Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Meatless May Update

Now that May is more than halfway done, it's time for an update on Meatless May! For readers who haven't read my blog in a few weeks (ahem my good friend LESLIE, who busted herself last week by naively asking me what a kip-up was), I decided to challenge myself and give up meat for the month of May. I also went ahead and decided to kibosh dairy as well, so I've consumed zero meat or dairy for the past 18 days.

So how's it been? If I had to give an answer in just two words, I'd say "surprisingly easy." I knew the meat part would be no sweat, especially with all of the vegetarian options out there today. I thought that exempting dairy from my diet would be a huge struggle and was halfway preparing myself to try and reason my way out of it after two weeks or so ("Ice cream doesn't REALLY count as dairy, right?" Wrong.). But you know what? Doing no dairy has pretty much been a breeze as well! It also helps that my roommate Velvet (who is, coincidentally, my number one blog commenter) decided to forgo meat and dairy as well for the month.

Here are some of the major changes we've made this month:

I used to drink at least 1 glass of skim milk a day and generously fill my cereal bowl with it...

(*Here in Canada, we drink milk from bags. Bags! It's a change that after 7 years in Canada I'm still not completely used to.)

Now, my bag o' milk has now been replaced by rice milk (Velvet prefers soy).

I thought this would be the hardest switch to make, but really, rice and soy milk are pretty tasty. I wouldn't ever pour myself a big glass of rice milk on its own, but in cereal it substitutes for milk just fine. I actually found substituting rice milk for cream in my morning coffee has been a harder switch to make, as the taste just isn't the same as delicious, creamy cream. As a result, I drink less coffee (which can't be a bad thing).

On the meat end of things, I used to eat chicken...

(*And yes, our chicken dinners always looked like the above picture. Either that or in nugget/finger form, which is pretty much the same, you know?)

Now it's goodbye real chicken, hello soy chicken!
We've been eating a few of Gardein's meatless "garden protein" options. The best one by far has been the Santa Fe Good Stuff version, which is filled with beans. Overall though, I gotta say, these haven't gone over big in our house. They have a weird texture which somewhat successfully mimics meat, and while eating it you think to yourself "Hey, these aren't too horrible, I guess" but then afterwards you realize that you dipped every bite in mustard or some kind of condiment to disguise the taste. On that note, I've become a huge fan of Kozlik's Canadian Mustard (especially the Amazing Maple one), which is both local in Toronto and preservative-free. Thanks for getting me through some rough dinners, guys!

And you know I have to mention cereal. Before, my go-to cereal was....do I even need to say?

In one of the world's cruelest pranks ever played on me, Great Grains contains milk ingredients and is therefore off limits. What's even worse is that I just returned from a road trip to Detroit (more on that later) and picked up 5 boxes of Great Grains to add to my stockpile. So now I have at least 7 boxes of Great Grains on top of my fridge, taunting me every morning with their crunchy pecans and grainy greatness. My life is hard.

Since Great Grains are a no-go, I now eat Nature's Path organic dairy-free cereals.

SO GOOD! I've loved pretty much every option I've tried. They're a little pricey (around $5 per box), but since I've received $26.00 in free coupons from Nature's Path due to a letter I wrote them about a gigantic cereal cluster found in my cereal (perhaps more on that later, too), I'm set for awhile. And might I take this time to say that Nature's Path's superior customer service has really endeared their cereal to me and made me a faithful buyer (Kim and Collies from Post, hang your heads in shame).

As you can see, we've had plenty of alternatives and therefore haven't had to struggle too much.

I think I miss yogurt the most (though some days I REALLY want a piece of pizza with some feta), whereas Velvet pines for cheese and chocolate. And I should probably mention that living in a city like Toronto, which is so accepting of all kinds of lifestyles and has readily available organic/vegan/vegetarian supplies, makes it so much easier. On our recent road trip to Detroit, it suddenly became MUCH harder to stick to the plan. I think the idea of having vegetarian options on a menu is a foreign concept to downtown Detroit (don't even waste your time wishing for vegan options). At one diner, the only viable dinner options were the stuffed zucchini appetizers or single vegetable sides (I know, I know, I shouldn't complain; I'm sure a can of corn can be a really satisfying dinner sometimes).The next day we drove to 3 different restaurants before finding one which had even basic non-meat options. Hey, at least you've got Target going for you, Detroit.

Damn you, IHOP, and your delicious looking breakfasts. Do you know that IHOP has a new pancake breakfast called "New York Cheesecake Pancakes?" I don't even know what they are, but I wanted them. Still do.

With only 13 days left of the month, you might be wondering if I've felt any different without meat or dairy. I didn't weigh myself at the beginning of the month because I never weigh myself (willingly), but I do feel a bit slimmer and less weighed down. I get my protein by eating lots of beans, spinach salads, eggs (I didn't give up eggs and go completely vegan) and nuts, so I've been feeling strong and fairly energetic. I've also started reading the ingredients on EVERYTHING, which is a great /scary habit to pick up. If the ingredients sound too unpronounceable and chemically, then just think about that going into your body (before I start sounding too preachy, I will mention that I'm still a big fan of McCain Smiles and could eat a whole tray of them for dinner).

I'll do a final review at the beginning of the June while I'm eating my cheese-drenched meat-stuffed burger and vanilla milkshake, but until then, I'm sticking to no meat or dairy. I can check out this website if I need a meat fix.

Bacon cheddar cheese filled mug, anyone? Ugh.

...As for kip-up progress, I don't want to talk about it. My friend Jesse managed to do one after 3 attempts (in his work pants, no less)(I now hate him). I still haven't accomplished this goal but have taken to practicing at my day job on a yoga mat when my boss goes to lunch. I'm a real career-focused woman, as you can see.

Stay strong on your May challenges, everyone! Anyone know a good dairy free cheesecake pancake recipe to share?


  1. That Bacon Cheddar mug is disgusting(not).

    I should admit i had some Sour Cream n Onion chips on our Detroit trip...I am a cheater. But i was drinking, loss of inhibitions, you know? It ain't easy bein' dairy free, my friends.

    Thanks for the shout out, B

  2. ....sigh. I did miss the 'kip up post' so I Apologize profusely! My bowels have not been very active as of late...and you know that is where I most enjoy the extreme pleasures of reading your blog...Infact it has far surpassed Perez Hilton as my #1 bathroom choice! That should take a load off....no pun(?) intended lol. Do know that I read this one and the thought of the Sante Fe Good Stuff made me ill....now that bacon mug...That's what Im talkin bout. Final thought: Once the horror that is "meatless may" is over WE ARE GOING TO IHOP (and target in Buffalo)...FOR CHEESECAKE PANCAKES!!! (with several sides of bacon).


    -Leslie VonBotox

  3. I think I would rather die than give up dairy. I could give up meat...for 1 month not forever.

  4. Congrats on sticking with it!

    Go here for great vegetarian and vegan recipes, some include fish!

  5. You did it! You can eat some of the pizza and ice cream I left in your freezer now!