Answering The Age Old Question: So, What DO You Eat?

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“So, just what do you eat if you don’t eat meat?”  I can’t even begin to count the number of times someone has asked me (usually with a look of shock and horror on their face) this very question. It’s as if when the word “vegetarian” is uttered all of the other food groups mysteriously vanish and “meat” abruptly takes on the importance of oxygen or water. Suddenly meat has a category at the base of  Maslov’s Hierarchy Pyramid – Biological and Physical Needs  … No, No scratch that – it should read “MEAT” and solely that. Ok, maybe this is a bit of an exaggeration. Most people are becoming more accustomed to plant-based diets, and most omnivores are pretty cool about it. However, I still get the occasional strange look or weird comment. For example, Just the other day I was in Subway, and the girl next to me in line inquired about my Veggie Sub. When I told her that I never eat meat, her eyes widened and she matter-of-factly  said, “well you’re still alive…” Well, I sure hope so! I guess I’m living proof that abstaining from meat will not cause you to perish!  LOL – I live with meat-eaters, so I’m used to the occasional joke at my expense.

So, just what do vegetarians eat – you ask? Well, I would like to show you! Here are some of my favorite vegetarian meals and snacks! I want to show the world that adhering to a vegetarian diet is simple and fun. There are so many options out there for vegetarians and vegans that one’s diet will never lack variety or flavor. My husband sometimes jokes that I should label my food pictures with the hash-tag #noflavor – however,  I think even he would agree that the items posted here are delicious, flavorful, and far from boring!

 Sweet Treats

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Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Incredible Cream Cheese Frosting

These Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Incredible Cream Cheese Frosting are to die for… and are vegan! They were easy to make, and from the picture you can see turned out great! My sister’s boyfriend tried one and said that he couldn’t even tell they were vegan -in fact, he ate two. These quickly became a favorite in my family. I found the recipe on a great blog called Lisa’s Project:Vegan. Click here for the recipe!

Fruit Kabobs

Fruit Kabobs

Here is a good idea for a healthy treat – Fruit Kabobs! I had some guests over, so I decided to make this easy and fun treat. You can add any type of fruit that you so desire to the Kabob sticks. I choose grapes, blueberries, strawberries, and bananas. If you coat them with a little lemon juice, it will keep the fruit from browning.

DINNER – QUICK and EASY

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Farmer’s Market Veggies and Mac & Cheese

This was a quick and easy dinner I made one night when I was short on time. I threw together some veggies we had purchased at the farmer’s market and made a salad, steamed some green beans, and heated up some leftover mac and cheese. Voila – a healthy, delicious meal in a matter of minutes!

Strawberries, Mint, and Mineral Water

Strawberries, Mint, and Mineral Water

This summer I was absolutely obsessed with making this drink. I would cut up some organic strawberries and add the fruit to sparkling mineral water – along with some fresh mint sprigs. This made for a fabulously refreshing summer drink.

DINNER – Well Worth the Wait

These next items took a little longer to make, but they were well worth the extra effort!

Spicy Vegan Chili Burgers

Spicy Vegan Chili Burgers

The Lunch Box Bunch – Happy. Healthy. Life. blog boasts a fantastic recipe for Spicy Vegan Chili Burgers – even my omnivorous husband likes them. They are delicious and full of flavor. This is by far my favorite veggie burger! I like to top mine with extra kale, sprouts, and Vegenaise. I think these burgers could turn even the most hardcore carnivore into a plant based food junkie overnight 😉

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Here is another shot of the veggie burger, along with broccoli, chips, and my husbands recipe for homemade salsa. Yum! Please check out the recipe for the burgers here!

Homemade spinach and cheese pizza

Homemade spinach and cheese pizza

Here is my first attempt at making a homemade pizza, and the crust was even made from scratch. I found the recipe is a cookbook called Vegan Planet.

So, what do vegetarians eat you ask? Well, we pretty much eat the same types of food that you do – just minus the meat. Pizza, burgers, sweet treats – you name it and I can just about guarantee that there is a vegetarian alternative out there somewhere. Hope you enjoyed my pictures and the vegetarian food ideas…and this is just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more out there.

What do you think about vegetarian food options? Would you try any of the food choices listed above? Leave me a comment – I would love you hear from you!

