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    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

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    A Look Back.



The Vegetarian Question.

When I got home from work today, Casey was on a work phone call, which meant the dogs needed to be out of the house.  One of the challenges of him working at home, is presenting the image that he is not actually working from home – barking dogs are not professional!  So typically I will take the dogs out for a run so that he has some piece and quiet.

However, when I got home I was greeted by a laundry room filled with disgusting runny dog poo (I will spare you a photo), so I knew someone had an upset tummy.  I figured running with them was probably a bad idea, so we played in the backyard instead.  Indy found the most gigantic stick in the whole yard to try to play with…

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While Huey did the usual – stared at me like a maniac and begged for me to throw his stick…

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Around 5:30, Casey was finally off the phone, and we were ready to run.  Training had us scheduled for six miles today, and we decided to run together and catch up on on our days.  It was another beaaaautiful day in Charlotte, and even as the sun went down, I was totally comfortable running outside in shorts and a t-shirt – still feels so weird!  I had a really good run, keeping a good, fast pace, and I was proud to have done a longer distance on a busy weeknight.  I felt so good afterwards! 

And now, for another long overdue blog topic…

——————————————————————————————————

Why I Became a Vegetarian.

It all started with the grocery budget.  In March of 2009, Casey and I were saving to pay for our wedding, and we looked for areas where we thought we could save some extra pennies.  As food lovers and runners with big appetites, we knew we spent a lot of our disposable income on groceries.  We decided to cut out some of our more expensive items, and planned to eat meat and fish only one or two days a week. 

A few weeks went by and we both noticed that we didn’t really miss eating meat as much.  Not only did we not miss the meat, we really enjoyed the creativity and food diversity that the vegetarian dishes provided.  So after a month of semi-vegetarian eating, we decided to cut out meat once and for all, and see if it was a change we liked.  At the time, we were still eating fish, but not very often – mostly just in restaurants.

As the months went by, I discovered a true love for vegetarian cooking.  When you eat meat, it is so easy to get caught up in the standard plate components – meat, starch, and maybe a vegetable.  But in vegetarian cooking, you have to think outside of the box in order to get a good nutritional balance.  We started cooking more beans, lentils, tofu, quinoa – and our dinners became a lot more exciting! 

Our eating got better, and I also noticed how much better I felt.  Not only did I drop some pounds, I felt lighter, younger, and healthier.  My body just felt different – much more natural.  As I experienced the changes in myself, I started doing more research on the health consequences of a vegetarian diet.  What started with a budget became a nutritional priority.

As the months went on, I read more and more about vegetarian and sustainable food, and was sickened by most of what I learned about factory farming and the meat industry.  I’m not going to go into details on the blog, because I am not one to push my own beliefs on others, but if I wasn’t a vegetarian already going into culinary school, I can almost guarantee I would have become one after my Skills of Meatcutting class…

Just recently, Casey and I both cut fish out of our diets.  This was a hard transition for me, as I am a former self-proclaimed sushi addict.  Also, having fish as an option made it much easier to eat out in restaurants – it is very hard to find true, vegetarian fare.  But a little voice in my head kept telling me that I was being a hypocrite by continuing to eat fish, so I finally gave that the ax too. 

For me, a vegetarian diet is the healthiest way to live.  I don’t want to make any grand statement or proclamations, because I am still figuring all this out for myself.  Naturally I don’t eat much dairy or eggs anyways (I’m an Almond Breeze girl myself) but I have not cut those out completely – I am still not ready to let go of greek yogurt!

Just as I hate to be judged and questioned as a vegetarian, I feel that everyone has the freedom to make their own choices when it comes to food.  I would never push my food choices on others.  That said, if you’re toying with the idea, I encourage you to put both feet in the water and go for a swim.  You just might find that you don’t miss the safety of the shore…

(And to answer the many comments, YES – I am planning to write a post about why I decided to quit drinking.  Stay tuned..)

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15 Comments so far
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Emily Wylie     at 9:05 am

I want to go back vegan but am not sure where to start cause my family won’t be for it and that’s fine. But for me, it’s best. Just don’t know how I’m gonna afford the food. Frustrating

[Reply]

Lauren George     at 4:07 pm

Hi Emily!

I am currently standing on the side of the pool waiting to jump in with both feet. My trasition to a vegetarian lifestyle is pretty similar to yours. I was eating lunch and dinner at work 3-4 days a week and found myself packing hummus or veggies sandwiches or veggie stri-fry just because I liked them. After a few weeks, I realized I was hardly eating any meat and i didn’t really miss it. The only reason I have not jumped in with both feet, is my husband is not a huge fan of the idea! Actually he hates it! He thinks meat should be the main food group in everyone’s diet and he won’t have it any other way. So I consider it a work in progress! I hope I can use some of your yummy recipes to convince him vegetarian isn’t all bad!

Lauren

[Reply]

Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Hey Lauren! Sounds like you are right on track. As for your husband, I got lucky since Casey was on board with the idea from day one. Perhaps he would feel more motivated to give it a shot if you brought up some of the ethical benefits? There are so many important aspect of a vegetarian diet. Good luck! :)

[Reply]

Best Garnish of 2010. | Daily Garnish     at 8:40 pm

[...] Why I Became a Vegetarian [...]

