The smell of a steak on the grill will stop me in my tracks every time.
It doesn’t matter what I’m doing. Driving down the road, running, pulling the kids in the wagon…it’s like seeing your true love across the room.
All time stops, and everything between the two of you evaporates.
It’s just you and…a piece of slaughtered bovine flesh sizzling and crackling over flames.
That’s what I feel like when I smell steak grilling.
I love meat like few others have loved it. Up until I married, I’m 98% certain I never tried a vegetable in my lifetime. (Except for you, canned corn and peas. Luv u 4ever.)
Which is why a lot of people are surprised to learn that I’ve spent the last year+ on a mostly vegetarian diet. Even more surprising, I love it.
Vegetarian living is super-attractive to calorie counters
When I rebooted MyFitnessPal last February, it became clear to me that meat was something I needed to adjust for. Steak or even a chicken breast can add significant amounts of calories to a meal. About half of my allotment each day was going to meat, and not even large amounts of it either.
I asked Lori if she’d be willing to try out a veggies-only meal one or two days a week. This was before she began logging her own meals, but she said that she too had felt an urge to go meatless.
So we tried it for a couple weeks. Then a couple weeks became most days. Then she got into MyFitnessPal and my meat castle crumbled for all time and eternity.
How we veg out today
If we’re cooking, it’s meatless.
Okay, if she’s cooking, it’s meatless. I still have a thing for the occasional steak, and I daydream about pork butts in crockpots. I indulge in meat here and there.
If someone else is providing food, we’ll eat whatever they’re serving. God forbid we be the people who show up to a cookout with tofu skewers and garden burgers.
A diehard vegetarian would say we’re not vegetarian at all. We still eat eggs (Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian) and fish (Pescatarian) on occasion.
Which is fine. We’re openly pragmatic about it. Yes, I understand that raising beef is harmful to the environment, and I’m not a fan of most slaughtering practices. My motivations run much more on the selfish side – it’s just easier to stay in shape without meat.
It allows me to eat fat guy portions without fat guy calories. I’ve only gone to bed hungry a couple times.
And quite frankly, the meals are just as good. If you’re willing to try, or are married to Lori (see section below).
I can also say that my energy has been easier to manage. My digestive system is waaaay more peaceful (and regular). Our grocery bills have gone down (though not by a huge margin). My kids have gone along with it as well, for the most part.
And I’m sort of an oddity to my Oklahoma family. They thought vegetarians only existed in hippy nudist colonies full of walking raisins.
How to go vegetarian
- Try it once or twice a week, no pressure
- Steal recipes from Lori’s Pinterest page. She has some incredible stuff on there
- Steer clear of meat substitutes, unless they’re the (pricey) Gardein brand or this incredible breakfast sausage substitute. Swap out meat for things like jackfruit and black beans instead
Start small, then build up. Don’t settle for boiled or steamed broccoli and carrots, get creative. But be warned: vegetarian meal prep tends to take longer, and sometimes it isn’t any healthier.
I’ll go into more depth on some of the specifics of our diet later, and share some of the kitchen disasters I’ve created.
As always, I’m not trying to be boastful or preachy. This is what works for me. I still lust for grilled steak regularly, and will have one on occasion just for the hell of it.
I just found that I didn’t need one every day, or even every few weeks.
The rest of the time, meals like this are perfectly fine.