30 Day Vegetarian Challenge Week 1

“I just can’t do it anymore,” my husband declares over our food processor. It’s covered in a black bean-quinoa mush that he’s grinding into black bean burgers.  “I can’t stand the smell,” he says. My hubbie graciously decided to cook me black bean burgers to support my 30 day vegan diet. He found this awesome looking recipe. But once he got dirty and things got smelly, he gave up.

I took over the cooking of the burgers. Not too bad with sweet potato fries on the side.

Here's the black bean burger my husband so lovingly began to cook.

Here’s the black bean burger my husband so lovingly began to cook, yet jumped ship when he smelled the beans.

A Pleasant Surprise. Week 1 of my 30 day vegetarian challenge is over. I can honestly say it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  I craved meat only 3 times during the week.  I was bombarded by KFC commercials during the football games and thus had a craving for fried chicken. I was however, pleasantly surprised by the new foods I sampled that I would have shied away from.

Go Easy. If you want to try being a vegetarian, make it easy on yourself.  I had zero experience with veganism and needed someone to tell me how to grocery shop. I used emeals.com to obtain 7 recipes. You can select your food style whether it’s classic to gluten-free to vegetarian. I picked my local grocery store, and it gave me a grocery list to match the menu.  This service took away the thinking for planning my meals. Great if you’re scatterbrained like me.

Go Ethnic. Visit your local Indian and Asian restaurants and sample their vegetarian dishes. My local whole foods restaurant was fantastic.

What did I eat? I’m not going to bore you with my daily menus, but here’s what worked for me. I was never hungry. Find what works for you.

Breakfasts. Morning meals consisted of oatmeal, granola or Kashi cereal with dried cranberries and nuts topped with vanilla soy milk.

Lunches. My lunches at home would be either a boca burger on whole wheat or leftovers from the night before. That’s also when I would sample the local vegetarian fare. I had several different yet fantastic veggie burgers. A whole foods restaurant had a yummy “chicken” soy rice and vegetable soup. I’m a soup lover, so this porridge was for me.

My favorite ve-eat however, was PF Changs! The vegetarian dumplings were phenomenal, with little bits of tofu, cabbage, mushrooms. Then, I had the coconut curry vegetables of stir-fried vegetables, crispy silken tofu and peanuts in a mild curry powder and coconut milk sauce. Yum!

Dinners. Evening meals were recipes from emeals.com. My favorite recipe used Buitoni Four Cheese Ravioli that added sun-dried tomato pesto, artichokes, and broccoli. I never would have tried it on my own. Other dinners were spinach lasagna; bean burritos with rice, sweet potato chips and salsa; spinach, mushroom, and veggie cheese quesadilla; Zataran’s pasta with “chorizo” tofu sausage, which was surprisingly good.

crunchSnacks. Okay, this is my new favorite snack, vegan or not. Mrs. May’s Cashew Crunch is vegan, wheat free, gluten free, no cholesterol, and dairy free. I ate the whole bag in one sitting. Other snacks were peanut butter on oat bread toast, pretzels with humus, and fresh fruit.

I made it! I made it one week as a vegan. Not too shabby I’d say. I wasn’t perfect in keeping all dairy out. One morning for breakfast, my best option at the local diner was yogurt and granola with skim milk. And, I’ve taken a few bites of my daughters’ chicken nuggets, to um, make sure they were to my daughters’ standards.

How did you do in your own healthy eating challenge! Comment below what you’ve enjoyed or hated. How did you do this week? Are you a stickler for the rules, or do you let yourself slide at times?

Happy Ve-ing!

In case you are wondering. There are different types of veggie eaters:

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18 thoughts on “30 Day Vegetarian Challenge Week 1

  1. Sounds good! I am not a vegetarian but I have attempted to eat healthy. So far it is going well. I have been craving junk food but have resisted. I went shopping and didn’t buy any candy, just 100 calorie packs (cakes and such) So I have that after dinner.

    • Good for you for being strong and saying no to the temptations! Thank goodness for 100 calorie packs. Great invention. 🙂 Keep it up!

  2. My first week went well. I was excited to try the vegetarian lasagna recipe I found. It was good, but at certain points I kept thinking how much better it would be if it only had MEAT! One day I accidentally had meat for two of my meals but that’s the only slip-up from my personal challenge (2 meatless meals per day PLUS two meat free days per week) that I’ve had so far. Looking forward to trying other new stuff (I want to try PF Changs now!). You’re doing good so far so keep up the good work!

    • Congratulations on making it 1 week! You wrote, “I kept thinking how much better it would be if it only had MEAT!” oh, that’s too funny!! I slipped up too and had meat a few times. woops. Thanks for joining the challenge. You’re making it fun!

  3. Good on you! You might want to look at Mark Bittman’s Cooking With Leafy Greens book for some good meal ideas — not a veg book, but the main ingredients in everything are leafs, and so lots of salads and creative soups that are pretty easy to veganize.

    • Thanks Valerie! I would love to partake in your party! Thanks for the heads-up. It will give me time to make a batch so I can get a good photo. Great idea! I’m excited to see what other readers submit. Love easy recipes.

    • Great! I look forward to gaining a new recipe for my vegetarian cooking nights! Another woman has already submitted a veg chili for the party! 😀

  4. Good job Maya! I say eggs and dairy should be ok though….I’m just saying that b/c they are my main sources of protein! Also, I pick up the morning star “chicken” nuggets and make them extra crispy….it is a dinner staple. Their breakfast pattie sausages are good too, just make sure you get them toasty. Courtney told me you were a meat-o-holic…..I didn’t know. I am a sugar-phen and I can’t stop. I do know that if you have a piece of birthday cake at 9am for a work celebration the sugar makes me crave sugar all day. It is true, I have taken notes on my behavior on days where sugar is introduced in the morning vs the afternoon. It makes a difference! hahaha! I need a 12 step program for sugar addiction!

    • You are so funny Michelle!! I need a 12 step for meat-o-holics. Today, I was craving meat bad! Thanks for the advice on morning star “chicken” nuggets. I haven’t tried those yet, but I’ve been using their crumbles for years. Yea, I think long-term I’ll have to keep dairy in my diet. I love it so much. But for a month, I can make it! What other veggie foods do you love?

  5. I love meat… I don’t think I could do that! My sis became a vegetarian for a semester as a school project and I saw how tough it was on her. Props to you though, sounds like you had a good start!

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