One of our resolutions this year was to attempt a new style of eating: cutting out the meat. There were several factors in our decision:
1. Jackson is at the age where he’s learning about everything around him, including animals. We have a membership to the National Zoo and often frequent the petting farm where we meet cows, pigs and chickens. As he gets older and more aware of his furry and feathered friends, it’s harder for me to separate those friends from the ones I serve on his dinner plate.
2. I have genetically high cholesterol. I work out regularly and eat fairly well but no matter what I do my LDL is continually high. I figured attempting to cut out the meat for awhile might help and at the very least, it can’t hurt.
3. I’ve read so many things about the meat industry. A lot of it is incredibly scary. I really haven’t done my research about it, and I’m certainly no expert nor do I have first hand experience in the field, but I do know there are enough questions raised surrounding it and surrounding what ends up in our country’s meat supply that I feel wary about feeding it to my body, much less my children’s.
4. Meat can be pricey. If cutting it from our diet helps save a few bucks without hurting us nutritionally (and maybe even boosting our nutrition), sign us up!
I want to start off by saying that I don’t think vegetarianism, pescetarianism, veganism, or carnivorous diets are better than one another. I think each person needs to find what works best for them and their family. For us, we like to try different things and this was a great excuse to see how a new way of eating worked for us.
My very Texan husband lovingly decided to join in so that we could eat the same meals and try it together. I love that man. At first I was nervous about meal planning and how we’d ever feel satisfied with just eating vegetables. I didn’t particularly like the idea of eating a ton of soy either. But the more time that went on (and thanks to some help from Blue Apron brainstorming 3 meals a week for us) we’ve found a good flow.
So what are we eating?
This hasn’t really changed though Bry’s trying to consume less eggs in general. Where he used to eat 4 eggs and a couple slices of toast every morning he now mixes it up with yogurt parfaits and oatmeal. I’ve been on an oatmeal kick and sometimes I’ll have an omelet or cronuts 🙂 We’ll occasionally have field roast breakfast sausage as well, but we never really ate meat with breakfast before the change so that’s an addition in itself.
Vegetarian omelet with homefries & toast
For lunches Bry finds it easiest to take sandwiches and granola bars as he’s often on the road or at a job site during lunch. Before the New Year he’d take lunch meat and cheese. Now he’s been mixing it up between cheese and Tofurky sandwiches and PB & J. He said he doesn’t mind it at all. I’ve been on a grilled cheese and soup kick. I love Trader Joe’s roasted red pepper and tomato soup and I take two sliced of their sprouted bread, spread it with all the Earth Balance that I can fit on each slice, sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder, load up with mozzarella cheese and grill it on the foreman. It’s amazing. Sometimes I’ll have a PB&J or I’ll make my favorite kale salad. It depends on my mood.
This is where we have had the biggest change. I used to meal plan around a meat, a vegetable, a carb. Now it’s a little different. We usually eat seafood twice a week either as coconut floured fish or fish tacos. Other nights we might have tempeh stirfry with soyaki marinated tempeh, mixed vegetables and quinoa or brown rice. Sometimes we’ll have paninis and soup, chili with cornbread, big winter salads, veggie burgers (Trader Joe’s cowboy burgers are incredible) or pasta dishes. I’m terrible at cooking with tofu so we have yet to use it since the New Year. If we eat out we gravitate towards sushi or vegetable filled pizza. After the first week it’s become fairly easy to meal plan and we haven’t really missed meat that much.
Do we feel any different?
Physically I felt more tired at first so I began taking multivitamins again and started to feel like normal. I feel healthier most likely due to our increase in vegetable consumption (Bry agrees). Mentally I feel relieved to have a clear separation from what I’m serving for dinner and who we’re meeting at the zoo.
Are we saving money?
I’ll fully admit I thought we’d cut our grocery budget in half when we decided to do this. Meat is pricey after all! But I didn’t account for the increase in fresh fruits and vegetables we’d be consuming. Overall though, we’ve cut our weekly grocery costs by about $20-25 which I love.
What about the kids?
What about them? Every family is different and needs to find what works best for them. No one way is the right way. For us, we serve everyone the same thing, more or less. If we’re out though, Jackson can choose whatever he wants. Jackson usually eats smaller portions of whatever we’re having. Andrew is doing baby led weaning and eats almost everything as well: fish, avocado, butternut squash, peas, broccoli, tofu, you name it. He’s a bottomless pit. I don’t puree meat for him and I don’t serve it to him namely because of the fear of choking to death attempting to chew it but I will buy a pouch with meat in it for him if we’re out.
Do we plan to stick with it?
We’re not sure yet. For the foreseeable future, yes. There’s no reason not to!
Almost a month in, this is where we’re at. If you have any questions or want any other information, let us know!
Disclaimer: I’m in no way affiliated with Blue Apron besides being a consumer for over a month now. We just really like the service and have enjoyed the food and push to mix it up in the kitchen. I’d say 80% of the meals have been delicious and 1 or 2 have been pretty bad. But for a service that is trying to accommodate a lot of tastes, that’s not terrible! If y’all would like to hear more about our experiences with the company, let me know and I’ll create a post. Maybe I’ll even throw in a free delivery 🙂