After Three Months of Meatless Mondays, It's Officially Not So Terrible. Except the Tofu.

Categories: Veg

No Meat.jpg
March has come and gone, which means that somehow three months have already passed since we began this whole Meatless Monday endeavor -- I've eaten a lot of vegetarian meals over the past hundred or so days, some memorably delicious, others notably terrible, as well as some not worth mentioning. This past week I had a spicy Asian BBQ flatbread from Ft. Worth-based food truck Good Karma Kitchen that was pretty good, but I don't especially feel the need to wax poetic about it. Just another notch on the old tofu belt.

Instead, I'm exploring the ways that Meatless Monday has changed how I eat Tuesday through Sunday, and devising my plan of attack for the next three months and beyond.

Besides restricting my meat intake once a week, this whole thing has made me more discerning about the meat I consume during the other six days of the week. When it comes to steak or a burger, I'll eat half and take the rest home, stretching what used to be one meal into two, and filling it out with vegetables or grains. Even something as simple as making a sandwich is a little different now: instead of piling on an inch-thick layer of prosciutto, I'll put three handkerchief-thin slices on, and bulk it up with more tomato and arugula. I'm more likely to order a vegetarian main like risotto or falafel with hummus, instead of feeling like I've gotta have meat to make it a full meal.

Now before you all think I'm up on some Mark Bittman-inspired high horse, allow me to admit the following: I still consume bacon on the regular, despite the fact that it will probably kill me (it's a toss up as to which will give me cancer first, eating processed meats or talking on my cell phone while staring into the microwave). There's almost always a selection of charcuterie in my fridge, and I eat bone marrow whenever the opportunity presents itself. I still love the shit outta meat; I'm just trying to be more mindful of where it comes from and the effect my consumption has on my body and the world around me.

My goals for the next quarter are as follows:


  • Try cooking more meatless meals at home (e.g., something more elaborate than a grilled cheese sandwich) -- living with a guy whose diet closely resembles that of a T-Rex makes this more difficult than it sounds.

  • Related to the first one, but: I now live within walking distance of the farmers market (for as long as it's still in business, at least), so now that we're in prime growing season I intend to go see what's good and then cook with it, to further embrace the whole local-seasonal movement that some of my favorite restaurants seem to live and die by.

  • Challenge myself. I want to try my hand at a meat-free AND dairy-free Monday, since the production of dairy products puts just as much strain on natural resources as meat production, and I find myself relying heavily on eggs and cheese when meat isn't an option.

  • Pony up the cash to occasionally buy some higher quality meats, e.g. free-range local chicken. I've been going the cheap route, and I'd like to put my money where my mouth is and support some local businesses rather than factory farms.

  • Further familiarize myself with where my food comes by visiting a local farm that raises pastured meat. (I'm always shocked when people are disgusted by animals that still have a head or feet; hi, did you think your chicken nuggets grew on trees?)

  • Stop torturing myself with tofu, because despite trying it in many different incarnations, I Fucking Hate It.



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10 comments
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Preciousjewels1962
Preciousjewels1962

I didn't know of meatfree mondays til 5minutes ago. I like it. Not sure about tofu. I think the world needs to be more hands ON with the meat they consume. Thanks. I will follow.. don't get discouraged.

mark zero (Jason)
mark zero (Jason)

If you ever eat frozen entrees (like, if you're stuck at the office at lunch), it's so easy to replace one of your usual varieties with a meatless one, like lasagna florentine.

Also, love the local farmer/rancher stories that have run recently, so I hope you run with that idea, too.

Zac
Zac

tofu meh, chickpeas, hummus, mashed cruciferious veggies are where its at!

bc
bc

The Asian Mint has the best tofu in Dallas. It fits the bill of this crispy Thai style mentioned above.  And you can have a whole meatless meal there: start with the veggie spring rolls and get the stir fried Asian vegetables with tofu for your entree and have sweet sticky rice with mango for dessert. If you don't like their tofu, you can call it quits.

Although, I also agree with the Pei Wei route, my related suggestion would be the tofu lettuce wraps at P F Changs (same tofu, I believe).

primi timpano
primi timpano

Check out some minestra and ribolita recipes.  Serve with grilled rustic italian bread and you'll be eating like a cholesterol free italian farmer.  Freezes well, too.

Dallas Vegan
Dallas Vegan

Quite awesome that the Meatless Monday thing has caused you to look/think about your food differently. It takes courage for a heavy consumer of meat to do that (I've been there too!).

I'd say about 90% of the tofu you get in restaurants around here blows, so your disdain is well warranted. I wrote a little something about that last year, maybe it will give you some ideas of other places to try:http://dallasvegan.com/feature... 

Keep up the good work!

Sebastian
Sebastian

I admire you for giving it a shot and have been following your adventures. Too few people think about where their food comes from and what's involved in its production. Thanks for doing your part. 

RJ
RJ

Try Lemongrass Tofu at Caravelle in Richardson

Anna Merlan
Anna Merlan

Dude, I totally respect your dislike for tofu. But I still want to encourage you to try two more things before you tap out of the game entirely: Pei Wei's version of tofu, which is thin and crunchy, and the fried tofu at any awesome Thai restaurant, which is fried and awesome. 

Whitney Filloon
Whitney Filloon

Thin and crunchy sounds way better than spongey and creepy... I'm down.

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