Over the course of this year's experiment I got a lot of questions about it from people, mostly the real vegetarians in my life, so while I don't really have any new photos for this post, I do have a Vegetarian Q&A.
Q: Did you miss meat?
A: Yes and no. No, in that I never at any point was craving meat, as in "man, I need a burger," but I did miss it when substitutions were less tasty to me. Like my attempt at making falafel was less successful than my ability to make chicken gyros, or when my substitution of veggie stock in risotto made for a very odd tasting meal. But in other cases, the vegetarian option was just as good or better (like restaurant-made falafel). I also missed meat when some restaurants had a limited/poor selection of vegetarian options (Ri-Ras, I'm looking at you!)
Q: Did you feel better/healthier?
A: I didn't feel better, or less sluggish or anything physically, but mentally I did feel that I was introducing better food choices into my world.
Q: What was the hardest part?
A: Cooking without a doubt. I'm not a great and/or particularly enthusiastic cook to begin with, so there's that. But mostly when I started this whole thing I didn't have a much of a vegetarian cooking repertoire. So there was a big shift in having to change the way I grocery shop, and find recipes, and trying out 2-3 new recipes a week, with mixed results. Though I wouldn't say my repertoire is huge now (I had more failures than successes methinks), but I do have more options, as well as an ever expanding Pinterest board of recipes to try and an expanding feed-reader full of vegetarian cooking blogs, so I expect that to continue to grow. I did find that when all else fails, make a pizza.
Q: What was the best part?
A: Discovering new foods. I'm particularly a fan of quinoa now, which I'd never had before, and I forgot how much I like spinach. I like veggie-burgers. And I'm surprised at the number of recipes that called for parsley, which I had always thought of more as a garnish, but no more! It also made me look beyond the same old some old at the grocery store and on menus. I could still expand my range of vegetables though.
Q: Would you consider staying a vegetarian/doing it again?
A: I don't think that I will permanently be a vegetarian, I like keeping my options open, and for me, it's about health more than any moral imperative. But I would like to continue to incorporate more vegetarian eating into my diet going forward.
Q: Any favorite recipes?
A: Yep! Here's a few I'm definitely be making again (or already have):
There's also a few improvisations, like the aforementioned pizzas and some veggie masala that was quite tasty.
There you have it!