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.
Here are the biggest surprises from my month without meat:
- 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.
- There is Plenty to Eat– I ate a lot of rice and pasta, which felt plenty filling.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.