Meat-Free May: Week 3

We are into the third week of Meat-Free May! I am still feeling good and have not eaten meat nor wanted to eat meat. I do have a few health updates that may or may not be related. Because I was at the doctor’s this morning for my annual, I know I lost two pounds. Also my blood pressure, which has never been a concern of mine, was 118/75, so now it is even less of a concern (previously had been 120/80). At some point this week, I remembered that in the past when I was vegetarian or vegan for years-long stretches, I became deficient in vitamin B12, so I did start taking that as a precaution.

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Hiking in the woods near our house!

This week I ate out a lot, but forgot to take photos every single time! We went hiking, biking, went to a show at my son’s school, and I went to a concert and spent a lot of time hanging out with horses. One night I ate Chinese food out at a fancy place. We had an assortment of things, but my favorite was Shao Kao Fu, which is seitan with mushrooms and peanuts. I also ate Thai food out with my family, and had Massaman Curry with tofu and vegetables. And finally I had Italian food out with my family, and I had eggplant rollatini.

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These were actually really good!

I’m trying to remember what I ate this week at home and mostly failing. There were a ton of my favorite salad: kale, avocado, cucumber, tahini, and hemp seeds. I made orange seitan with broccoli for the family one day. And I finally got to try jackfruit, which I’ve been curious about for some time. It came four cakes to a pack, so I made them all, and ate two on successive days for lunch. I liked the jackfruit, even though I’ve not into crabcakes that much. I would definitely be interested to try jackfruit in a different format!

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This was my favorite thing I’ve made in a long time, and I ate it two days in a row!

Meat-Free May: Week 2

The second week in Meat-Free May went well in that I continued to not eat meat, continued to not crave meat, and continued to feel well!

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Yummy ramen! We were also given complementary endamame for some reason–not that I’m complaining!

We actually ate out a bit more than usual, the highlight of which for me was ramen! I love ramen and was concerned our local joint did have a section for “vegetable ramen,” but it did not specify that the ramen was vegetarian. I know their regular ramen is made from animal bones, so I asked the waitress, and was informed that my favorite, the miso ramen, is vegetarian!

The two other times we ate out were at vegan restaurants, so we were able to pick from the menu without asking/worrying. While I love this about eating at vegan places, I think it’s also important to eat at omnivore restaurants as a vegetarian, so they will know that yes, people like vegetables!

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TJ’s falafel mix is very easy to prepare!

For meals at home, we had pasta one night, pizzas another night, and one day, something that I previously thought was really hard to make–falafel. I baked it rather that fried it, mostly because that amount of frying seemed like it would be more danger than I wanted to deal with! Thus, it was a little dryer (and I’m sure way healthier) than I’m used to. Also, this mix was a bit spicier than I usually expect falafel to be. Nonetheless, thumbs up! I ate this with kale salad for lunch the remainder of days of the week.

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The pita is almost bigger than my plate!

For dinner, we had the falafel balls with pita, kale, cucumbers, avocado, and TJ’s tahini sauce. The kids ate their falafel with…cheese and ketchup. At least they ate it!

Sustaining the Sustainability Swaps!

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It’s been a few weeks since my month-long sustainability swaps, so I thought I would check in. The five swaps I made were: (1) Reusable water bottle, (2) Reusable bamboo utensils, (3) Recycled and bamboo paper products, (4) Reusable beeswax sandwich wrapper,  and (5) Reusable wool dryer balls.

All have held up, and I would like to make some more sustainability swaps, but I have to do some more research, which is time-consuming. I thought perhaps I would aim to do one swap per month, as that seems pretty doable. There are a few things I’m in the middle of researching, so if anyone would like to provide personal insight, I would appreciate it!

Here are a couple of things for which I am trying to find alternatives:

  1. Deodorant: Mostly because of the plastic tubes, so any product that replaced this would have to be in some other packaging, but I’m not particularly sweaty and I have sensitive skin, so I am also looking for something with fewer harsh ingredients. I also have an relatively new deodorant I am going to use up first.
  2. Razor: Again, this is all because of the plastic. I am looking to buy a safety razor, but I am very nervous about using a safety razor. Also, I keep finding boxes of razor “heads” in random cabinets, so I am going to use them up first.
  3. Toothbrush: Once again, the plastic. I know there are bamboo brushes out there, but I just bought a new toothbrush a few weeks ago, so I am going to get its full lifespan use out of it before I swap it out.

Since I am participating in Meat-Free May this month, I’ll probably not decide and write about my next swap in June. Looking forward to it!

Meat-Free May: Week 1

It hasn’t been a full week yet, but since I didn’t take notes and am liable to forget, I thought I would check-in how I did for week 1 of Meat-Free May. In short, it went well! Meaning, of course, I didn’t eat any meat, and I felt fine and wasn’t craving it.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I generally eat the same two things for breakfast and lunch every day: cereal with almond milk and a banana and kale salad and a peanut butter sandwich. My only weekday deviation was an egg salad with carrots and chips one day, as I was at the DMV all morning and didn’t want to bring my lunch with my.

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Trader Joe’s Meatless Meatballs: a yummy study in contradictions!