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My Vegetarian Awakening

We may start out down the path for different reasons, but at destinations end, we tend to find ourselves in the same place – it’s a kinder gentler place; one of enlightenment and compassion. Whether your journey started for health reasons, the love of animals, or if your conscience simply wouldn’t allow you to eat meat – Hold your head high with the knowledge that you are doing a great thing. Whatever your reasons may be, never let anyone discourage you, and never forget why you started in the first place. My vegetarian awakening didn’t happen overnight, it took me awhile to get there – and it’s still not done- I’m learning and evolving every day. Here is my story:

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My interest in vegetarianism first came in the form of my favorite childhood actor, Jonathan Taylor Thomas. I was thirteen, and he was the “Brad Pitt” of my JR High world. I had the biggest crush on him, and bought every teenybopper magazine that had his smiling face on the front cover. Then one day I read that he was a vegetarian, and my interest was sparked. So, I asked my parents if I could become a vegetarian and it took less than a nanosecond for their response; it was a resounding, “No!” At the time, that reaction wasn’t very surprising because vegetarianism was quite the foreign concept in my family of omnivores. Living in “small town USA” we didn’t know any vegetarians in the community, and no one in our family had ever been a vegetarian…and I don’t think the word “vegan” was even in our vocabulary yet.  Although my parents fully support my passion now, I understand why “no” was the safest response at the time.

Even though I was told “no” regarding my newfound curiosity of vegetarianism, the fire was lit, and my interest in a plant based diet didn’t fade. So, when I got a little older, I slowly started cutting meat out of my diet. I started with bacon because I had read that it was one of the worst things for you to eat, and I began researching more and more into the health reasons for cutting out meat. I read Marilu Henner’s Healthy Life Kitchen, and my main reason for wanting to go vegetarian was for “health” reasons.  I cut out all red meat, and finally found myself in a place where the only animal flesh I consumed was chicken -and not very often either. I found it convenient when going out to restaurants if I ate chicken because I felt that it was too hard to find vegetarian options. It wasn’t convenient. Yes, hindsight is 20/20, and I can now see how selfish that reasoning was.

It was at this point in my life that I adopted a Netherland Dwarf rabbit named, Wednesday. She had originally belonged to my sister who was away at college. She was no longer able to keep her where she was living, so I became Wednesday’s guardian. As I got to know Wednesday, I learned that she was sweet, gentle, and very affectionate; she loved to give people kisses on the nose! Wednesday also loved raisins, and would get so excited when she’d see the box. I quickly learned that just like a person, she had her own unique personality, and likes and dislikes. Every day I would look forward to coming home from work, I couldn’t wait to see my little “Day” bunny, and as soon as I got home she would start running circles around her play pen. She’d jump around until I let her out, and then would hop up on the bed and snuggle with me. She truly was a snuggle bunny and loved to snuggle for hours on end.

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I started to realize that my bunny really wasn’t that different from any other type of pet. I also started to learn more about chickens and how they are sentient creatures, each with their own personality – and it just clicked. Why do we love and cherish some animals, yet find it socially acceptable to eat others? It’s speciesism. Love isn’t just a human emotion – I’ve seen it firsthand and anyone who has known the love of an animal can attest to that. I knew then and there that I could never eat another animal ever again. I made the commitment to go 100 percent vegetarian.

Then one day Wednesday got sick. She quit eating, and that is a medical emergency for a Rabbit. They need to graze continually, or their stomachs are in danger of shutting down. I brought her to the “emergency vet” since it was the weekend and her normal office wasn’t open. I was given some medicine and instructions to force feed her if she didn’t eat. The vet thought she’d be just fine, but the next morning she was looking worse and I could tell she was in a lot of pain, so it was back to the vet. She was in tough shape, and they had to perform a procedure on her. I won’t go into details because it is still, after all this time very painful to relive. The entire day was blur. After the procedure she was in rough shape, so I was given the opportunity to say goodbye to her. I told her that I loved her, and to be strong. I know that she couldn’t understand my words, but something must’ve resonated with-in her because the vet said that she was really fighting to live. Things started to look up, and she was released to go home. We thought she was going to pull through, but after we returned home, she ended up passing away. I can’t even put to words the emptiness I felt afterward.  I was devastated by the passing of my beloved pet; my friend. I know that some of you may be thinking that she was just a rabbit, but really she wasn’t that different than a dog. She was affectionate, kind and loving.

I miss my Wednesday bunny very much, but it helps to think that she came into my life for a reason. She taught me a valuable lesson, and for that I am forever grateful.

When you’re young you go through life not thinking that anything is going to change – but change is inevitable. Values and beliefs evolve as time steadily ticks on.  Not all change is “good” change – friends come and go, but the lesson’s they teach us, and the stamps they leave on our hearts help shape us.

I have since adopted 3 cats – or maybe they adopted me. One of my cats, GiGi showed up on a “Wednesday” which was three days after my Wednesday had passed away. It really felt good to help her, since she was stray in the neighborhood. She needed me, and I needed her.

I look forward to some of the changes that time has in store for me. I hope to learn and grow a little more with each passing year, and one day find myself a vegan. I’ve started my journey, but haven’t quite made it to the finish line yet. My path is long and winding, but that’s ok!

And time just keeps on creeping on…It’s a slow progression, but a hopeful one.

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