Strange things have happened to my eating habits lately. Meat has nearly disappeared from my diet. I might have it twice a week. I didn't do it on purpose. I wasn't trying to lose weight or save the planet; I just got sick of chicken - and turkey, and tuna, and beef and pork. :-D Leave it to me to be all extremey and weird.
Let's recap some of my previous dietary adventures:
- Anorexic (self-explanatory)
- Crazy rebound binger (sporting jowls)
- Carb-sucking vegetarian (seven years of pasta and french fries)
- Zone vegetarian (soy, soy, soy)
- Bodybuilding / Body for Lifer (chicken six times a day)
- Precision Nutrition (ongoing because it's THAT flexible)
Yes, if you ask me what plan I follow, I would still say Precision Nutrition. It's just PN with less poultry. I know how to do the vegetarian thing wrong (boy, do I know!). This time I'm doing it right with whole foods and controlled portions, oh yeah, and the occasional steak!
Technically, if you're eating dead animals, you're not a vegetarian; you're something else. Calling yourself a "vegetarian who eats chicken" is likely to get you punched in the neck by a real vegetarian.
A few years ago, people started tossing around the term, flexitarian: a vegetarian who occasionally eats meat. Finally, a word to describe those who eat a mostly plant-based diet but really like bacon. If you're intrigued by this idea and want to read more, here's a good article called Meet the flexitarians: Meat-eating vegetarians. And as soon as I typed that, I dipped my chin to protect my neck. LOL I know it's a loaded subject! But I think even hardcore vegans like the idea of people consuming fewer animal products, no matter how you describe it.
So, what am I eating? Mostly normal stuff. Let me see if I can give you a few examples.
Oatmeal, ground flaxseeds, blueberries, vegetarian breakfast patties
Whole grain toast, peanut butter, grated carrots, raisins, soy milk
High-fiber cereal, banana, soy milk, protein powder
Cottage cheese, berries, crushed macadamia nuts
Scrambled eggs, fruit
French toast, berries
Greek yogurt, berries, granola
Lunches and Dinners
Bean and cheese burrito on whole grain tortilla, baby carrots, 2 plums
Salad with hard boiled omega eggs, 2 peaches
Amy's Organic Chili, salad, pear
Vegetable omelet, cantaloupe wedges
Peanut butter and jelly sandwich, apple, protein shake
Black bean burger, sharp cheddar, salsa, cottage cheese, kiwifruits
Thin crust cheese and tomato pizza, salad
String cheese, nectarine
Hummus, raw vegetables
Peanut butter, apple
Swiss cheese, grapes
Chocolate soy milk
Yogurt, banana, protein powder
I still don't count calories but I would guess around 2,000ish, varying wildly. I try to eat some protein at every meal, but my protein is obviously lower than it would be if I ate meat. If I start looking like my "sausage arms" before photo, I might have to rethink this, but so far so good.
I don't have any rules about meat consumption. I tend to eat vegetarian during the week and enjoy a couple of carnivore meals on my weekend, but if I receive an invitation to a steakhouse mid-week, I'm there. I love the "flex" part of flexitarian. Although, I do think the term is so broad that it could be a wee bit useless.
If you'd like to eat more plant-based meals but are having trouble with the logistics, there are some good discussions on the Precision Nutrition Forums. Specifically, there's a forum on Following a Vegetarian Lifestyle when you have physique or sports performance goals. Also, check out Ryan Andrews' Blog on the forum. He's a vegan bodybuilder dietitian.
Ok, so we'll see where this takes me. My goals are to be happy, have fun and feel good. I'm not going to lose weight, manipulate measurements, take pictures, or freak out over numbers. As long as I feel good and like what I see in the mirror, it's on. If at any point I become bloated, fat and miserable, it's off. :-) I'll keep you posted.