When I first went vegetarian about a year and a half ago, I had no idea what I was supposed to eat. I had stopped eating meat altogether, but had no true, healthy replacements in terms of the nutrients I was now lacking from eliminating an entire food group. However, after a lot of research, trial, and error, I slowly built up my healthy kitchen.
So, for anyone who is new to the plant-based life, I have created a vegetarian and vegan-friendly shopping list to help you stock up on the necessary nutritional goods.
Picture this. You’re seated at a rectangular table with your family, at a restaurant you’ve never been to before. A slight breeze from the swinging kitchen doors swirls around your legs as waiter after waiter brings out steaming trays of exotic-looking, colorful foods. You’re able to catch a quick glimpse of the chefs at the grill, turning over pink cuts of meat with sharp silver tongs. The stovetop sizzles as the cuts are laid to rest, with oil popping around them. Finally, a plate is placed before you. Fleshy white meat sits in neatly thinned slices, aside a vibrant lemon wedge. A citrusy armona dances in the air as you gently squeeze droplets of lemon onto the fish. After tearing off a small chunk of the juicy meat, you gingerly place it on your tongue, letting the flavor soak in. The zesty taste of the lemon blends perfectly with the peppered breading that coats the fish. This is your first time trying seafood, and you are beyond satisfied.
If only my experiences trying seafood went exactly like that. On the contrary, I cannot name a single time where I have found any sliver of happiness while eating fish.
When my boyfriend and I decided to go out to breakfast after a night filled with greasy pizza, an entire tub of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, and other nighttime festivities, my stomach couldn’t stop churning. Like most URI students, I can attest that the “Sunday scaries” are real.
More times than not when I go out to breakfast, my options are slightly limited as a vegetarian. Typically, I can choose between the sugary-goodness of stacked French toast or plate-sized chocolate chip pancakes. Now, don’t get me wrong, I would absolutely die for either of those dishes. However, following a junk food-filled weekend, I craved a little bit of a change. I am by no means a strictly clean eater, but I am a strong believer in eating your colors.
So, when we settled on visiting T’s Restaurant in Narragansett, Rhode Island for breakfast, I knew I was in for a treat.
I don’t know about you, but I always see these BEAUTIFUL photos of smoothie/acai bowls plastered all over my Instagram explore page. (Then again, maybe that’s just because I’m obsessed with stalking through food accounts.)
I always used to make smoothie bowls at my friend’s house after we got back from the gym. Well… I suppose I truly wasn’t the one making them. My friend would simply give me an assortment of ingredients to choose from, and then mix up the creation herself. The bowls always turned out tasting, and looking, amazing.
However, when I moved back to school (away from my smoothie goddess of a friend) and tried to recreate these bowls myself, my first few attempts were absolute failures. Even with the same ingredients that we used, I still always ended up with too thin of a consistency or too chalky of a texture.
When I was little, I remember trying really hard to like oatmeal. My mom had it for breakfast almost every morning, and of course, I wanted to be like her. Yet, no matter how much brown sugar and cinnamon I dumped onto my bowl, I still could never understand her love for it.
Flash forward to a few weeks ago, and a friend of mine was now raving over this new-to-me creation called “overnight oats.” I was oh-so excited to try out her recipe, until I actually tasted it… then the excitement went away completely. I figured I was out of luck- it was just meant for me to dislike oatmeal. That is, until a few days ago.
I’ve been a vegetarian for almost nine months now and have loved every second of it. However, like any other major change in lifestyle, it has come with a wide array of questions shot my way.
Most of these are harmless inquiries from people just genuinely curious as to why I chose to swap over, but then there’s also the people trying to put their two cents in. That’s when it can get a wee bit frustrating- if it makes me happy and doesn’t affect you, then why bother commenting on it?
Anyway, I digress. Because of all of this, I’ve decided to answer a few of my most frequently asked questions to share why I chose to go vegetarian, as well as all of its glorious benefits!