Thursday, February 11, 2010

57,600 Minutes

I'm horrible at math, but I believe 57,600 minutes is how long I will have to go without eating a speck of meat. No, I'm not a vegetarian, and likely never will be, but I have decided to give up meat for Lent. I will allow myself to eat fish (it aligns with the church) and eggs but that's it. I'm not going to go vegan or take it that far, but giving up meat for 40 days is no small deal for a guy as obsessed with food as I am.

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I have always dreaded Fridays during Lent because good Catholics (which I am, obviously ;-) abstain from meat. It used to be a big deal to me, but after expanding my culinary horizons, I was able to find ways that made the experience more enjoyable. Make no mistake about it though, I am doing this because I think it is a good sacrifice and reflects well on the season and what it means to us. I think it also represents a great opportunity to further expand my recipe base and cooking skills. I know I will get very tired of this at some point along the 40 days (Day 2?), but I'm committed to getting through it. I felt the same way when I gave up soda and sweets, and I made it through just fine and actually consume far less of each category for having done this. However, I can promise you there's no way I'm going to abandon my precious proteins forever. There's just no way.

My survival strategy is to make sure I'm eating the right foods, but balancing the diet to offset the difference from my regular diet:

1.) LOTS of fruit and veggies - I'll need the extra fiber and natural sugar to feel full and for energy

2.) Beans and legumes - a good source of protein (needed since I'm a beanpole) and a key component of my usual diet. I think they offer one of the better bastions for variety and take on flavors well.

3.) Whole grains - I need to get back to baking my own bread on a regular basis and eating filling grains lower on the glycemic index such as couscous, brown rice, whole grain pasta and quinoa

4.) Soup - I'm a huge soup buff this time of year and will need to hit the stock pot on Sundays so I have plenty of meals ready to go. That way I don't even need to think about what I'm missing out on

5.) Salads - offer the perfect vehicle for lean protein (tuna, salmon, eggs) as well as fiber rich veggies

6.) Whey Protein - I think I'll need to mix in smoothies with berries and peanut butter to help keep some weight on

The above will help offset cravings for pizza pasta and an entire ball of whole milk mozzarella, while keeping my diet not only diverse, but healthy. I'll be taking pics and writing posts about my experience to keep you informed but could really use some help on the following:

1.) Any vegetarian recipes that you really cherish/celebrate - I'd sure appreciate it

2.) A few good tips for restaurants that offer some good veggie options, but also offer a full menu for my companions

3.) Most importantly, a great spot for me to grab dinner on Fat Tuesday - I might as well go out in a protein-rich blaze of glory. I'm thinking 112 Eatery, Saffron and Sapor Cafe as of right now

More to come and happy Eating,



Kris said...

Suggestion for your blaze of glory to go out on - Fogo de Chao. You can sit and eat meat for hours and hours on end. By the time you finish you may gladly look forward to some meatless days, but you'll enjoy the ride while it lasts.

kat said...

I'd go to Craftsman & get that Charcuterie plate, yum. Look to Indian food for your meatless days. Try this Curry Lentil Soup (just use veggie broth instead of chicken)

Teddy said...

Thanks Kris and Kat! I like all the ideas and really appreciate it.

jane said...

Super easy, healthy, and inexpensive chick pea and eggplant dish. Seems kind of meaty, but is not at all:

jane said...

That link looks wrong. Here it is again:

Ali said...

I recommend the French Meadow Bakery and Cafe for fabulous meatless options that will also satisfy any carnivore. My other favorite is whatever fish special they've got at Barbette.

I also have lots of meatless and meat light recipes on my blog at

Congratulations and good luck on your challenge!

Teddy said...

Thanks, Ali! French Meadow is on the list. Haven't tried them for much beyond brunch and a quick lunch, but I think they'll work great for this challenge!

Anonymous said...

You're going to have so much fun! I noticed from your blog that you're a sandwich person - have lunch at St. Martin's Table and the Birchwood.

I'd be happy to cook for you, if you'd like, too. Bring a few friends who want to experiment with veg. I live in SW - we could post the experience! Send me an email if interested.

Sarah from Vegetarian Perspective

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