Thursday, April 15, 2010

Halfway Update Through Animal-Free April

Lunch Special @ Bean Sprout
Vegetarian lunch with "Dan Dan style" brown rice w mushroom & wheat meat, steamed veggies, rice sheet noodle rolls and kelp soup at Bean Sprouts in Arcadia

Halfway through my animal-free April and since I haven't posted much as of late (more due to me being crazy-busy this month than anything else) though I could at least muster one mid-month progress report on my temporary stab at vegetarianism. For the most part, so far so good -- asides from the occasional pang for sushi, I haven't really missed meat. Now if I was go all out vegan, that might be another story.

Though, in all honesty, I may have unintentionally fallen off the vegetarian wagon already ~ a japchae I ordered at a Korean restaurant was served with beef stir-fried right in (which I tried to pick out to the best of my ability but in hindsight, I'm sure the noodles and veggies probably soaked up some of the meat juices.) And with cheeses I am not particularly vigilant about whether they are made with animal vs. plant vs. artificially-derived rennet. But anything that's overtly meaty I've been able to avoid without a hitch.

And a few other observations I've had so far in my animal-free stint:

- While I'm appreciative of most restaurants efforts to put in at least a few vegetarian dishes in their menu, sometimes I'm puzzled as to whether the kitchen knows what the word means. Indeed, there's a bit of a slippery slope as to what's acceptable in a vegetarian diet (like my case with cheeses) but a barley soup that's "flavored with pancetta" is definitely not vegetarian by any stretch of the definition.

- On the other end of the stick, I've encountered quite a number of folks professing their vegetarianism only to discover they're OK with eating fish and/or fowl. And these are not folks saying they're mostly/semi-vegetarian or flexitarian/pescatarian either. Maybe that's why some kitchens think it's alright to throw in something meaty into a dish and still claim it's vegetarian.

- This sounds evil, but I like how being vegetarian (even if only temporarily) is a more socially acceptable excuse to decline invites to outings, events and such. At the same time, it also made me realize how meat-centric our dining culture has been and how I've probably been eating WAY beyond than most guideline recommendations.

- Just as I expected, I've taken vegetable & fruit appreciation to a whole new level; and what a great time to enjoy all the spring and early summer produce ~ I may go no to beef, but a definite yes to beets!

- Likewise, I've become more aware of the nuances of my cravings beyond just "I want [bacon/steak/sushi/etc.]" Is it the smoky-charry-umami flavor profile? the chewy texture? or even just the way it's seasoned and cooked? Or the inherent fat & protein-based structure? In all those cases, there's a meatless, and probably healthier, swap. Of course, while nothing ever truly subsitute animal flesh's unique combination of all the above, for occasions when I'm really jones-ing for one or two of its characteristics, I know I can make do and be just as satisfied with a plant-based option.

But in any case, 15 days down, 15 more to go-- though at this leisurely rate, I might not even mind extending my Animal-free April into a Meatless May . . .


Diana said...

Glad it's going well so far! Maybe someday I'll join the vegetarian party for a meatless month. What are your thoughts on veggie soups made with chicken broth?

Bronx injury attorney said...

You're almost there. Hope it all works out for you.

vincent said...


We bumped into your blog and we really liked it - great recipes YUM YUM.
We would like to add it to the

We would be delighted if you could add your blog to Petitchef so that our users can, as us,
enjoy your recipes.

Petitchef is a french based Cooking recipes Portal. Several hundred Blogs are already members
and benefit from their exposure on

To add your site to the Petitchef family you can use or just go to and click on "Add your site"

Best regards,


Food, she thought. said...

I have been eating a lot less meat this year in general, but not sure I could do an entire month meat free. Are you ova free as well? I would miss my poached eggs.

Kung Food Panda said...

Congrats, you've survived the meatless April. Let's go eat some beef this week! :)

Radu Prisacaru said...

I feel I should say, I absolutely love your website. Could tell me how I can subscribe with it. I invite you to see my post, I hope you will find interesting too.

Exile Kiss said...

Hi H.C.,

Have you tried Rahel before? I'm curious what you think of their wonderful Ethiopian Vegan cooking. :)

Car Accident Claims said...

wow, look at that, the color is perfect, I bet the taste is as good as the color


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...