Over the Hump

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I did it! I made it through the first 30 days of my new vegetarian lifestyle and it’s now almost seamlessly a part of my life. Sure, I still get the occasional craving for meat when I catch a whiff of barbecue, but I no longer need to do a lot of planning for dinners. I’m able to toss beans or meat substitutes into almost anything I cook to get my protein fix. And I’m finally feeling satisfied after a meal (without that heavy feeling I used to get from a large nonveg meal).

It does take a little extra effort to maintain a veg and nonveg home, but my fiancé and I have made it work. For instance, last night we had Annie’s Organic Alfredo Shells & Cheddar; I put Quorn crumbles in my half and my fiancé put ground beef in his. Our last hurdle to cross is now the cooking-for-one predicament. He finds it hard to use up a pound of beef before its expiration date, and I wind up eating seitan three nights in a row just to finish a package. I’m a big proponent of turning leftovers into a new meal, so I’d like to know what you do with unused seitan, tofu, and tempeh.

But besides changing my eating habits, I’ve found that vegetarianism has made me more aware of the world around me. For instance, last Saturday, in a famished state, I stopped at the first café I saw. When I got to the front of the line, I ordered a brie panini without the prosciutto. But they informed me it wasn’t possible because the paninis were premade. I started to panic, noticing that not one sandwich was veg. The very accommodating cashier asked me my problem and when I explained, she went to great lengths to find me something to eat. I must say, in the end, my brie with tomato and grilled peppers on a French baguette was well worth the wait, but it made me wonder how could a restaurant not have at least one veg selection? In the end, I got great pleasure when the chef came out from the kitchen and said that the restaurant really should offer some veg options. In fact, I left smiling with pride. I felt I had opened at least one other person’s eyes to the vegetarian lifestyle.

— Jacqueline Smith, assistant editor