Having been vegetarian for 2 months, several truths have emerged for me:
- Maybe strict vegans, raw foodies and/or fruitarians lose any excess weight automatically with their diets, but (semi) lacto-ovo vegetarians (LOVs) as I am now do not. I am still eating cheese and foods containing eggs often when I eat away from home. I cook and bake strictly vegan at home.
- Some restaurants accomodate LOV's with pasta dishes, veggie burgers, portabello mushrooms in place of steak, and Mexican entrees featuring beans and cheese, but many other do not. Here's what I can share: Red Robin (Boca Burgers and Gardenburgers can be substituted for beef in any burger) and Chili's (black bean burgers and portabello fajitas are both winners) are LVO-friendly; Long Horn Steakhouse is not (my letter to the parent company to complain as been met with crickets so far); most restaurants will gladly fix an entree for you if the only change they need to make is to leave out the meat (e.g., cheesesteak with everything, no meat).
- Take home items are a little easier:
- Chinese entrees like tofu with black bean sauce or most any tofu entree, and veggie or mushroom egg foo young are fine LOV choices, and any veggie version of lo mein, mei fun, chow mei fun, or fried rice are high-carb but vegan (unless eggs are added--ask). Our local Japanese place will make any entree with tofu in place of meat or fish. That's a help, too.
- Pizza is a no-brainer, and with a few select veggies is best, like mushrooms or black olives (getting the touted veggie pizza offering on most menu boards unfortunately often inlcudes al dente broccoli (read almost raw), never a favorite of mine. PLUS most italian places offer or will make eggplant dishes (heros, parmargiana, rollatini) that are great for us LOVs. And pasta with olive oil and garlic is de rigeur.
- So that's it so far. My weight has stablized at almost exactly where I started. I have to keep reminding myself I'm not eating this way to lose but to be cruelty-free in my living, as best I can be. I know dairy is cruel too, and so is leather, but this is a One-Day-at-a-Time lifestyle. If it weren't, I couldn't do it. I've added in B-12 tablets and EFAs, and I'm feeling good. More later!