“Yeah, I just want to look at it more at home…I’ll probably bring it back.”
Famous last words. That was a week ago – a few days ago:
I look at him;
“So, I’m making the Thai recipe tonight…we have a small steak in the freezer…I could add it?”
He looks at me. (smerk).
“hhmm….I’m fine with no meat….(smile)…”
On Friday when we talked about doing a week of no meat and more specifically vegan, neither of us thought we would be ending the week actually loving it. We didn’t foresee buying almonds and walnuts in bulk instead of a package of hamburger and some chicken. We both thought we would be hungry and that we would miss it (meat). But there we were staring at each other knowing that this has been a really fun and exciting week of food and we both feel better and neither one of us have any real desire to go back to our “old” (it’s only been a week!) way of eating. When something resonates with me I know it and I’m all in – and I can safely say that I am all in and a bit more.
Why it works for us:
We have known for a long time that we wanted to reduce our meat and dairy consumption. With both health and environmental issues that we feel strongly about concerning meat, you would think it would have been easier to cut it out but…here are some of the reasons it took us so long:
- I grew up on meat & potato meals and that is what I knew. My grand experience eating meatless included stirfry and lentil soup – blah, can’t eat only those two things for a week every week…
- I’m not an enthusiastic cook so need/want to just follow a recipe and we have had trouble finding breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes that we like
- we had to buy lots of extra ingredients – usually expensive
- every individual recipe needed “special” ingredients – usually expensive
- finding the “special” ingredients was a lot of hassle
- the recipes sounded better than they tasted
- we were hungry
Those are some of the reasons it has taken us a long time to even put a foot onto the meatless path. Being a one income family, our food budget is limited and what we found is that there were recipes that we wanted to try but every single one needed some other expensive ingredient which we may or may not ever use again. And honestly, if the key ingredients for a recipe we like are not the grocery store it’s likely we aren’t going to continue making it – too much time and work. Angela’s book was the easiest transition from going from meat and potatoes one day to nutritional yeast and cashew cream the next.
Our intention was and is not to be vegan – it just happens that this is a meatless cookbook that is also vegan. It’s only been a week so I think it’s premature to label ourselves but I have to say that these recipes resonate with our values and goals to eat a diet in whole foods and that is what has us excited. We used dairy for cheese and yogurt when called for in the recipes – I was really happy to cut down on the amount of dairy we consumed and that will likely be a factor in continuing to use the book.
What we loved about the recipes:
- key staple ingredients made it possible to make the majority of the recipes
- I must have texted the words “really yummy” at least 50 times this past week to friends and family
- simple recipes
- not a lot of “fake” ingredients (ie: soy meat as I like to call it)- real whole food eating
- full, full tummies – recipes are hearty and filling
- nacho dip
- soul soothing african peanut stew
- out the door chia power donuts w/chia jam
- gym rat smoothie
- perfected chickpea salad sandwich
We believe that the foundation of good health is a strong foundation in nutrition. The goal has always been to eat clean and whole. But the ideal and real life are often two different things. Making the meals this week reignited my passion for whole food eating and I will admit that I am totally inspired. It’s less about not eating meat and more about eating foods that I know are impacting our health in a more positive way.
Some of the positive changes we have noticed in the first week:
- Everyone is snacking less – the kids in the day and us at night.
- The kids are sleeping longer in the morning. I suspect they were waking up from hunger and are now more satisfied.
- Me and hubs are eating breakfast and lunch everyday – making for less tiredness and irritability at that lovely witching hour around 4 o’clock.
What would I change?
There are a few little things I will do differently moving forward. These are little nit picky things that are more personal taste and are no reflection on the actual recipes themselves.
- I will be adding a bit of variety when it comes to the veggies. Last week I bought 7 red peppers and 1 orange pepper which were for either a lunch or dinner recipe. And both the soups we tried had sweet potato in them. I like both red pepper and sweet potato but like a bit more variety so will add in some yellow and green pepper, broccoli and turnip for example.
- Change up some of the beans. Most of the recipes except one called for chickpeas. I love chickpeas but also like all the other beans too. Especially in soups it would be easy to swap out for a different kind of bean or use a can of mixed beans for a bit of a variety.
- We will be marking the recipes that have overnight prep. There are several recipes that ask to soak cashews. I found myself having to boil water and wait 1/2hr to an hour to be able to continue making the recipe. I would just put a marking on the recipes so that when they are used in one of our weekly meal plans we can make sure to indicate the prep so we do it the night before.
I can’t say enough about this cookbook. We LOVES it and I am now starting to go onto her blog and check out other recipes because honestly I wish there were 3 times the recipes in the book – her philosophy of food and the yum factor make this something we will use for a long time.
If you are thinking of reducing your meat and/or diary consumption I would say this is an amazing and easy cookbook to use as a starting point. I am an all or nothing type of person so we just took the plunge and did the whole week – breakfast, lunch and dinner but that would probably be difficult for a lot of people – so don’t think you have to jump in like we did…we just like to rock it or bomb it. Thankfully we rocked it this week 🙂
Happy clean eating!
p.s. Be sure to follow me on Instagram where I am posing pics of favorite dishes and other fun stuff.