challenge again I would definitely try to be more mindful of healthiness and not just whether or not an item or dish has meat. 
  4. Meat Free Eating is Not Always Cheaper- Going into this experience I was pretty confident I would spend significantly less on food.  In theory this made sense. At restaurants vegetarian options are priced cheaper and of course I wouldn’t be spending money on meat at the supermarket. But in actuality, I didn’t feel much savings. Maybe that was my own lobbying and “reasoning”- I’m saving money on vegetarian options so I will splurge on: dessert, an appetizer, junk food, the fancy cheese at the supermarket. Over the month, the splurges added up. 
  5. Creative Meals are Important– It was easy to get bored with meatless meals, but on the plus side, I found a lot of creative dishes to make like chia seed pudding, and spinach-ricotta stuffed shells.

Overall Challenge Enjoyment: Moderate

Success in Completing Challenge: A!

Likelihood in Continuing Challenge:

  • Converting to a Vegetarian- LOW
  • Eating More Meat-Less Meals per week- Very Likely!  I definitely think it is reasonable to make 2-3 meatless meals per week in the future.
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