Over Easy, Over Hard, Poached, Lightly Scrambled, Hard Boiled – I liked my eggs any which way. Breakfast was always a boiled egg and toast when I was a child. And adult life wasn’t much different. Eggs were the ticket to a quick home cooked meal even for lunch or dinner.
But one day something changed and the whole concept of being a carnivore no longer seemed sunny. My taste buds declared war on anything that wasn’t plant based and I became vegetarian almost overnight.
It was the start of a new life!
Like every new thing in life, whether it is moving to a new city or moving to a new house, being vegetarian had its share of challenges – Has its share of challenges. I believe this is more of a journey where I am learning something new all the time.
As you all know, this is a vegetarian food blog. I chose a vegetarian lifestyle shortly before I started this blog in 2008. And I have never looked back.
Here are some challenges I faced while giving up meat. And I am sure they are pretty common for anyone who switches over.
What to Order at Restaurants
When I worked a typical office job, I ate out a lot. Earlier, I had a set order for most restaurants. After becoming vegetarian, I had to reevaluate the menus of many of my favorite restaurants. Most places have only 1 or 2 main veggie entrees. And some places offer substitutions. I found that out one by one. Here are some favorite vegetarian dishes to order at popular fast food places or restaurants.
Chipotle – Veggie Burrito Bol – Loaded with beans, cheese, sour cream, different salsas and a big dollop of fresh guacamole, this is one tasty option
Qdoba – Roasted Veggie Burrito, Mexican Gumbo, Cheese Quesadilla with added fajita veggies
Taco Bell – Almost any burrito or taco minus the meat and beans instead of meat
Olive Garden – Apart from veggie dishes, other pasta dishes can be ordered without meat and added veggies
Chili’s – Most burgers can be replaced with a vegetarian patty, Fajitas are also a good choice
Asian restaurants – Curry or noodle dishes with Tofu without fish sauce at Thai restaurants, Stir Frys with Tofu at Chinese restaurants
TGI Friday’s – an array of side dishes like different vegetables, corn on the cob, macaroni and cheese etc.
And so on.
What to Eat at Home
My cooking patterns also had to change a lot. Earlier, my meals were simple. I just grilled or poached a piece of chicken or some fish and ate it with steamed veggies. Or I bought a whole rotisserie chicken and made several things out of it like sandwiches, wraps, stir frys, fried rice etc.
Thankfully, Indian food has a ton of healthy vegetarian options. And I had many family recipes to fall back on that used whole grains, vegetables, lentils and beans.
You just have to browse through this blog and you will see plenty of different recipes or techniques for grilled paneer or tofu, and healthy salads using beans or lentils.
Challenges to #StartANewLife
My family wonders how I can pass on foods that used to be my favorite growing up. I no longer even bat an eyelid at that butter chicken or biryani. I did crave them initially, but my whole mindset changed gradually. Reading about veganism, and the health benefits of a plant based diet helped.
I continue to reinvent myself on this journey. I don’t have to fight cravings any more, but it is still challenging to get complete nutrition from a vegetarian diet. I guess that is a topic for another blog post.
Have you ever made any changes to your diet or lifestyle? Did you ever #StartANewLife? I would love to hear your story too. So please leave a comment below and share.