Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Day 32

It has been 32 days since we started our experiment. In that time period I have now eaten meat three times. I have to say it has been a bit weird being off the diet. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and long weekend. I will tell you know about my experience with meat again.

Unlike Alex, I had a harder time initially with the turkey. I only had one piece, a small one at that. Part of me was worried about upsetting my stomach after a month off the meat (I can say now that this was not a problem) but a significant part of me felt it was wrong. I looked at the heaping tray of turkey and it felt off limits to me. I took my piece and passed it along, then got some mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and lefsa (a Norweigan/Minnesotan tradition, check it out, it's good stuff). I spent a great deal of time focusing on my other options, hiding the turkey under a roll. I think my first bite of the turkey was accidental. A few strands, fibers of the meat separated from my piece and made it to my potatoes, on the very bite I was about to take. I had taken off the edge. I decided I should go for it after that and ate the whole piece in two or three bites with my potatoes. I have to say it wasn't as good as I remembered it, and I actually felt wrong after eating it and maybe slightly upset in the stomach, though it was probably placebo. Needless to say, it wasn't an experience of relief or bliss to reunite with the food group. The rest of Thanksgiving was great though.

The next night, Alex and I went out with the intent of eating meat together (and having fun, too). We ended up strolling the streets of downtown Minneapolis (what a great city!) a bit with Tabitha and Tim before deciding upon the Hard Rock Cafe, as none of us could remember ever eating there. Let me say, the menu had maybe 2 veg options - a veggie burger and a salad. It was nice to not be so limited, though it made the decision making process much longer. I knew I wanted chicken, since I've missed it the most. I settled on the chicken club sandwich (so it had bacon too, which may be harder to give up than I led on.. it was quite tasty). I dug right into the sandwich when it came. I think it was easier because I hid behind the bread and didn't think about what was underneath it. Once I got going it felt pretty normal. I will agree with Alex's sentiment and say that it didn't taste any better than before, even after the hiatus. Just like it always has. Actually, I really could have done without that sandwich. It was good enough, but not necessary. The veggie burger would have been better.

Finally, my third encounter with meat was the following night, out for my Dad's birthday dinner. We went to Boca Chica in St. Paul, apparently voted the best Mexican in the Twin Cities. I have to concur. It was incredible. The smell alone was amazing. There was a mariachi band. Everything you could want. I got chicken mole enchiladas. Now I remember why I missed the chicken. My ethnic food. The enchiladas were incredible. I have to say they wouldn't have been quite as good without the chicken (though the beans, rice, and cheese are still probably the best parts).

So I guess my transition was gradual. I went from avoiding turkey at Thanksgiving and feeling guilty about it, to ignoring my guilt, digging in, and not enjoying it too much, to seeking it out and absolutely loving it. However, the next day at the airport before my flight I went to D'Amico & Sons. Instinctively I searched out the vegetarian options, of which there were two. I ordered the Caprese panini, which was tomato, fresh mozzarella, basil pesto all grilled up. However they were "out of the Caprese panini." Now I don't know about you, but I hate it when you order an item at a restaurant that has multiple parts that need to be assembled and they say we are out of the entire item. I imagine they had tomato (because I got it on another sandwich), and in reality it was just one thing they were out of. Tell me that. You can't be out of something that isn't premade. It was the same at the Mexican place - my Dad ordered a sundae and she replied "we are out of sundae." Upon prodding she said they were only out of ice cream. Say that. We can't make item "X" because we are out of ingredient "Y." Anyway, pointless pet peeve aside, I ended up getting a cold vegetarian sandwich with red peppers, tomato, and goat cheese. It was alright, but I couldn't finish it.

Where am I going with all of this. Since having meat on Saturday I haven't had any since. I haven't wanted any since. I have a plethora of vegetarian food left over (I tend to buy 2 weeks of groceries every time I go to the store, which is once a week, hence the surplus...). Last night I made fried rice with a "chicken" tofu steak. It was delicious. I haven't craved meat either. I don't need it as much. Going to the extreme of cutting it out for a month proved to me I don't need it in my diet. It didn't make me want to swear it off completely, at least not right now. But it did show me that there is plenty out there that doesn't involve it. And from my three meat experiences I think I have learned that really, what I miss, is chicken in Mexican, Chinese, Thai, and Indian food. I don't get that stuff very often, but when I do, it will be chicken (with the occasional rice, bean, and cheese burrito). Beyond that, its veggie burgers, and the occasional other meat. I think that's good for now. If nothing else, I proved that I can do it. I wasn't dying of cravings for meat at the end of it, and when I had it again, in general it wasn't amazing, and could have done without it (again minus the chicken mole enchiladas...mmmmmm..).

So I guess that's it. No overarching conclusions. It is possible to go vegetarian, no matter how much you love meat. I guess that's the conclusion. I love meat, and couldn't even imagine not eating it before we started this. The weeks leading up to it I dreaded what I was getting myself into, savoring meat every time I had it. Now, after it's done, I can tell you all that you can do it too. Give it a try, you may just find you don't need it nearly as much as you thought you did.

Thanks for reading, everybody. This blog made the experience that much richer. To involve all of you in our journey made it special. Thanks for the comments and the poll votes, and reading our thoughts that we often proclaimed with ultimate certainty and truth (even though I can assure you we admit we aren't right about everything we said; they are just ideas, thoughts to contemplate). Saying goodbye to the blog is honestly harder than anything about our experiment. Thanks again, and Alex and I are toying with the idea of starting up a general interest blog, so if you have enjoyed our musings, keep your ear to the ground and you may just hear about our next 30-day experiment, or just about what some girl did after a sprinkler drenched her on her way to class.

Adios amigos.


Alexandra Dyke said...

"my ethnic food" ... that actually made me laugh out loud. :)

kudos to you and Alex for your meat-free month! (and yes you two should start a blog!)

Devin E said...

Thanks for your continued support Alex! I think we probably will start up a blog where I can talk all about my ethnic food (which taken literally would mean lutefisk and lefsa.. Norwegian food). Anyway, see ya Friday!

Nick N. said...

"we're out of sundae"

For some reason I find that statement hilarious.

Devin E said...

it is hilarious.. we're out of sundae? imposible