As John and I continue our now over a year journey towards becoming complete (?) vegetarians, today I was tested for the first time. A few months ago, he and I discussed how we could become even closer to vegetarians than what I call "semi-veg". I think we have perfected not eating meat at home-I cook with it less often than once a month at this point, but eating out was a problem. Every time John and/or I ate out, we'd be eating meat. That is mainly because most of the restaurants we'd choose really didn't have any other options for the vegetarian. John came up with a plan that each month we would eliminate a meat until at the end of 4 months we would be meat free. We'd then take that fifth month to eat completely 100%, in and out, vegetarian. After that month, we could decide if we wanted to incorporate meat back in or not. Last month we eliminated turkey-so I haven't had turkey in almost 2 months. This month we eliminated beef. Next month is pork and the following is chicken. In October, we'll be completely meat free. We both liked this idea better than limiting our meat to say, 4x a month or something. We figured it would be easier to cheat with the later and with the former, we'd still have lots of choices for eating out.
Today was my first ever test of my commitment to becoming a vegetarian. Today Anne and I attended a birthday party where they served little sandwiches, chips and fruit. It was a great spread-I really liked all the choices and the food was high quality, yummy. The one hitch was the only choice for the sandwiches were turkey. Since that has been eliminated as a meat choice I was in a bind. Do I make an exception this time around or do I go meat free? I decided to go meat free! It turned out okay too. I just picked the meat off my sandwich and had a cheese and lettuce sandwich. Anne ate my turkey (we aren't limiting her meat consumption except that we don't cook with it at home so she doesn't have it at home) so it turned out just fine. I was really proud of myself because at this first test I was truly tempted to just go ahead and eat but I was able to refrain.
This experience made me think about the holidays coming up in a few months-specifically to Thanksgiving. Now that we are so close to being completely meat-free I am excited to see what sort of dishes I can cook and contribute to our dinner that will bring more meaning to the meal. Instead of just eating to eat or because of tradition, what can I cook that will add stories and feelings of gratitude for what we have in this country? What will make us eat more mindfully and remember those less fortunate during that holiday? What can I cook to make us feel more connected to the earth and to our Maker? I'm really looking forward to that challenge-of simple, earthy, truly soul filling foods in November.