As a vegetarian, I get asked 2 main questions:
The first one: where do you get your protein? My mother is constantly worried that I am not getting enough protein. But, between the beans, nuts, nut butters, Greek yogurt, cheese, and eggs, I am pretty sure I get more than enough to keep my body healthy and strong. I focus on making sure I have at least one of those options on my plate/in my bowl at each meal. Plus, plant-based foods also contain protein, just in lesser amounts than meat-based products.
And the second question is more about my better half than myself: Does the Hubs eat meat? Anytime we go to a family function with my side of the family, they are always so happy that Matt actually gets to eat meat. This is the #1 thing I despise hearing as a vegetarian. Not because I care that Matt eats meat – it is his decision. I chose to be a vegetarian, so I don’t feel that I have the right to force him to choose the same lifestyle I have chosen. (This is also my belief when we have kids, just FYI.) But, because Matt can freely eat meat when he wants, he just chooses not to because it’s easier for us to eat a meat free dinner than to cook 2 different ones.
Yes, it is difficult to be a vegetarian in a meat-eating household. When I still lived with my parents, I desperately wanted to stop eating meat, but when you’re not the one making dinner, it makes it a bit harder. However, I truly feel ANYONE can be a vegetarian in a meat-eating household – even if it is just one person who eats meat and one who doesn’t.
Here is an example of our weekly menu for this week. (Yes, I am anal and have to plan out everything… )
Monday: veggie frittata (Matt)
Tuesday: tortellini soup (me)
Wednesday: on your own (busy night for both of us)
Thursday: enchilada casserole (me)
Friday: homemade pizza (Matt)
Saturday + Sunday: ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ – I usually do my grocery shopping one of these 2 days, so if I come up with something before then, great! But, it’s usually thrown together with whatever we can find in the fridge/freezer/pantry. Probably something involving quinoa or rice, just because we always have those two staples.
This is just for the two of us. I know, it looks all vegetarian, and it pretty much is. Matt is definitely a trooper. I know he would love steak or his beloved gourmet hot dogs at every meal, but that’s just not going to happen. So, yes, Matt does eat mostly vegetarian… but, he does find ways to sneak in meat.
Obviously, Wednesday would be the easiest way for him to eat meat since we aren’t eating together. (He opted for leftovers though.) But, with the pizza, for example, we split it half and half – I put veggies on my side, he puts sausage on his. This is probably the easiest way to make “2 different meals”.
If Matt is really craving meat, he’ll sometimes pick up some Match meat at the store. Match is a local St. Louis business that makes vegan faux-meat products, such as chicken, ground beef, and even pork. They have some of the best faux-meat products I’ve ever had. If you live with a meat eater, I doubt they would be able to tell the difference.
However, being the only vegetarian in my extended family makes it harder on me at get togethers. Between pork steaks, burgers, and Italian beef, I don’t usually find a lot to eat. But, I always can find something, whether it’s just a plate of veggies. My family is getting better though – I had meatless sauce this weekend for my spaghetti while they all ate meat. Makes things pretty easy.
We don’t do a lot of eating out, but when we do, he definitely goes for a meat dish. I don’t think he’s ever eaten vegetarian in a restaurant by choice! But, again, making it easier for us to both follow our diets.
So, hopefully that gives you some ideas of how an omnivore and vegetarian can live happily under one roof and still eat the same meals. Guaranteed, Matt makes it pretty easy on me, but I know that hasn’t always been the case.
I’m hoping to start a Meatless Monday series, where I share a new meatless recipe with you each Monday. I try to make one new recipe a week, so this will just let me share some good ones with you.
On another note – I’m thinking Frozen Custard Fridays will be starting tomorrow. As long as I can get Matt on board with that!