Our “month” of themed consumption began in early March. I was telling Neil about the documentary, “Forks Over Knives,” and how people who were eating plant-based diets dropped dramatic amounts of weight, cholesterol and the like. “Should we go vegetarian for a month?” he asked. It caught me off guard, but, heck, why not? I tend to be the less carnivorous of the two of us and didn’t think it’d be much of a challenge for me. I’d had a four-year stint as a vegetarian. I don’t really like meat, much less all the other issues surrounding it (processing, suffering and death, energy waste, all that stuff). So we agreed. We’d do it.
The first five out of seven days, Neil had cheese pizza and a heap of sushi (we were technically pescetarian). I had countless granola bars, veggie pot stickers, cheese pizza and pasta. I told him that I thought the month would shake out like this: I would forget we were eating vegetarian and consume meat. He would find some form of meat so irresistible that he ate it, knowingly. I’m convinced that his spite towards that statement, in part, kept him meat-free.
We also had fruits and veggies along the way–lots of them–along with new and different Indian and Chinese tofu dishes and fish meals. But day-to-day, we ate a lot of sugar and salt and opened a lot of packages. Neil bought a lot of meals out that he would normally take from home. Take-out containers crept in at dinner time. In fact, I knew after the first day that I was most likely going to gain weight at this rate. In the weeks building up to vegetarian week, I’d worked pretty hard to remove most bread and cheese from my meals, focusing on lean meats, fruits and vegetables. That all went out the window. In the window came hummus and pita, veggie sandwiches, bowls of cereal. On Saturday, we shared an order of escargot, along with its delicious garlic drippings and bread. It took an hour to register, then, “Was that vegetarian? What do you call someone who only eats fish and mollusks? Cephalapod-a-pescetarian?”
Still, it was an interesting experiment. We began talking about doing a series of themed months. We’d both thought about it separately, and when we talked about it together I suggested a month of no processed foods. Neil suggested a month of hamburgers. I suggested a month of no drinking. Neil suggested a month of pizza. I reminded him that every month is a month of pizza.
Today, Neil went to the pantry in search of a granola square. I told him I’d consumed any and all packaged foods in the house, including three types of granola bars, peanut butter granola squares, and now that those are gone I’m moving in on the gummy packets (which are fortified with vitamins, he likes to remind me). I was working on polishing off the chocolate chips. This does not happen on a non-vegetarian month.
So after about two weeks, we threw in the towel. We were done foraging what came closest to our T-rex-arms. Now, Neil’s plotting what meat he’ll have for lunch (it’s between a burger and Chick-fil-A) and I’m considering a trip to the store for something so adventurous as sliced turkey. Then we’ll figure out what the next theme will be. This time, we may just keep it to two weeks.