Since January 2017 I am trying to be 90% vegetarian. I say 90%, because for me it is mainly about trying to reduce my meat consumption as much as possible in order to protect animals and the environment. Since 2012, I never cooked any meat for myself. However, I used to occassionally cook meat together with friends or eat meat at restaurants. As a New Year’s resolution I decided to be more strict about it and am now also trying to not eat meat in restaurants and at friends’ places. My priorities are here to especially avoid beef, as this is the most unsustainable meat option. Then I try to avoid all other kinds of meat and very seldom make an exception for chicken as it is (besides fish) the most climate-friendly meat. I still, however, eat fish (also because I am not yet used to cooking much with soja and beans).
I found that eating no meat for breakfast is very easy for me, cause there are so many delicious and healthy breakfast options – even vegan ones! I usually eat a vegan breakfast with oats/cereal and soymilk, as I am also trying to reduce my milk consumption (since the milk industry is as bad as the meat industry, especially on large industrial farms, as you can see here). I sometimes also cut an apple and cook it together with water and oats in a pot for a yummy oat meal or prepare some chia pudding the night before. You can pretty much use any plant-based milk for chia pudding and at fruits and spices like cinnamon and vanilla as you wish. I recently found this recipe for a high-protein breakfast bowl and want to try it out on a sunday morning. I’m also planning to try out a tapioca instead of a chia pudding soon. By the way, if you are living in Europe you can also use flax seeds as a more sustainable alternative to chia seeds, as they contain a similar amount of proteins and omega-3.
For lunch I often buy something in the canteen or a grocery store, as I am usually working in the library. As there is always a vegetarian option in the canteen, this is also rather easy for me. However, sometimes I am having a hard time resisting the other delicious meal options, but I usually stay strong. The good thing is that I am faster at deciding what to eat now, cause there are not so many veggie options yet. 😉 If I cook at home, I often make a veggie stir fry, pasta or a soup. I love to make a vegan coconut-pea-lime soup, which is very similar to this recipe. If it has to be a quick lunch, couscous is a really great options. I just pour hot water on the couscous or cook it quickly in a pan/pot and add some veggies like tomatoes, peppers, chickpeas, carrots and spices and nuts or dried fruits like cranberrys. If you have some more time stuffed zucchini is also a great option. For a delicious veggie-couscous stew you can use this recipe, but substitute chicken with vegetable broth. Also there are many great vegetarian pasta recipes, like this one.
While vegetarian and even vegan breakfasts and lunch have been very easy to manage, I am still sometimes struggling with not eating meat for dinner. As I live in Austria where it is common to eat a ‘Jause’ (or ‘Brotzeit’) with many delicious sausages and bread, it is sometimes a bit difficult to limit my food options to only cheese and vegetarian bread spreads. As I am living together with my meat-eating boyfriend, there are always some of his delicious sausages in the fridge, which makes it even more challenging for me. While I usually manage to resist the temptation (by thinking about how badly the animals were treated and which negative impact meat production has on the environment), I sometimes get bored of eating only cheese and veggie-spreads. So if you have some suggestions for delicious veggie-spreads, hummus, etc., feel free to post them in the comments below. 🙂