meat free for me

April 21, 2011

Tonight’s guest post comes from Alexa @ Simple Eats. Alexa gave up meat for the Lenton season and has some tips for those of you who are thinking about going meat free!

Hey there, Clean-Eating Chelsey readers! When brainstorming guest post ideas, I thought it would be interesting to share my current experience of not eating meat. Seeing as this is new to me, veggie-friendly blogs like Chelsey’s have been super helpful in giving me ideas while I go meat free. I’ve picked up a few tips along the way, and I’ve created some great meals as well!

I grew up eating meat. I often had it for lunch in my sandwiches, and for dinner, in the form of chicken or red meat. I ate it and grew to like it, but when I went to college, I rarely ate anything other than chicken. A steak was a luxury and I would almost never think to buy one for myself.

Nowadays, I still enjoy white meat like chicken and turkey, but decided to give it up for the Lenten season. (I gave up chocolate, too…crazy, I know!) I knew the chocolate would be hard, but I pretty much brushed off the meat challenge since I only eat meat about twice a week, if that. It’s been tough, but I now see through the eyes of someone who either can’t or chooses not to eat meat. What I’ve learned along the way:

1. Ask questions at restaurants!

When a group of friends and I went to a chain restaurant, I had no clue what I was going to do. Get a chicken wrap? Nope. Grilled chicken salad? Scratch that. Instead, I asked the waiter if I could get a quesadilla with just veggies. I was pleasantly surprised, it was delicious! You really will never know how restaurants can accommodate you until you ask!

2. Protein, protein, protein!

As soon as I started out on my meat-free diet, I was always hungry. I eat very healthy and know that protein is important, but without the occasional turkey sandwich or chicken breast, I was lost. I was consuming more carbs and cheese than usual and couldn’t figure out why I was hungry all the time. I realized I needed more protein! This is probably no news to many of you, but I didn’t realize how helpful it is to include things like lentils, beans and other legumes. The more protein I ate, the more energy I had and more satiated I felt! Along the way, I’ve created a few recipes that are higher in protein and delicious!

       Vegetarian Enchilada Casserole 


       Lentil, Barley and Bean Chili 


       Garlic Bean Pasta sauce


Question: What is your tip for someone who is thinking about going vegetarian?

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