From 5 to 11 March it was ‘the national week without meat’ in the Netherlands. I saw this challenge as an opportunity to break the habit of eating meat every single day and notice how it would make me feel. So I took on the role of a Vegetarian for a week.
I do not necessarily feel the need to eat meat (as in flesh from animals, so I also mean fish) every day. Eating less meat is proven to be more sustainable trough saving water and reducing carbon oxide emissions. And in a healthy diet, eating 500 grams of meat and 100 grams of fish per week is already sufficient*. But because the man of the house sees eating meat as the first necessity of life is mainly the reason I eat meat every day while still living at home. That being a lame excuse for consuming too much meat I really wanted to experience a full week as a vegetarian.
Telling certain people that I do or don’t eat animal products almost seems dangerous.
You are what you eat?
Sunday the 4th of March I started eating vegetarian. The reactions to this experiment varied. Some people were enthusiastic, some people almost get angry when you say you don’t eat meat and some people just don’t care. It is interesting that your diet can provoke a lot of emotions in people. Telling certain people that I do or don’t eat animal products almost seems dangerous.
What I ate in a weak
Sunday: Oven-baked potatoes with a Mexican salad.
Monday: Spaghetti with Tomato sauce and Dutch cheese and a spinach salad with goats cheese, strawberries, and pine nuts.
Tuesday: Vegan cordon blue with string beans and hassle back potatoes
Wednesday: Vegan cordon blue with white beans in tomato sauce, white and green beans and mashed potatoes
Thursday: Vegetarian burger with ratatouille
Friday: Fries with a veggie croquet
Saturday: Party platter with nachos, chicken wings, bread, dips, bitterballen, dried ham, squid rings, fried jalapeno peppers, and fries.
Sunday: Tomato, avocado, and mozzarella salad with basil pepper and salt and vegan nuggets and snack balls.
Living the Vegetarian Life
Not eating meat was not difficult. I was hardly craving for it, I am creative enough to cook a balanced meal with vegetables, nuts, grains, and dairy and there are so many meat substitutes nowadays. This week I ate meat substitutes like a vegan cordon blue, burger, or nuggets four times because I wanted to try a couple of them. I have to admit that although they taste pretty good, they were not all to easy on my stomach. But I am not sure yet which ingredients are causing the trouble because I’ve notices that several different vegetables like beans, cabbage, peas, and cauliflower also cause inconvenience. Maybe my body needs to get used to the new diet and would it be better if I tried a full month of living the Vegetarian life. I sure hope so because otherwise being a Vegetarian in my case smells funny.
I did not know it was possible to recreate that typical umami meaty flavor with only vegetables and spices.
At the snack bar ‘Rpel’ in Eindhoven I ate the tastiest vegetable croquette ever. I did not know it was possible to recreate that typical umami meaty flavor with only vegetables and spices. But as you can see on the featured image, Saturday I could not resist. We were going for lunch in the city and yes they had vegetarian choices but I just did not feel like eating a vegetarian burger or salad again. So I thought ‘what the heck’ and went for a full-on party platter with lots of fried meat snacks. The day after I ate a vegetarian meal again, so maybe that compensates.
Carnivore, Herbivore or Omnivore?
I will not go completely vegetarian in the near future but it would be my ideal situation to eat a good quality piece of meat or fish just a couple of times a week. I rather pay a good price for good quality fish and meat and eat it less. After this week I noticed that the less meat I ate, the less I was craving for it. I do not miss meat all that much and really enjoy plant-based meals. But giving up on dairy would be a true disaster for me. I will also not replace the fish and meat for meat substitutes that often but be more creative with vegetarian cooking.
* The macronutrients and micronutrients that Meat contains are also present in non-animal products. So off course it is possible to live a healthy life with a plant-based diet.
What is your favorite vegetarian dish? I would be happy to try it. If you are also curious about how long I survived without social media check out my experience.