For Lent I gave up meat- beef, pork,and poultry, and I haven't gone back to eating it yet. We had watched "Forks Over Knives" in February and the information in the documentary really struck a cord with me. We had already gone to 3 meatless meals a week, but I found that certain kinds of meat were upsetting my stomach again. I also wanted to see if cleaning up my diet even more and going more plant based would help with my asthma, which was TERRIBLE during the end of summer last year. I did decide to keep eating seafood since we get such great seafood where I live, and shrimp and salmon are two of my favorite foods. That makes me a Pescatarian at this point in time. I do still cook meat for my husband and kids- we grill burgers often and I'll have a veggie burger instead. If we do chicken, I'll just make extra veggies, or baked buffalo or BBQ tofu (It's really good!) When we make our buffalo chicken dip, I'll make a small one for myself without chicken, and a large one for my family, and so on. We try to do fish a couple times a week since we have a the best fresh fish market right down the road. I also make a lot of vegetarian or vegan dishes that my family loves, so we have a huge menu to choose from. It's not been too much of an adjustment to be honest.
My oldest daughter has asked me if I'll ever eat meat again, and my answer is yes, most likely I will. Life is a really long time and I can't imagine never having a steak again. I have explained to her that everyone goes through dietary changes or phases in their lifetime, and that at this point meat doesn't really appeal to me. (Although I do take Trader Joes turkey jerky on camping trips. Since we are so active I need the quick protein, and peanut butter just doesn't always do the trick. ) I will never go back to eating the same amount of meat as before, but I will reincorporate it in small quantities at some point, except pork.
This new way to eat has meant some changes in the way we meal plan and grocery shop. We used to grocery shop twice a month- huge shopping trips on the Saturday of payday. We would sit down together and make a huge list before heading out for a marathon shopping trip. We would hit up BJ's, Trader Joes, and Kroger. It did help us budget, and I never had to run out and buy anything during the week- which saved tons of money. But it was tedious, and we couldn't get as many fresh fruits and veggies since A. my fridge isn't that big, and B. they wouldn't last a full 10 days.
We now eat at least twice as many fresh veggies as we used to so we have decided to shop once a week, and cut our BJ's trips down to once a month or less. Since we no longer need diapers or wipes in bulk, we don't need to go bulk shopping as often. It has actually cut our bill even more, and we waste far less than we used to. We still don't have to make daily visits to the store because we plan ALL our meals- breakfast, lunch, and dinner. My husband will stop at Whole Foods when he commutes to his office since there is one nearby (which is an hour from where we live.) He commutes once a week on average, and will take a short list with him about twice a month- usually for bulk grains, dried beans, granola, GMO free oils, and a few treats we can only get there.
We get our beef fresh from a farm twice a year, and we have a plentiful garden in the backyard to pick from so this week's menu required 1 short trip to Trader Joes, and a very small grocery bill.
Monday: Baked chicken ( I'll have Gardein chicken strips), fresh fruits and veggies.
Tuesday: Stuffed Shells, baked fried zucchini, fruit for dessert
Wednesday: French Bread pizza and mixed veggies
Thursday: Burgers on the grill (Dr. Praegers for me), homemade mac and "cheese", kale chips, sriracha baked beans.
Friday: Grilled Salmon, shrimp skewers, stir fried veggies, Asian pasta salad (recipe to come)
Saturday: We will put together next week's menu and grocery shop for the next week so dinner will be planned that day.
For lunches: I'll make up a Lemony Quinoa Salad, and have leftovers. The girls have "snack plates"- fruits, veggies, cheese stick, tortilla chips. We also have peanut butter and jelly, or leftovers.
Breakfast: I made an orange cake yesterday that is good for breakfast or dessert, I'll make a banana bread today, and we have cereal. On the weekends Daddy make pancakes or Belgian waffles, or we have biscuits and gravy.
Snacks: Cheese sticks, homemade granola bars, fruit- we have grapes, strawberries, pineapple, apples, and oranges, fresh cut up veggies, ants on a log, or chips and salsa.
So there you have it- our super easy meal plan that incorporates two different diets into one easy plan. Next weekend we get to go to the Farmer's Market, and I can't wait to share that menu with you!