I’m about two months into life as a vegetarian (or, as my husband calls it, my hippie dippy phase). Long enough to feel like I’m starting to get the hang of it. And long enough to gather some little nuggets of knowledge that none of the “beginning vegetarian” books and blogs share.
So, being the giving person I am, I’m going to share them with you.
1. When you commit to becoming vegetarian, you commit to learning a whole new way to cook. And it’s much more difficult than cooking an omnivorous menu. There’s no slapping a chicken breast on the grill, or nuking a hot dog, for instance. You’ve got to cook. And it’s hard.
2. Cooking vegetarian meals involves doing more dishes than you ever imagined possible. I swear, every recipe I try calls for three bowls, four pots, and 50 million utensils. Me and the dishwasher? We’re becoming fast friends.
3. Vegetarian-types have a secret vocabulary. Did you know there was a thing called nutritional yeast? And that it can take the place of cheese? Or that you might need some agar agar powder? Or arrowroot? I didn’t. But I do now.
4. Kids can spot tofu at 100 yards. I keep trying to trick my daughter into eating it. I even tried making tofu nuggets (which I thought were delicious). But she is having none of it. And if she sees it on the counter, she runs screaming.
5. Feeding a kid when you’re trying to go veggie is not a task for the faint of heart. I try to get her to eat what I’m eating. Every night I try. But you know what she’s had for dinner three of the last six nights? Chicken nuggets. Organic ones, but still. As my diet gets less processed, hers is swinging in the opposite direction. Somehow, we’ve got to find balance.
6. When your diet is made up of mostly green things, the things that come out the other end start to become green too. Just so you know and don’t freak out and do a frantic Google search (not that I did or anything).
7. Also, green things have lots of fiber. If you’re not drinking enough water to counteract all that roughage, you’re in for a world of hurt. Ahem.
8. Fast food restaurants are a no man’s land. Even the salads have meat on them. This is very disappointing to small children who love their McD’s.
9. After you immerse yourself in veggie-ism, you will start to find things tasty that make others cringe. For instance, I have a recipe for tofu crab cakes that I’m dying to try. My husband isn’t so sure. And by not so sure, I mean vehemently opposed.
10. When all else fails, eat salad. It’s a recipe you can’t possibly screw up.
11. If I can do it, anyone can. So if you’ve ever been curious, just give it a try. You can always go back to eating Babe tomorrow.