My first week as a vegetarian

For the past week, I have given up meat, facebook, and other websites for lent. Meat is by far, the hardest to give up as I have never gone more than a meal without meat. Even when I was back packing in the Grand Tetons doing trail work, we still had some sort of animal muscle in our meals, although I’m not entirely sure what part of the animal it came from, I just know it was enough to satisfy my carnivorous cravings. Previous years, I had given up paintball, one of my major hobbies at the time. After giving it up, I ended up quitting paintball, because I realized I didn’t really want to put all that money and that time into something that wasn’t giving me a return (my business mind at work). Which makes me wonder, by the end of this lent, will I love being a vegetarian so much, that I never eat meat again?

Having taken nutrition at UCSD, I knew that I had to plan out what I was going to cook in order to get the right amount of nutrients in my diet. I typically don’t plan out my meals, instead I just scrounge around my fridge and freezer and try to cook something that tastes good. Now with the problem of not having any idea what to cook without meat, I now have to come up with new recipes. Which I guess is a good thing, particularly due to my recipes have been confined to soy sauce, cooking wine, 5 spice powder, and brown sugar. Now I’m expanding my cooking styles and trying new methods. But since I’m still studying for finals, I’ve been looking at recipes from foodgawker.com.

With the new vegetarian diet came a transition stage. No matter how much I ate, I wasn’t satisfied at the end of my meals, and was constantly looking to eat something that would take my mind off eating meat. I was always tired, and for the first 3 days, I would pass out of exhaustion. Reading up on this, I learned that this could be due to iron deficiencies, so I’ve started to incorporate more iron-rich foods in my diet. The great thing about vegetarian diets though, is I don’t have to worry about under-cooking my food, since all of the ingredients can be eaten raw, as opposed to just eating a raw steak like the little old lady from Legion.

Funny and true story, I was studying with my friend, Josh Chen, at the library the other day, and I noticed he brought a sandwich from Price Center. As I was naturally curious as to what he had ordered from the overpriced food court, I looked at his food, and he had ordered a chicken sandwich. Now all the while I thought I was doing pretty well with keeping up my vegetarian diet, because I brought leftover tofu, rice and bok choy, but as he was eating, I found myself just staring at the pieces of chicken in his sandwich. I started salivating, imagining what it would be like to eat that chicken sandwich, how the feel of the chicken would be in my mouth as my teeth masticated the muscle fibers into a more readily digestible size, how the juices from the seared meat would trigger the taste buds…now I know how dogs feel when they watch their owners eat at the dinner table, and all they get are dried little pieces of kibble.

Anyways, here’s an example of one of my meals that I had. It was just steamed tofu, fried onions, bok choy, and brown rice.

Flame on!

Brown onions

Steam Tofu and Vegetables, but not too long

Finished product

Thanks for looking!

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Comments
8 Responses to “My first week as a vegetarian”
  1. caronlyn says:

    vegweb.com has lot of good recipes for vegans and vegetarians. You might find some recipes you like.

    Your lack of energy is probably just due to the new diet you’re trying (although I’m sure you’ve figured that out.) I don’t think you can get an iron deficiency in a week, but just keep eating those leafy greens! It takes some time to get your body adjusted to eating vegetarian. Give it time.

  2. mindy says:

    honestly, that looks super delicious. almost as delicious as a juicy steak… almost. 🙂

    keep going, mister!

  3. Chris chang says:

    that dish is lookin’ mighty fine tasty, Josh!

    I would eat it! keep it up, you can do it. and no I don’t think you’ll turn into a vegetarian. just think of it as working really hard for a month or so and then going on a vacation to enjoy food.
    and I’m sure this will come in handy when you’re older too, we can’t eat junk food or meat forever.

  4. Priscilla Wan says:

    the tofu and veggies look REALLY yummy!
    keep it up! =D

  5. David Chan says:

    I got two recipes that are super easy, and extremely frugal (if you would like to give up a percentage of money for lent as well). These two things can add some cultural variety to your diet.

    Take a lesson from the NY Puerto Ricans. Millions of them have managed to survive in one of the most expensive cities on earth with recipes like this:

    Black Beans
    Find a supermarket that has black beans on sale. Buy as much as you can. Then make sure you have onions, a few bulbs of garlic, and some salt/pepper or whatever other spices you like (maybe Goya Sazon, a fairly all-purpose savory spice used in puerto rican cooking).

    Slice up a small onion and smash up a clove or two of garlic

    Throw some olive oil or butter into a HOT pan.

    Throw the onions and garlic into the pan and fry them till the onion gets glassy. Throw some salt in there.

    Grind some pepper in there for good luck.

    *Optional step
    Toss in half a packet of Sazon.

    Stir till you get a paste. Now you have a ghetto sofrito.

    Dump in your can of black beans bean juice and all. Stir it up.

    Add a pinch of Cayenne pepper so you remember that you have a set of cojones.

    Set it on simmer

    Throw the beans on top of some rice.

    Win. Relatively healthy for $1-2.

    Tostones (plantains)
    Take a plantain and run a knife down the side and split the skin off without breaking the plantain. This takes a bit of practice.

    Slice up the plantain into ~1/3 inch thick slices. Throw them into a bowl of ice water.

    Pour around half an inch of oil into a frying pan. Corn oil works best, olive oil smokes too easily. Wait till it gets HOT.

    Take your sliced up plantains out of the ice water and drain them or even pat them with a paper towel till they’re dry.

    Fry em up until they just turn golden. Don’t dump out the oil.

    Throw them in the freezer for 5-10 minutes.

    Now, here is where you become a MAN: Get yourself a flat bottom glass and a cutting board or a plate. Throw some flour on there. Smash the plantains with the cup. You may need a spatula to get them off the board…

    Fry em AGAIN until they are golden and crispy

    Combine this with the black beans/rice to have double the win in your meals.

  6. tiff says:

    your pictures are great!

  7. vanessa says:

    i’m so proud of you! yay herbivore!

  8. Lobsterfest says:

    eat quinoa, its a perfect food.

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