The week of living meatlessly. day 6.
Today was a little less...structured. I had leftovers for lunch, the stir-fried tofu with mushrooms and carrots. As I chewed on the strips of tofu I felt almost like I was eating red-braised pork belly, and was concerned that the vegetarianism was causing me to hallucinate. Then I figured that the tofu had been flavored with 5-spice powder (and soy sauce), and the star anise was making me think of the red-braised pork belly seasonings. Phew.
Going into this week, I remembered how my mom was always hungry when she was a vegetarian. She ate triple chocolate Dove bars every day and gained five pounds. I was determined not to derail all the healthy food I had been eating by consuming cake and ice cream ("Cupcakes are vegetarian," joked a friend on Twitter). Instead, I'd snack on fruit or a few crackers or a small handful of nuts. I made sure I had a side vegetable - skillet-steamed broccoli or carrots - in addition to a main dish; I ate a little more rice than I usually do. Strangely, I rarely felt hungry during the past week.
I didn't even feel like dinner tonight, still full from my generous plate at lunch. I stir-fried crisp sugar snap peas from the farmer's market in a little oil, sprinkled them with salt, and ate them straight up, like French fries. They were sweet and still a little crunchy, and satisfying. Then I went to Bingo & Karaoke Night at the Greenwood Senior Center (long story), and was lured in by the tater tots. They were vegetarian. Our table mate proffered a bag of caramel corn, and I took a few. Also vegetarian.
While I ate my greasy, cooling tater tots, I thought about friends in high school and college, going through vegetarian phases and living on grilled cheese sandwiches, French fries, popcorn, hummus wraps and falafel from the cafeteria. Waffles are vegetarian, if you eat eggs and dairy, and when you are living away from home for the first time in your life there is a certain thrill to eating waffles for dinner. It isn't hard to eat vegetarian. It's hard to eat a healthy, balanced diet that happens to be vegetarian. Or rather, it isn't hard at all - you just have to think about what you are eating and why. But then again, we should all think about what we are eating and why, whether we are vegetarians or not.