Lauren @ Hungry Child in the City     at 11:18 am

I have recently cut dairy out of my diet and feel a million times better. I have been eating vegetarian for lunch, salads with quinoa, cucumbers, avocados, ect and and breakfast, and if I eat meat for dinner, it is almost always fish. Cutting red meat out was not a concious decision, but seems like one that fits. I feel less sluggish and in the morning I can pop out of bed easier. I don’t know if it’s cutting out the meat, but it might be! I have also recently discovered quinoa and wheatberries, which I am obsessed with! Just as filling (if not more so) than a meaty dish and it tastes better :) Thanks for sharing your story!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Glad you are feeling great!

[Reply]

Tony le     at 7:48 pm

Very weird… Thank you for posting why you became a vegetarian. I’m a 24 year old college student in Vancouver, and I’ve just recently (like a week ago) became a vegetarian. I’m finding that I’m discovering some of those same things you’ve mentioned. Cooking with meat has become kind of boring, meat is always the star, and little effort goes into the flavours of other ingredients, and being creative. I was thinking the same thing as you a few days ago, “outside of the box”! It’s more of a challenge to make something good to eat, and healthy, but definitely rewarding.

Also, giving up seafood really sucks too, cuz I love oyster motoyaki and takoyaki. Oh well! I too didn’t want to be a hypocrite. I still believe people can eat meat, but most importantly is to respect and really appreciate it. And that means knowing where the meat comes from, and how it was raised. The documentary “Food Inc.” was a big eye opener. Although it didn’t convince me to become vegetarian, I’ve always felt I was being hypocritical. Still on my journey of learning, and hoping to learn some delicious recipes from you. Thanks for blogging! Have a wonderful life.

[Reply]

Tony le     at 7:49 pm

Oh and I forgot, I’m really looking forward to saving money on the grocery bills too. A definite bonus as a student.

[Reply]

Kathleen     at 12:12 pm

Hi!

I love your site, I just found it a few days ago while I was looking for vegan/vegetarian recipes.

I think you would be interested in reading The China Study by T. Colin Campbell. It describes some very in depth research about the nutritional benefits of eating a plant based diet.

There are sooooo many reasons to eat like this. Nutritional, ecological, ethical, and it’s cheaper! I’m a undergrad student right now (minoring in Nutrition) and I’m hoping to go to grad school for Nutrition or Public Health. Oh, and my first half marathon was the Flying Pig!

Will definitely keep following,

Kathleen

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

I actually read The China Study this summer, which prompted me to cut dairy out of my diet. A great read!

[Reply]

Sherry (BTLover2)     at 5:07 pm

What a great website! I’m so looking forward to reading more of it and trying some of your recipes. I went vegetarian nearly a month ago and I love it. I feel fabulous! As a kid I wouldn’t dream of eating “green” veggies (pass the corn or potatoes, please), but now I can’t get enough broccoli, kale, beans, etc. A whole new world has opened up for me and I would recommend it (though not push it) to anyone. I’m now following you on Twitter too! Off to read more posts… so fun!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

So glad you found the blog! Welcome! :)

[Reply]

Diane @ Life of Di.     at 10:26 am

Our stories are somewhat similar. I started cutting back on my meat consumption around my wedding last October. It went from 4x/week to 1x/week and now I rarely ever eat it. I guess I can’t technically call myself a ‘vegetarian’ because it’s not that I’ll never eat meat again (and I do still consume eggs and fish on occasion) but I’d say my diet is vegetarian for the most part. Anyways, I started cutting meat out for $ reasons and, like you, didn’t seem to miss it. Funny how it all works out. Now it’s nice because Marty and I spend the $ we would’ve spent on meat on produce instead. Much more worth it!

[Reply]

Cynthia Fernandez     at 11:18 pm

Hello from Madrid (Spain),

I have been reading your posts and I must say you are very inspiring!

Conerning vegeterianism, I have always wanted to give it a try but I know myself and if I don’t do it properly from the beginning I might get “bored” or “unsatisfied” with the idea and leave it.

Vegetarianism doesn’t consist in taking out the meat and eat only the vegetables on the side. As you clearly explained you need to know a bit of nutrition in order to get all the proteins coming from the meat. I would love to read something for beginners in order to establish from the first moment complete menus. Could you help me and recommend some reading about that?

Thank you very much in advance and congratulations for the blog!!

[Reply]

Ella     at 7:36 am

This is a great article, and it motivates me to see that there is other people who are also became vegetarians and still go through it. I have been a vegetarian for the past ten months, and for about 3 of those I was vegan, but before that i was a vegetarian for about seven months but then stopped. . I honestly love being a vegetarian, I love the food and the feeling of harmony between my mind, body and soul. I have never liked fish, like ever so its easy to ignore that, unfortunately my family believes that every meal has to include meat :( This breaks my heart, but I am able to get past it and continue on my path.

[Reply]

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