Monday, June 15, 2009

You can't beat this meat......Meatless Mondays that is.

This job entails a lot of eating out. Lunches with co-workers. Dinners and receptions with contemporaries from my university and from other academic institutions. I try to be cool about this whole thing. I slyly check out whether there is meat in each dish. I don't take it on faith that if I'm having Mexican food there won't be any lard in the beans or chicken stock in the rice, I ask quietly so as not to make a fuss. I pretty much try not to draw attention to the fact that I'm pushing the food around on my plate in order to make it look like I'm eating the chicken salad that was just set in front of me. Wouldn't want to send it back. That might just piss off the catering company. Yeah, I am a freak.

Invariably someone will ask me why I became a vegetarian. This is an easy one. I like the easy questions. Just ask any of the hundreds of teachers I've had over the years. I became a vegetarian for health reasons.

About 15 years ago I had read an article that said that some women who have sever migraines do not process meat protein correctly. At that time I was suffering from no less than 1 migraine per week. You read that right; "1 per week" and those lasted for three days. I figured that if I could cut this number in half I'd be a very very happy woman.

I decided to give up meat of all kinds for 3 months as a trial. In that 3 month period I only had 2 migraines. I then decided that 3 months wasn't a long enough trial. So, I added another 3 months. Lo and behold I didn't have any migraines. I'm now down to 1 migraine or less per year.

Over the years I would occasionally have some fish but all in all I shunned meat. Now, I don't even eat fish, I do eat eggs and I also eat/drink dairy products (I'd go soy for all this but damn have you tasted that stuff?). I've actually become pretty militant about the whole thing lately, no leather shoes, belts or purses. Try finding a decent pair of pumps made of man-made materials and then who's to say that material isn't an oil product. It all becomes pretty confusing.

The first question that anyone asks me after they find out I'm a vegetarian is, "how do you get your protein?" I don't mind when friends or even strangers ask me because I figure it is an opportunity to tell them how easy it is to get protein in your diet without meat but when doctors ask me I get a bit pissed. Do your homework guys. I've even had doctors demand that I have blood tests to confirm that I'm getting enough protein and iron. I pass their tests with flying color every single time.

I'll answer this question for you because you are my friends. I get most of my protein from beans and tofu and all those meatless products.

I don't expect that everyone will want to go totally meatless. JR and the Boy haven't. I do have to say that they only eat meat a couple of times a week (unless they sneak it while I'm not around) and I have stopped cooking it for them. I understand that others really like meat and don't want to give it up. That is why I've been encouraging the Meatless Monday thing for quite awhile now.

Turns out that not only is giving up meat at least one day a week good for you but it is good for the environment. Want more information about all this go to Meatless Mondays

One of the reasons that I like the whole Meatless Monday deal is because it does not demand that one give up meat everyday. It does not bully or try to guilt one into giving up meat. It asks that each person give it up for one day. One day is doable for most people.

There are other groups out there that bully or use guilt to get people to stop eating meat (you know who I'm talking about). I can't really get behind that kind of thing. Everyone needs to come to this in their own way.

Well, there is my soap box for today.



PS. Meatless Monday people I hope you don't mind that I totally stole your logo.


  1. I am already planning a meatless meal tonight.

    Rock on!

  2. What a great post! I admire and respect you for your explanation. Let me not make this too lengthy but first say I am not a vegetarian. I am a migraine sufferer though and I have never heard the connection to eating meat. Your comment about doctors asking about protein from other sources made me chuckle. I've had similar experiences with them regarding vitamin supplements. When I was single I NEVER cooked meat at home unless it was for company and when I did then, the clean-up used to gross me out. Then I got married and he also happens to be a hunter (no hissing) so I had to get back into cooking meat again although I do have meatless recipes and get them by him occassionally. Okay,'re an inspiration and have given me lots to think about!

  3. With The Young One flying to Texas for five weeks this afternoon, going meatless one or two days a week will be MUCH easier.

    So will having whoopee in the living room, but we won't go there right now.

  4. Thanks for posting this as I will send a link to my neice as she is a migraine sufferer too.

    I try the meatless meals quite often and have for several years now. Some they like. Others they complain about.

  5. K: Yay! Thanks for getting onboard.

    Sandy: I'd never hiss. I understand. Occasionally is great.

    Jan: Please go into the whoppee thing. I'll live vicariously through you.

    Kath: I can't guarantee that giving up meat will help your niece. No medical claims here. I will say that it worked for me and when my friend went on a very strict diet that limited her meat by more than half she not only lost weight but her migraines were reduced by half also.

  6. My 16yo hates meat for the most part. But she also won't eat tofu or beans. She doesn't like dairy.

    I worry about her protein intake because she's an athlete. Not sure what else to do about it (except feed her more eggs).

  7. I'll give you this - you will most likely outlive me by a number of years. Meat eaters have a higher risk of heart disease and cancers....but it's so yummy, I can't help myself ;)

  8. Why should people care if you're a vegetarian? Why can't people mind their own damn business? And hey...I go meatless 46 days a year during Lent, as you know. You like me better during those 6 weeks, dontcha? ; ) Cheers Michele!!

  9. I don't eat a lot of meat, but mostly out of laziness. Hubby works nights and so it's usually just me and X for dinner - making a whole 'meat' meal is just too much work.

    I very much admire vegetarians but I don't think I'd manage enough protein if I didn't eat meat. Again with the lazy.

  10. I only had meat 1/3 meals today but to be fair, I didn't get to my reader until just now. I'll try to skip the meat next Monday just for you! :) I'm mostly a chicken person anyway, I don't eat seafood and rarely eat red meat.

  11. The ravioli was made last night. Pictures were taken for proof. John loved it. I forgot my leftovers today and cried a little. I will enjoy my delayed gratification tomorrow at lunchtime.

  12. Oddly enough, I feel horrible when I eat carbs. (Doesn't mean I don't still eat them) But it is interesting to see the correlation between your migraines and meat. I have a friend who has them all the time...must share this info!

    Also, you are just the most thoughtful vegetarian out there. :)

  13. Michele,
    Thank you for writing about Meatless Monday, where I currently intern.
    The movement is definitely getting more attention! The Youtube video is also quite informative: /watch?v=bpnKeYmR1NM
    Thank you!

  14. I’ve been a vegetarian for 15 years, for health reasons too (hypothyroid). I had to smile when you wrote about not liking soy milk. I had a hard time at first, but it does get better over time and you don’t even notice after awhile. Have you tried rice milk? I would recommend rice milk to start with before going to soy milk, you have to get use to it first. I don’t drink either of them plain, but rice milk is great for cereal and some cooking. When baking or cooking, I find soy milk can be replaced for milk and you can’t even tell the difference.
    Great Post! Denise@cottagesisters