The words hadn’t yet escaped my mouth and I already regretted them. “Joe and Becky actually went a whole month as vegetarians.” I was just trying to give Jen an interesting little anecdote about these people she was about to meat (pun intended), much like “Becky is afraid of clowns” or “Joe farts when he laughs.” But instead, I signed us up for 6 weeks of seemingly unnecessary torturous malnourishment.
Now Jen is already mostly vegetarian. She eats a little fish and an occasional chicken. I don’t exactly slaughter my own food but I’m fairly reliant on meat products of all shapes, tastes and prices. So when Jen suggested that we go vegetarian for 6 weeks, what I should have said was “Why the hell would I want to do something like that?” or at least a stern “no” or that look that the Brain gave Pinky every time he made a suggestion. Instead, I figured “What the hell?”
Why am I doing this? That’s a good question. One I didn’t fully answer to myself until after I had started this. Just a challenge. I’m not climbing Mt. Everest or running a triathlon. This is what I’m doing. I enjoy challenging myself and finding my limits. And there’s a good possibility I will find that limit before the end of the 6 weeks. Hopefully not at the end of a roast beef IV drip in Memorial Hospital after attempting to do something as stupid as run to first base after 23 days without protein.
Day One: Day one and I already cheated. Kinda. I’m making up my own rules so who’s to say I’m actually cheating anyway? I went to order lunch and – with very newly limited options – went with mac & cheese and potato salad. Only at the last minute, I thought “Wait a sec! I like mashed potatoes more than potato salad and it’s still not an animal. I’m gonna do that!” And as the guy was dishing it out, he asks me if I’d like beef or turkey gravy. I recognized both of those as meats. And there damn well wasn’t anyway I was going to not have gravy. Oh well. Looks like tomorrow will be the real day one.
Day Two: Day two and Jen cheated. Taco Bell “botched” her order apparently and she didn’t notice until too late. I’m going to use that excuse later too. “Honey, I swear I ordered the alfalfa salad, I don’t know why they brought me filet mignon wrapped in bacon.” I also apparently cheated according to Fred’s bullshit theory. And yes, I’m calling it a theory. I had a Caesar salad and apparently authentic Caesar dressing (which this was never proven to be) uses anchovy paste or something like that. Apparently anchovy is some sort of fish, which I didn’t ever really bother to learn. So I may or may not have cheated depending on the dressing and the parameters I am using to define my vegetarianism. I’m OK with that.
Day Three: Wednesday is pizza day, an already-functional conduit for my new vegetarian ways. I was looking forward to pizza day for a while, mostly because I knew what I was going to eat. That’s the biggest struggle day to day. So far. It’s not the actual consumption of non-meat. It’s finding that. I am ill-prepared for this endeavor in that respect. But Wednesday, it was already spelled out for me. Thank you, pizza day, for making my food-hunting process a little easier today.
Also, Jen made mac & cheese for dinner tonight. I will probably eat that a lot. And I finished it well after I was full because I couldn’t find a Tupperware lid to save it for later. That is pathetic on multiple levels.
Day Four: I was able to put it off for this long, but I finally partook in the Veggie Patty from Subway. Formerly looked upon with disgust and honestly, a little arrogance, I was now set to purchase this rectangular piece of speckled cardboard. And you know what? It didn’t suck. Maybe I’m already grading on a curve, but it was impressively tolerable. I will likely have it again in the upcoming weeks. However, I will not get jalapenos on it. I never purposely had them on anything and didn’t like them even when I was eating meat. I don’t know why I asked for them. I think I was in a panic when ordering. I’ll try to practice beforehand next time.
Day Five: I actually called ahead to a bar to ask if they had any vegetarian food. Turns out they do have more than just french fries that I can eat. Most places do. I think I am starting to recognize real vegetarians as regular people in society. People with a slight societal disorder and an iron defficiency, but fuctional members of society nonetheless.
I saw a black bean burger in the menu. Having already eaten a veggie patty, I figured I’d try it. I am now convinced that doused in pepperjack cheese, ketchup and mayo that anything would taste like a cheeseburger. That’s probably the mission statement at McDonalds. Anwyay, I was both delighted and disturbed at how easy it was to fool me into thinking I was eating beef. And I already had pizza on the menu at Brian and Lauren’s place for dinner so I was set for another day. At the end of this experiment, I’m going to toal up the number of times I eat pizza and Mac & cheese. The over/under is probably 3.5 times a week for each.
Day Six: By pure luck, Jen and I were invited to a dinner party for Kate Fergus that happened to be at Great Sage, a vegetarian restaurant. I always knew these people had their own restaurants but I never thought I’d be allowed in one. And they apparently have their own idea of how much non-meat dinners should cost. They also spend a lot of time tryint to mold edible non-meat products into the shape and texture of actual meat products. I ordered the “chicken.” And that’s how it was listed in the menu, quotation marks and all. The Coconut Curry “Chicken.” I’m pretty sure by law, KFC has to do that too when they spell out the chicken. Which is why they always say “KFC.” And I’ll be darned if it didn’t have the same look and feel to it that chicken does. And drowned in curry, it was really hard to tell the difference. It seems as though these vegetarian places spend a lot of time and effort to make these products seem like other meats. I wonder if they pretend they are when they eat them too. Oh, those cheaters.
Day Seven: The end of week one of six. This was an easy day as I didn’t leave the apartment and all the only meat in here are these beef jerky sticks from our Texas trip that Jen has under lock and key anyway. She made some veggie concoction with peppers, pineapple and couscous. I spend the rest of my diet on Chips Ahoy, Ritz and veggie cream cheese. Next time I try a diet just to see if I can do it, I’m going to make sure it’s motivated by health reasons.