“You’re doing what, Erin? I don’t understand why you’re doing this? Are you going to make me a vegetarian?”. These questions came from my Dad as I tried to explain the 11×30 project at the dinner table. It was the first day of July and I was visiting their new home in Arkansas. I felt a pang of guilt, knowing how much work he had put into the meal we were about to eat, the centerpiece of which was a beautiful piece of salmon. Is how people with selected dietary preferences or restrictions feel when eating with other people: guilty? In California almost any dietary type or restriction is accepted without a second thought. Herbivore, vegan, flexitarian, gluten-free, sugar-free – whatever you want or need is readily available. Even the Domino’s pizza chains offer a gluten-free crust option!
Being the Midwest to kick off the July vegetarian challenge came with a few dilemmas. First, my family meals are anchored by meat. People feel a little offended when you turn down star course for the meal. Secondly, the proteins and grains I wanted to eat, like quinoa, is difficult to find and usually 3-4 times more expensive than the west coast prices. Eating healthy = ouch for the pocketbook. Third was overcoming the stereotypes and … fear … associated with “eating outside the lines”. My father actually became a little upset with me, asking if I was planning to make him become a vegetarian. Trust me, I have neither the patience nor power to change other people’s behaviors in such a dramatic fashion against their will.
If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, I’d love to hear from you about your experiences when it comes to the above – loved ones, the financial aspects and the social interactions. Are people in your life accepting? Supportive? Confused? Irritated? I loved this post by Gena of Choosing Raw from a couple of years ago on how to handle the holidays being a vegan or vegetarian.
And how did I fare? Overall, pretty good! At one of the weddings there were zero options for veggies and vegans and I was HUNGRY … so I gave into eating a few meat items (coconut shrimp anyone??). And last weekend we were invited to a BBQ and the main course was 22 lbs of meat. I resisted it all until a beautiful piece of salmon smothered in truffle oil and sea salt landed in front of me. I really miss seafood. Red meat, chicken – I can live without you. I’m 3 days into my vegan adventure and taking lots of cues from my my bookshelves. My guides for this month as a vegan include several books from my library – Super Cleanse, Crazy Sexy Diet and The Food Matters Cookbook by Mark Bittman – and a few wonderful blogs like Choosing Raw, Healthy Happy Life, Garden of Vegan and My New Roots.
Here’s a recap of the challenges for each 11×30 month:
1.) 31 Days of Eating Vegetarian // July 2012 (check!)
2.) 31 Days of Eating Vegan // August 2012*
3.) 30 Days of Eating Raw // September 2012
4.) 31 Days of Yoga // October 2012
See the FULL list of challenges lined up for my year before turning 30! Let me know if you’re on board for any of the challenges – I’d love company through the journey.
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