Meatless for a Month

by Caroline Thirkill

This isn’t meat, it’s mushrooms! 

I’ve never been one of those girls who worries about “systems.” You know, the things you learn about in sociology or gender studies: systems of oppression, systems of repression, systems of whatever-the-heck-else. I’m sure that makes me an irresponsible citizen or something, but let’s be real—we only have so much time and energy to put towards worrying. As such, my decision to go vegetarian has absolutely nothing to do with morality or mistreatment of animals or any of those things that good people worry about.

After a few years of college I’ve learned a few things about my environment and about myself. Number one, I am perpetually broke. No matter how much I make per week, all that money winds up going somewhere besides really delicious food. Everything I make goes straight towards the school books I was too poor to buy at the beginning of the semester, towards my bus and subway fare, or towards basic staples of sustenance like cereal and bread. As such, I never go out to dinner. Number two, I am terrified to cook meat for myself. I always feel like I’m going to give myself food poisoning or salmonella or something. Which leads us number three: the only meat I ever consume is either from Hewitt or horrible fast food.

With all the cheesy goodness you won’t notice it’s meatless

For me, becoming a vegetarian was a choice to cut down on the fat and chemicals of pre-processed meat. It is a part of a bigger attempt to cut out unnecessary sugar and other unhealthy things in my life, and is part of an ongoing process. Vegetarianism was a little bit rough for the first few weeks, particularly when I did save up to go out for restaurant week, but with a little will and determination, I’ve kept it up.

A few pieces of advice for anyone looking to go vegetarian for health reasons only:

• Don’t just cut out the meat and keep your diet as it is. Most of us don’t eat enough vegetables and fruits, relying on carbs to keep us going; make sure to actively replace the meat with vegetable substitutes.

• At the same time as you are going meatless, substitute your white bread or pasta for whole grains, which have more nutrients.

• Also, if you ever get desperate for some meat, don’t be afraid to reach for some fish. Sure, it may not be technically vegetarian, they are still so much healthier for you than steak or chicken due to high levels of omega-3s and fatty acids.

I’ve also found a few vegetarian recipes that either mimic the taste of meat, or are so much better than it. Here are a few of the online recipes I’ve found to make going meatless quite a bit easier.

Peppercorn Encrusted Portobello Fillets
While the online recipe tells you to go with white wine and white wine vinegar, if you crave steak on a regular basis, you can easily go with red wine instead for a more robust flavor.

Broccoli and Cheddar Quiches
While this recipe is a little higher on fat than others, these quiches are healthy and generally good for cold days when you want warmth in your belly.

Also, check out online recipes with seitan or tofu that can substitute for meat. There are so many delicious vegetarian recipes out there. Don’t be afraid to go meatless!

Caroline is a junior at Barnard and Opinions Editor for The Nine Ways of Knowing.

Images from Kitchen Kvell and My Recipes.

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