Thursday, September 15, 2011

My Flexatarianism

            Being a flexatarian flat out rocks. In restricting meat consumption to less than 10% of all meals consumed, our grocery budget thrives, I am in the best shape of my life and I physically feel absolutely amazing. For the better part of this year my wife and I implemented what we call a flexatarian diet. Essentially the majority of our meals are vegetarian, and although we set a goal to only have 10% of our meals consist of meat dishes, have found that we only consume meat when out of town visiting either side of our family, that’s it. Financials aside (absurd I know, but it’ll be quick) I wish I had done this when I was a kid. On the opposite end of this, I reflect back and understand why I felt tired and out of shape for so long, it was from consuming high fat and meat heavy dishes. Now, on the rare occasions when I eat meat, I stick with leaner options such as venison and chicken. Even better, is that since flipping to this diet, I have consistently had the energy to make it to the gym two to three times a week, and on my weight training, I am stronger and physically leaner than I have ever been in my life, even when I worked out like a mad man in high school. As is a common misconception with vegetarians, I would like to go into what our household diet looks like, because believe me, I couldn’t hit the gym the way that I do solely eating lettuce.
            My wife and I have devised weekly meal plans for lunch and dinner. Yes we brown bag to work and eat leftovers, did you expect any less? Below are options that we rotate, and in the mix we also eat daily amounts of fruits and veggies such as oranges, apples, bananas, cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower and pears:

·         Vegetarian chili
o   Consists of black/chili beans, broccoli, carrots, corn, salsa, garlic, onions and pepper gently cooked in our croc pot (my other best friend)
·         Indian Curry
·         Egg Drop Soup
·         Black beans and Rice
·         Poor Man’s Dish
·         Split Pea Soup
·         Pozole

·         Poor Man’s Dish
·         Homemade Pizza
o   Artichokes, black olives, onions
·         Taco Salad (meatless mind you)
·         Baked Potatoes
·         Summer Salad
·         Various Pastas
·         Egg Drop Soup
·         Veggie Burgers J
·         Egg Salad

Breakfast is more of a personal day to day choice as my wife and I leave at different times for work. But basically we utilize: scrambled eggs, eggs over-easy, oatmeal, breakfast bars and protein shakes. For me, I get my protein shakes from my local Vitamin Shoppe, 53G of protein for every serving and I take three a day. In addition to these we each take a multi-vitamin to cover all basis for nutrients that we could end up short on for daily intakes.
It’s interesting that on days following consuming meat, I feel lethargic, tired and my stomach feels like an amoebic blob, so I do not do it very often. This is quite the change from the person I used to be. I used to pride myself in consuming mass amounts of processed meat from the local fast food joint and thought nothing of it. So physically and fiscally, going flexatarian has been an amazing lifestyle change. I will never go back to eating meat regularly ever again, and love having even more left over in the monthly grocery budget because of it.
Looking back I am also appalled at the assumptions that eating healthy was unattainable because of costs. THIS IS PURE MALARCHY! When I cut meat from my diet and went heavy on fresh fruits, veggies, and veggie dishes, we did NOT raise our grocery budget. Cut out fast food joints and processed garbage and guess what, like doing a monthly budget, money will magically appear out of thin air. Pound for pound, fruit costs less than meat, literally. And honestly, it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.

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