Anyway. Jay has been a vegetarian for 6 weeks! We determined that this morning after he got really snippy with me because he’s been telling everyone 3 months because he thinks he started on September 6 but that’s TWO months ago and really he started being a vegetarian on September 22 so….the first revelation is that vegetarians suck at counting?
But no really. He’s been eating zero meat save for a bite of something I’m having here and there, and has stuck really closely to shellfish in the past six weeks, which means that I’ve had to get CREATIVE with how we eat.
Mainly, I want him to continue to have balanced meals that still involve protein. The thing that I see happen a lot with us when we eat vegetarian is that carbs take over instead of produce and protein, which is not generally ideal when we’re talking about pasta. We used to eat a ton of chicken, fish, and beef, and now that all three of those things are off the table it was a little dicey there for a minute. For the first several days that Jay made this choice I was actually pretty upset – I’m not a huge fan of my foodlife being wrecked, and this was a really big change. See also: control freak. I do think that Jay made the choice for reasons that are important to him, though, so after the initial hissy fit that I threw where I made it all about me I calmed down and made some changes and moved on.
Luckily, Jay and I both love tofu so a lot of things have happened with tofu. I almost always start it in cubes and crisp it up like I did for that buffalo tofu I showed you, and that method has been dunked in teriyaki, stirred into fried rice, tossed into salads, you name it, we’ve done it. I don’t know how Jay isn’t sick of tofu yet, for serious.
The saving grace for me has been catering: when other people order meat I just make extra and go for it while the veghead chomps on his tofu. It’s nice to have a reason to cook meat – on days where no one has ordered any dead animal flesh I usually don’t eat any since it’s kind of a pain to cook two meals.
Jay’s also down with meat STOCK, which makes things easier in soups, etc. He also eats shrimp, which goes great in curries and pastas as a substitute for meat that I used to put in those dishes.
In terms of meat substitute, I’m not a huge fan and he’s a REALLY huge fan. The next recipe I show will feature Trader Joe’s Soyrizo (not sponsored because they have no clue I exist), and so far TJ’s has the best faux-meat products. There is a ground beef made of tofu that you really can hardly tell isn’t beef, which is kind of the thing for me – I like meat and I like tofu, but I kind of want to be clear on what I’m eating and not have the two combined. The fake ground beef, though, is legit. My PROBLEM with all of these products is that they’re full of chemicals and sodium and are just as processed as effing Doritos, AND they’re supposedly not great for fertility or uteruses (uteri?) or any of that nonsense, so, while I can manage them, I don’t love the idea of getting in the habit of eating them a lot.
For lunch, I basically throw string cheese and cashews at Jay with some veggie leftovers and wish him well – I’m way less creative, except for the ONE TIME that I made those veggie wraps that he loved but it’s just way easier to toss a container of leftovers in a bag so…sorry.
In terms of the hissy fit, we’re both generally comfortable with our current arrangement, though I’m curious to see if a Turkey-cheat will happen at Thanksgiving in a few weeks. I don’t mind being more creative with our meals, and I like that I still get to try new things for catering and when I photograph them for you! Once we settled into this new routine where we mostly eat veggies and sometimes I eat meat and sometimes Jay takes a bite of it, things got fine. If anything, I’m proud of him for handling my brattiness with grace and sticking to something that’s really important to him.
What other non-meat products should I be aware of? Ways to avoid over-carbing without feeling like we’re just eating veggies all the dang time?