Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Reality of Dining Out as a Vegetarian

So, I'm 4 weeks in. The one-month experiment is almost up.. with a possible extension into December.. and maybe the whole year of 2012..?

I am down 3.2 pounds, including losing 1 whole pound after last week.. even after Thanksgiving and my carb-loading dinners at Graham's family's house. I even ate 2 bowls of ice cream last night. *Bad*.. I know. Don't ever buy brownie moose tracks ice cream. It's too good.

So, I'm feeling pretty good about this whole thing. I've gotten used to the feeling of a self-imposed diet restriction, and it's really not that bad. I'm still a pro at picking out pieces of meat/poultry from food served to me. I even found some new foods that I really love. Homemade slow-cooker black bean soup--who knew it could be so good? Carter KILLED some of the leftover soup last night.

But.. there is a dark side to eating vegetarian..

I can't go out to eat.

First of all, I don't live in Seattle or Portland, so vegetarian restaurants are few and far between.

Fast food? Forget about it. They only things I can eat are bean burritos or french fries.. Not that I haven't gotten those or anything...

Substitutions in normal restaurants SUCK. At our favorite Mexican restuarant in our area, they had only a few vegetarian options.. none of which looked appealing. So I asked for a vegetarian chimichanga, thinking they would throw in some rice, sauteed bell peppers with onions, and maybe some beans...


That, my friends.. is what came out of my chimichanga. FROZEN vegetables. That's right.. Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and snap peas. Who in their right mind would eat broccoli and cauliflower in a freaking Mexican fried burrito (I mean, anybody other than my sister's ex who liked broccoli in tacos).

So, I emptied out my chimichanga and put in some beans and rice. I pretty much just ate a fried burrito shell, which kind of makes me sick to think about. I guess I can look at being vegetarian as a way to save money as well as I will no longer be dining out frequently.. or at all.

However, I did find some good options down in Portland. Burgerville's Yukon and White Bean Basil Burger was freaking amazing. I would eat it even if I wasn't doing the whole vegetarian thing. Chipotle's vegetarian burrito.. didn't even miss the meat.

So on December 1st, I don't think I'll be going back to meat. I will eat meat/poultry if that's what is being served at other people's houses, and probably 1-2 dinners per month (beef stew in the winter is a must-eat). I've learned a lot from these past few weeks, and I look forward to trying more meatless meals!

Our menu this week:
Quinoa pilaf with corn and jalapenos with accordian potatoes (both from America's Test Kitchen/Cook's Country)
Cheese Souffle (I've always wanted to try this) with vegs
Cuban black beans and rice
Black Bean Quesadillas

I'll let you know how the souffle goes.. especially with me cooking alone in the house with a 13-month old wild child. At least he's not walking yet!

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