One night for dinner we had spaghetti and meatballs. Having two young kids, this is a staple at our house. They were hesitant when I told them the meatballs might taste differently because they were not meat, but they not only ate everything I gave them, but asked for seconds!

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They ate all this and asked for seconds! And yes, I let them eat in front of the TV, but in my defense, we were watching Kiki’s Delivery Service!

Another meal I put together at home was ready-made Indian stuff, also from Trader Joe’s. It was chana masala (chickpeas with tomato and spices), palak paneer (cheese cubes with spinach puree), and garlic naan (flatbread). This was too much for my older son, so I also made him frozen fish fingers. My younger son is a much more adventurous eater and proclaimed it “spicy, but not too spicy.”

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I was hungry and started eating before taking the photo!

Over the weekend, as predicted, I ate out twice. For lunch Saturday, we had pizza. For dinner Saturday, we went to a large food truck festival called the Queens Night Market. I was walking around and eating too much to take photos, but we mostly all shared everything. We had corn on the cob, a rice cake with eggplant and tomato puree on top, a corn cake with tofu and vegetables cooked into it, a spiralized potato with cheddar seasoning, and fried ice cream. I have to admit that I was nervous there would be no vegetarian options there, but there were plenty. I plan to go back many times this season!

 

 

Meat-Free May!

This month, I am doing another month-long project: Meat-Free May! As you might guess, this means I will attempt to not eat any meat for the month of May. Other people are doing it too, and have written about why you would do it here. The New York Times also has a great article about how what we eat impacts the planet. And yes, there is also a quiz!

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Vegan me a few years ago, visiting an animal sanctuary.

I have a long and twisted diet history, but for the most part, I don’t like eating meat. I don’t care for the flavor and texture of meat as a whole. For a not insignificant portion of my life, I have been vegetarian and sometimes vegan. I am also a minimalist with food choices. What I mean is that the more food choices there are, the more stressed I feel. (I can’t even tell you how stressed I get just looking at a buffet!) I have tried to deal with this by eating the same thing for breakfast and lunch every day. Breakfast is cereal with almond milk and a banana. Lunch is kale salad with oil and vinegar and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

For dinner I will usually eat out about two nights a week, have take-out one night, and cook the rest. Dinner is varied, but usually kid-friendly. If I were single with no kids, I would probably eat the same two things for dinner every other night, like I did through most of my 20s. (If you are interested, these two meals were a flatbread with garlic and vegetables on it, and pasta with oil, garlic, and greens. Now I would probably add a rice and beans to the mix, you know, because I’m so adult.)

For this month, to keep myself accountable, I’ll write how I did every Monday. I assume the weekends will be the problem, as I tend to be out and about with the kids. I also assume I will be eating at least one slice of pizza and one Impossible Burger a week, which is okay by me. Let’s see what happens!

 

 

Sustainability Project Week 5

Because of the way the days fell on the calendar this month, there are five weeks to this month-long project of sustainability swaps. I was happy to do one more swap than I originally intended! For the first week, I stopped using plastic water bottles, for the second, I stopped using plastic utensils, for the third, I stopped using first-use paper products, for the fourth, I stopped using sandwich wraps.

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There were four balls in this pack I got from Trader Joe’s for about $6.50.

This week’s swap is dryer sheets! The internet has a ton of information (whether it’s true or false, I am uncertain) on why dryer sheets are bad for you. I am undecided on that for myself, but the focus of this project is to swap out single-use products for multi-use products. Thus, balls!

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My older son impersonating a fly and showing the size of the dryer balls.

These wool dryer balls were bought in Trader Joe’s, but there are tons of similar products available elsewhere in person or online. Obviously, they don’t have a smell, and I’m not into my clothing smelling like a flower enough to go out and get essential oils to put on them. But they do seem to make the clothing fluffy and also reduce drying time, thus saving electricity. I recommend them!

Sustainability Project Week 4

Recap! Week 1 was single-use plastic water bottles. A person I was with bought one at some point, and I did have a few drinks from it, but then I made sure it was recycled. Week 2 was plastic utensils. I have used my bamboo set at work every day, and only once forgot to tell them not to include them when ordering take-out at home. Week 3 was toilet paper and paper towels. All good there!

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I found this for only $6 at a local farm!

For week 4, I am really happy to be writing about this bee’s wax coated reusable food paper. Just about every day for lunch, I bring to work a kale salad and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Since I don’t use plastic bags, I had been wrapping the sandwiches in aluminum foil, and then trying to reuse it for as many days as possible. But it was kind of gross after two days. I tried wax paper, but it was only marginally better.

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My naked PB&J!

Because it takes me a month to decide on even the most minute purchase, I looked at this and similar products online for a ridiculous amount of time. I was unable to decide if I should just get one or a multipack, what sizes, what pattern, etc. But I was visiting my local farm (yes, there is a farm in NYC, more than one, in fact) and I found a single pack of the large size on sale for $6. I couldn’t argue with the price or the fact that I wouldn’t have to have it shipped to me.

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A perfect wrap!

So, how does it work? It just sort of folds down with the heat of your hands, and when you’re done, rinse it in cold water and hand somewhere to dry. Since one is supposed to last about a year, I’m saving a lot of aluminum foil!