Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Setting

I've been waffling about trying to be vegetarian again for myriad reasons. I'll explore the a few here.

First (heralded as the most shallow but formidably important), there's the weight issue. I just generally eat too much altogether. Whether it's largely vegetarian fare or a huge plate of chicken wings, I am prone to shoveling food in without much thought to volume. Until, that is, about thirty pounds later. Mmm hmmm, I said thirty pounds. What also tends to happen when I overeat is that I am also less driven to work out, since it's all uncomfortable and such, waddling to the gym just to feel my thighs clap together around the track. I should probably feel I've won a standing ovation with those hearty smacking sounds, but I unfortunately know the real deal.

I think that implementing a vegetarian diet would not only help by lessening some of the fats I'd be ingesting, but also by forcing me to think about what I'm eating (i.e. keeping track). If that isn't daunting enough to think about, I'm proposing to actually write it down live, sort of Bridget-Jones-like but without all the booze & cigs data.

Most of what I eat is largely vegetarian already. (Yes, chicken wings exempted.) But here is a list of my very favorite meat-y things:

Bacon (includes anything with bacon as a major or minor ingredient)
Pepperoni (only on pizza)
BBQ chicken
BW-3 teriyaki chicken wings
P.F. Chang’s Mongolian beef
P.F. Chang’s orange flavored beef
Any P.F. Chang’s or Little Ollie’s fried chicken entrĂ©e
Pasta Carbonara
Holiday turkey
The kinds of fish that come with chips or on tacos
The Spicy Pickle’s turkey gobbler sandwich (omg, I’m hungry for that now)
Homemade chili
Pot roast
Salsa turkey burgers with guacamole
Orange-pecan chicken fingers

Okay, luckily (but bad for the list), I’ve just eaten and so I’m not hungry for most of the things I’ve written here — although it was easier to remember pepperoni pizza since I just ate it an hour ago. These are the things I’ll miss the most. I’m sure I will remember more later. I have to say it would be harder for me to go vegan.

Here’s the fantastic list of what I’ve eaten today:
8:45 a.m. leftover vegetarian meatloaf (cold) with a tall Starbucks pumpkin chai
2:00 p.m. double shot espresso w/ 2tsp sugar and 1T heavy cream, reheated baked potato with margarine & 1 T sour cream & chive salt, 1 c. raw broccoli
7:00 p.m. 1 piece pepperoni pizza from pizza hut, 2 pieces black olive pizza, 3 bread sticks with marinara dipping sauce
8:45 p.m. cup coffee w/ 2% milk & 3 pumps vanilla sweetener

I have to say that my eating and meal-planning skills have digressed since I began working at Starbucks. (Yes, I work at Starbucks part-time.) I’ve spent the last year and a half working from home, and needed a fun job on the outside. It’s worked well, both getting me out of the house a few times a week and also producing a reliable — if small — paycheck. But the fact is that working there interrupted my easy schedule. I used to have a “mealtime” sort of deal at home, where it was easy and dependable to make a snack around a certain time. This time of day was also typically when the dog would begin to get restless, knowing it was lunchtime for me and so time for her to go out. Since I work irregular hours now, I have stopped setting aside or even thinking up quick meals to make. In fact, I’ve worked so long at home that I’ve forgotten how to plan ahead. Starbucks is about 3 minutes from my house. I got the job there because of the ease factor and yet I cannot seem to leave the house with more than 5 minutes to spare before I’m on the clock. No matter when I start getting ready. I can leave all of my clothes out and still not make it earlier. I don’t know what’s wrong with me except a huge mental block. My point being that I’m usually on the clock with several hours to go when I realize I’m starving and end up eating Colorado crumb cake with a venti toffee nut latte for my lunch. 800 calories and an hour later. . . . still hungry!

This needs to stop. I’m hoping that this is where the additional planning will come into play. Because let me just tell you right now, I am not a diet type. I can’t start something for temporary. I can’t deprive myself of, say, cheese for a week just to see if I drop some weight. I need to make changes and do things that are long-term solutions. I will not be counting calories every day for the rest of my life. I LOVE to cook, and I LOVE to eat. These are probably two of my most favorite things, so I can’t give them up just to see.

I do like to cook, so it shouldn’t be entirely difficult to adapt myself to a vegetarian lifestyle. Except did I mention the pesky meat-loving husband? Well, minor point. I want to see how easy it is — how practical it is physically and financially — to live as a vegetarian now.

Since I’m planning the usual New Year start-date for this vegetarian fiasco, I’m going to use what’s left of this year to research the things I need to do to keep 2007 interesting. Right now I’m thinking of actually trying to be vegan for a month as well. Oh, or maybe I should go right from being veg for a year into the Atkins diet. Right? Might sound good by then.

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