Thursday, April 7, 2011

- Boo-yah!

I went all flexitarian on your ass!

Bet you didn't expect that, especially if you know how much I love bacon, and sausage gravy and biscuits, and burgers, and steak, and OMG seafood.  But don't worry, I am still going to eat those things...just less often, way less often.  Like on special occasions, or when my willpower is extremely low, or when you invite me over for dinner and that's what you made because it's much easier to be a mooch than one of those people.  Plus my J.O.B. is to make magic happen with Hamburger Helper and every now and then I'm going to have to taste what I'm working on.  And yes, I could use a spit cup, but...ew.

I've been toying with the idea of a major change in diet for some time now.  I think watching Food Inc. was totally a catalyst because it made me realize just how much I despise what the meat industry in this country has become.  But it was an idea I kept in the back of my mind, unable to move to the forefront because there were too many other things in life that demanded time and brainpower.  Since I moved to the Minnie it has become blatantly obvious just how much I have fallen into a rut of not feeding myself well.  If I'm going to the grocery store once a month - you do the math and figure out the kinds of things I'm eating.  Let's just say...my pantry actually has ramen in it.

Now that I'm actively working in the food industry my day literally revolves around food.  I make it, I taste it, I read about it, I talk about it, I think about it, I dream about it.  It has become inescapable how much better I need to be about nourishing myself.  When I first realized this, it caused such an extreme desire to improve that I seriously considered becoming a vegan.  But as someone who has merely stuck her toes in the water of vegetarianism, I realized that would be quite drastic.  And seriously, the though of not eating cheese every day makes me want to curl up in a ball and cry.  And eggs!  I love eggs, I mean one of my favorite things about the weekend is breakfast, plus almost every single thing I love to bake has eggs.  But I also have never met a vegetable I don't like.  Or a whole grain, or bean, or soy-based product.  I felt like if these are the things that I really enjoy eating, then it would be pretty easy to try out vegetarianism.  And to keep things less rigid in the beginning while I navigate the logistics, I'm not taking meat completely off the table, it will just play a lesser role, like extra #14 on a movie set.  They don't get their name in the credits.

At the grocery store I went through the produce section with reckless abandon.  Half of my cart was from that section alone, and the rest included beans (dried because I'm also eliminating canned foods for two reasons 1. BPA and 2. Canning sucks - seriously it preserves food and that's great for your nuclear meltdown shelter, but the process of making food shelf stable kills all the positive attributes) some frozen veggies, cheese, a few new spices, and bread and grains.  When my cart has been that full in the past I know to expect about $200 at the check out line.  It was $126.  WINNING.

I stopped at Trader Joe's on the way home and spent another $45.  The end result is that I seriously have WAY more food than I can eat.
Somewhere in there is a pack of lunchmeat; Emma is still a carnivore and she likes her expensive allergy meds wrapped in a piece of turkey.

This week I've been so excited to cook that every night I have made something new - pumpkin gnocchi sauteed in sage butter with mushrooms, polenta with rainbow chard and onions, persian eggs which I almost didn't make because I was unsure about eggplant, but jeez did it blow my mind, a quiche with potatoes and leeks and either fresh green beans or steamed asparagus on the side every night.  My leftovers are getting out of hand and I haven't even gotten to quinoa stuffed peppers, beets, any of my beans, tofu or my spaghetti squash.  Plus, I'd like to bring in some more vegan recipes and I'm still toying with the idea of switching back to soy milk. It's amazing, I cut out something I'm totally familiar with and feel like I have more options than ever.

As an added bonus, this really seems to be increasing my productivity because every day I come home and after cooking and eating it's like I cannot sit still. Instead of laying on the couch watching TV/movies I'm working on house projects or cleaning or doing laundry or ironing, which is so insane even I couldn't believe it was happening.  So yeah, there might be something to this whole veggie thing.

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