Go Vegetarian (For A Day.)

This is Part II of the “31 Days of Healthy Living” series.

As many of you know, I used to be Running To Slow Things Down before I became The Flying Onion.

The original blog saw me through months of being a heavy meat eater to months of being strictly vegetarian to months of being somewhere in between.

I never really liked eating meat every day.  But I didn’t really like telling myself that I couldn’t eat meat either.  For the first time in my adult life, I found myself craving chicken nuggets, hot dogs, and cheeseburgers.  I hate feeling deprived!

So what did I do?

I introduced Meatless Monday.  Which became Tofu Tuesday.  Which became Water Chestnut Wednesday, Tangerine Salad Thursday, Fish Friday and Steak Saturday.  Or something like that (what a combination, eh?)

Basically, to put it simply, I began adding more and more of the tantalizing meatless meals to my diet, which is what I originally wanted in the first place (goodbye feelings of deprivation!)

Vegetarians experience many health benefits, including a lowered cancer risk and protective heart benefits.  For those of us (me included) who’d rather not go cold-turkey (so to speak,) studies show that there are health benefits in replacing just one meat meal a week with vegetarian substitutions.  It doesn’t have to be fussy or hard or weird.  And it doesn’t mean you have to go completely vegetarian to reap the health benefits.  As with all things in life, just take it a day at a time.  Balance.

Try minimizing your dinner’s meat portions while increasing the vegetables, thereby making the meat a side and the vegetables a main.

Or add some spinach to your turkey soup.  Add extra kidney beans in place of half the hamburg in a batch of chili.  You see?  Little steps, big results.

Who knows?  You may find that you love the vegetarian meals so much, that eating them one day of the week won’t feel like enough.

Here are some of my favorite no-fail vegetarian recipes that even the most true die-hard meat eaters will consume with gusto (provided you don’t spill the beans and tell them there’s no meat.) 😉

Taco Salad

Baked Beans

Tofu Parmigiana

Spring Rolls

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Roasted Vegetable Wrap

Basil, Tomato and Mozzarella Pizza

Just as a side note, try not to fall into the trap of always replacing meat with things like cheese and eggs.  While a little of these ingredients go a long way, try to treat your Meatless Monday as a way to branch out and try new, good-for-you, super foods like beans, lentils, quinoa, and colorful greens.

And then, of course, you can always add a sprinkle of cheese to tie it all together.  Because feta makes everything better. 😉

QUESTION: What are some of your favorite “vegetarian” meals?  If we’re talking pizza, then that would be it. 😉  I also adore anything with butternut squash, lentils, sweet potatoes, quinoa and beans. 😀


18 comments on “Go Vegetarian (For A Day.)

  1. jamiddix says:

    I am loving the 30 day series – and you’re only on day 2!! Your recipes seem do-able. And, your healthy eating is an inspiration! Thanks for doing what you do and writing what you write!!

  2. “Basically, to put it simply, I began adding more and more of the tantalizing meatless meals to my diet, which is what I originally wanted in the first place (goodbye feelings of deprivation!)”

    Our cravings for such foods do indeed disappear over time and soon, we no longer feel deprived of these addicting foods. I avoided most vegetables for the longest time because they lacked that addicting flavor I was looking for. With my taste buds realigned now, I can enjoy the simple foods and while not feeling the need to indulge in those others.

    Best wishes to your health and food journey…

    • Sarah says:

      Taste buds definitely do change over time (considering the fact that it takes a baby well over 12 tries before they might be willing to accept a single new food!)

      I can think of many foods that I used to like and don’t anymore. And there are plenty of foods that I didn’t use to like that I now love (onions, kale, tofu, etc.) I think it all depends on how they’re prepared and cooked. For example, my Memere convinced me, with her pan fried potatoes, that onions can be a true delicacy. Delicious. 😀

      Thanks for the comment!

  3. BroccoliHut says:

    I, too, tend to go through periods of almost vegan eating as well as periods that are heavy on the animal protein.
    My favorite vegetarian meals include tofu stir-fries, vegetarian chili, and good ol’ PBJ 🙂

    • Sarah says:

      It’s funny how that works. I think it depends a lot on the season and what’s being offered. I’m most strictly vegetarian during the summer when all I want is fresh produce and farmers markets. 😀

      And, I couldn’t agree more. Sometimes you can’t beat a PB&J. 😀

  4. Matt LeBlanc says:

    its a slippery slope to veganism 😉

    enjoyed the post.

  5. Kit-Kat says:

    I really love spaghetti with Trader Joe’s Marinera, steamed veggies, and any kind of veggie/protein burger on the side (or meatless meat balls).
    Veggie stir-fry is also a top fave.
    Great photos of the food! 🙂

    • Sarah says:

      Mmm…Trader Joe’s Marinara is so yummy! I almost always have a jar kicking around for quick ‘n’ easy english muffin pizzas or spaghetti or stuffed peppers. Love it. 😀

  6. Tina says:

    Great recipes in this post! I’ll have to try some of them!

    My favorite vegetarian meals are a lot like yours– they involve butternut squash, sweet potatoes, beans. I also love spaghetti squash with marinana sauce, sauteed mushrooms, and veggie balls from Trader Joe’s. So good!

  7. My current favourite veg meal is a thick butternut squash soup with Thai curry paste, lime, cilantro, and fried tofu cubes. Sounds incongruous, but it’s really flavourful and the perfect winter dish.

    All of your suggestions look fantastic!

  8. jelillie says:

    I love egg plant parmigiana!

  9. My sister and I made some spring rolls for our Christmas Eve party that we hosted. But yours look WAY better. I’m going to bookmark your version for next time.

    Also, your baked beans might be my favourite thing to eat ever.
    Seriously readers, make the baked beans.

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