Friday, June 5, 2015

Goodbye Meat! I'm a Vegetarian with Vegan Tendencies

Last year I took a class at my church called Prayer Lab. A phenomenal class that changed my life. So much so that I don't eat meat any more. Okay, so what? What's the big deal? In this day and age everybody and their brother is a vegan, raw vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, no sugar eating, gluten free, clean eating, non-GMO, Herbal Life nut. What makes me different you ask?

Jesus told me to do it. 

I know, I know I used the J word. At least I didn't blame the devil. But seriously He did. Jesus not the devil. In order to understand why, you would have to understand a little something about me...

Or at least I did love meat at one point in time. Everything from red meat to white meat. I ate it all. Especially bacon! I loved bacon. Bacon  was my everything. I even wrapped whole chickens in bacon, put bacon in and on my desserts and ate bacon by itself as a meal. I also loved ribs. Beef or Pork I was no respecter of animal. I loved meat. I even tried Bison once. Not too bad, very hearty. It's what I'd imagine eating if I were on the Oregon Trail way back in the day.

My only problem was that meat was an idol in my life. A very unsuspecting one too. Maybe when you think of an idol, you think about the show American Idol, or a statue, a boyfriend or a girlfriend, sex, drugs and rock n' roll possibly but very seldom do you think of food. However during Prayer Lab orientation I was told I would need to chose a fasting regiment to follow for the duration of the class. My only options were 1) Poultry and Fish, Fruits and Vegetables, Whole Grains, No Processed Foods, No Sugars and No Fried Foods or  2) Everything previously mentioned minus the Poultry and Fish. When I thought about giving up meat just for the class (6 weeks) I broke down. In my heart I knew that the 2nd choice would give me the challenge I was looking for but I was afraid. Afraid of going deeper. I felt a prompting deep within myself to to pursue a meatless lifestyle but I still had to work through my emotions. I remember I was on my way home in the car and I  started bawling like a big ole baby saying, "I can't give up meat!! I'll die. Why God, why?" I literally cried this aloud. And after I stopped hyperventilating and wiped my tears just in time to take my exit off the freeway mind you, I realized I wasn't going to die. In fact I was going to live and probably longer as a result of this choice or at the very least be healthier.

It's been over 1 year and I'm still with it surprisingly. I just knew I would have a bacon relapse by now but thank the Lord for veggie bacon. It has truly kept me. So now for my new label, I'm a Vegetarian with Vegan Tendencies. I'm vegetarian because I don't eat meat but I also have vegan tendencies since I don't consume dairy** and most vegetarians do. As well as I eat eggs which vegans do not. Vegans do not eat or use animal products. I on the other hand love leather. Anyway it was easier to label myself before this change because I was just a regular person who ate regular food or so I thought. But now I have standards and limits and what not? Sheesh! Honestly I'm not picky and I'm not doing this to make a political statement nor a religious one. I honestly am just being obedient. The one thing I know for sure is that it's not my season to eat meat. Maybe one day I'll go back but for now I'm happy. Outside of not eating meat everything else is fair game with a couple exclusions.
Mrs. Kaye's Dietary Guidelines
No meat
Absolutely no meat. Yes that includes Fish. I have to say that because people ask me that all the time. They're like oh you don't eat meat but you eat like fish, right? Nope! Not I said this little pig. (Uh no pun intended or irony) And I still cook meat. My hubby is not a vegetarian so I must feed him meat but he is gluten free.

No Dairy**
No milk, butter, cheese, sour cream or ice cream. Pretty much nothing made with milk. This was a personal choice that my hubby and I both made in the last couple years. We both felt like dairy wasn't agreeing with us. I'll spare ya the details. So we use almond milks, rice milks, plant based butters and nut based cheeses. They are actually quite yummy. If you're interested I'll let you know what I have tried and liked or didn't like.

**One exception is bread and ranch. If these are made with dairy then we will still consume them. The amounts are small enough that they do not cause us any issues but for this reason I say I have vegan tendencies since I am still consuming animal byproduct. As my hubby has moved to a gluten-free diet most of the breads he eats are dairy free. 

Natural Sweeteners Mostly
Out of all the areas this is where I fail. I try to limit the amount high fructose corn syrup, processed sugars and artificial sweeteners I eat but it's hard. I love sweets just about as much as I loved meat. Ice Cream was the hardest thing for me to let go off but once my body starting rejecting dairy it made it easier to let go of. Now I eat coconut-or-almond-milk-based frozen desserts but it's not the same. As for sweets I think fruits are my easiest replacements for candy or pastries packed with sugar.

Whole Grains 
I try to eat whole grains like barley, farro, oats, quinoa and rice. I 'll use them to make loaves, tacos, patties or just eat them with veggies. More recently I realized my body doesn't like quinoa so I had removed it from my diet completely same with lentils. I feel like those two foods really irritate my tummy. Rice is yummy. I should probably eat more brown rice but I prefer white.

Beans, Seeds and Nuts
I eat beans in moderation as it is a magical fruit. I love kidney beans, black beans and pinto beans. I will season any of these beans with paprika, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder and add to a taco shell with zucchini and mushrooms. Top with salsa and you have the perfect taco. I love sunflower seeds not with the shell. Too salty for me. I add them to my salads and they are the perfect substitute to croutons if I am watching my carb intake. I used to love almonds until those too betrayed me. They are so difficult for me to digest that I have just eliminated them from my diet completely. I do love cashews and peanuts as a snack. They are a great source of protein too.

And that's it I try to eat lots of fruits and veggies and drink tons of water. Never been much of a soda drinker. I also limit the amount of processed foods but it's hard because some of the convenient veggie meals are loaded with preservatives and completely made of soy. I hope you enjoyed my post on my transition to a vegetarian lifestyle with a vegan twist. Leave me a comment below if you just love meat and think I'm bananas or if you can relate and are vegetarian or vegan or eat some vegetarian or vegan meals. I'm curious to hear what you guys are eating and as always thanks for reading.


with Vegan Tendencies

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