Give Us This Day Our Daily Meat

I officially ended my Lenten meaten fast this morning with a Jimmy Dean sausage patty on an English muffin, and scarfed some Pascal ham and several other meaty hors d’oeuvres today. I tried not to go too nuts, since I’ve heard that re-integrating meat into your diet can be tricky. I don’t know that 40 days would really make that much of a difference…plus I slipped up a few times.

Forbidden Meat #1 — I entered the break room during  an all-day work event and was so excited to see the free food that any non-meat promises flew straight out of my head. You’d think I’d never seen a steam tray of hot dogs before.

Forbidden Meat #2 — Ain’t no way I was telling my boyfriend’s parents, who don’t speak the best English and who had prepared me a wonderful chicken dinner, that I wasn’t going to eat it. Also, my mom’s rule when we were growing up was that it was more of a sin to waste food that it was to break fast, so I figured this fell under that category as well. The chicken was cooked, and turning it down wasn’t going to accomplish anything. That said, it must be difficult  for real vegetarians to find ways to turn down animal-based food graciously. Kudos to those who do it well.

Forbidden Meat #3 — I initially didn’t see any vegetarian appetizers while at a cocktail party so I ate some Swedish meatballs and chicken fingers. After I found the veggie eggrolls, I stopped. Mostly.

Forbidden Meat #4 — In a round-robin tournament between Jesus and a hotel breakfast buffet, Jesus went 0-2. The Son of God lost to longtime favorite free bacon, and, in a surprising upset, chicken apple sausage. It was the morning after the cocktail party so the whole weekend was something of a meat bender.

Forbidden Meat #5 (?) — My dad made me pasta with what I think was meat sauce on it.

All in all, I was not a very good vegetarian. Or at least not a very healthy vegetarian. I tried to eat lots of yogurt and beans to get protein, but you know what’s vegetarian? Onion rings. And french fries. And diet soda. I would eat a nice salad with some nuts in it for lunch and then flag mid-afternoon and prop myself up with caffeine and salty snacks. I most certainly did not lose any weight. Dropping lbs. was not a priority, but I wondered if it might happen, just because I read so much about how Americans eat too much meat.

As it turns out, I didn’t miss meat as main course as much as I missed meat as accent. As I alluded to the ode to a veggie quesedilla in my E is for El Salto entry, meat can provide a depth of flavor that vegetarian dishes often lack. I’m sure there are ways to manipulate vegetables and soy and dairy to be as complexly delicious as meat, but I didn’t find it in the last 40 days. (If you have suggestions for good veggie dishes I should try, please post in comments.)

Personally I’m better off having a deli sandwich for lunch and not compensating with meatless but unhealthy midafternoon snacks. Halfway through Lent, I was fantasizing about driving to Andy Nelson’s while mainlining bacon fat, but today I’m surprisingly meh on meat.

I am planning on checking out a G spot (…that’s what she said) with a friend who gave up alcohol for Lent. We shall feast mightly upon meat and wine. But perhaps not as mightly as I once planned.

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