Breakfast was easy. A piece of fruit and a toaster waffle and I’m out the door. Lunch was harder. Having class during the day, I typically grab lunch at the student center. I found myself quickly realizing that there are less vegetarian and meatless options than I originally expected. Chic-fil-a basically serves chicken sandwiches only, so that was out. Maybe I could have found a bean only options at Taco Bell but I wasn’t interested. Subway seems healthy, but I always order turkey sandwiches so what could I order there? I remember seeing their veggie patties there and decided against it. There was always a cheese pizza option upstairs, but that didn’t really appeal.
Probably the best choice for a healthy meatless Monday would have been to visit the salad bar upstairs, but I don’t really like salad very much. I decided I could get some chow-mein from Panda Express. I found myself in a debate on whether or not Meatless Monday included fish because I wanted to order some shrimp. I considered fish and meat to be separate so I decided to order the shrimp but in doing some research I find this choice was probably not best in the spirit of Meatless Monday so I will not be doing that again. For dinner tonight I plan on having some pasta and maybe a vegetable.
Doing this exercise is making me quickly realize that I have a diet that is much more dependent on meat products that I originally expected. I don’t view fruits and vegetables as essential to meals, but merely side dishes. Eating a meal without a meat source often seems incomplete to me. For my next Meatless Monday I will plan to pack a lunch to try and avoid the student center all together. I think I will also attempt to pick out a recipe from the Meatless Monday website and try making it.
Reflecting on my first experience I find myself eager to do better on the next Meatless Monday. Even though I may not have been completely successful because I ate fish, I feel good about not eating meat for a day. I am ready to fully embrace the spirit of the challenge. It’s such a small step that makes me feel like I’m doing something good for my health and the environment, but it also puts vegetarians in a new light for me. In this society, I think it must be incredibly difficult to be a vegetarian. Maybe there are some people that have been doing it their whole lives and see it as normal, but our culture is very centered on consumption. We are very concerned with what we eat and our culture caters highly to meat consumption. Trying to eat as a vegetarian for just one day made me feel like I had very little choices compared to meat eaters. I felt as if I had not only far less options, but far less delicious or appetizing options. But perhaps this is just due to my innate need for meat to be the focus of my meals.