The End of the Veggie Challenge

Monday, January 22, 2007
Well, the Veggie Challenge is over (for me at least, you can do it anytime). Congrats to everyone who took part. What did I learn? Not a lot. I did realize that it’s not that I don’t already eat a lot of vegetables. I do. I love vegetables. And I happen to eat quite a few of them. In fact, I’d say I eat probably eat a vegetarian diet about 75% of the time already. I don’t eat a lot of red meat – I eat very little, maybe once or twice a month. When I do eat meat, it’s mostly chicken and pork. Just ask my brother when the last time I had roast beef at their house was (and this is a tough one because both he and his wife are excellent cooks). I doubt he could remember. Nope, it’s that I don’t eat very healthily in general. Yikes. I really should try to work on that.

I’ve gone without meat for a week or more before this so I knew that it wasn’t going to be too much of a “challenge” for me. However, I did notice that I had some terrible cravings for bacon and *shudder* even sausage this time around. In the past when I’ve gone without meat, it was a choice – generally I just didn’t feel like eating it so I wouldn’t. I have a big problem with being told that I’m “not allowed” to eat something. This makes me want it even more. All those restrictive, anti-carb, Atkins Beach diets would never work for me.

As with Maria, I didn’t gain or lose any weight on the veggie challenge, not that that was my goal. I’m glad to hear that she is going to eat a mostly vegetarian diet from now on. It IS a very healthy way to go, provided you do it right (unlike me and my idea that since pop, chips and pastries have no meat in them, they’re vegetarian). Maria pointed out in one of her posts this week that the daily emails we received from the Toronto Vegetarian Society were quite political in nature. I’d have to say that I’d agree. Not all of them, but certainly the first few were. I found it very disappointing and considered stopping. However, I stuck it out and just deleted the emails when I got them. They reminded me of PETA’s tactics which I find have a very negative message - rather than promoting the health benefits and positive aspects of vegetarianism and/or veganism, they show pictures of tortured cattle, caged chickens, abused “pets”, and throw fake blood on pedestrians.

Today we’re going out for lunch, and yes, I will be having meat…red meat in fact. I feel like treating myself to a big burger, perhaps even with bacon. Can you hear my arteries clogging, too? I’ll save my veggies for tonight – pasta with a delicious chunky veggie tomato sauce. Mmmm mmmm good. In the meantime, I’ll be sure to include some lettuce, pickles, and tomatoes on the burger to balance out the dead cow.

Burger Photo from Chewwong via Flickr


Red said...

Well done for completing the challenge, Karen. May I ask you why you were interested in taking it in the first place?

As for losing weight on a veggie diet, I think that's a bit of a myth, anyway. I was a veggie (with fish) for several years and it is during those years that I put on the most weight. Granted, it might coincide with the fact that I also starting working from home, meaning an even more sedentary lifestyle. But I also found that with no meat in my diet, I was relying very heavily on carbs (pasta, rice, potatoes) to compensate.

Having said that, like you, I still don't make a habit of eating meat. Today at lunch I had tuna, tonight we'll have a veggie dish. Tomorrow will probably be all veggie. It's no sacrifice, really. If anything, the sacrifice is forcing myself to eat more proteins...

Candy Minx said...

Okay...please don't be mad at me...

but really, a vegetarian diet for you might be the worst thing you could do. Urp...I'm sorry... need red meat. Well, particularitly iron. A small serving of red meat once a week won't hurt you. How about a free range GRASS eating bison or cow? That way, you know they had a good life and good diet before you ate them?

Plus, oh dear, I care about you so much, and I hate to say something you won't like to hear...but the pasta? The bun with the burger?

Uh, no. No!!!!

Pasta once a week? Okay...but babe, with the post you made about your health are a girl a beautful primate who probalby shouldn't eat any potatoe or grains or bread or noodles.

I feel terrible because I know we are programmed into believing that noodles and bread are healthy low fat choices and comfort foods. For a million years we didn't eat bread or noodles...and we were full of energy and vigor.

Would you sort of consider limiting your starch to once a week? Pretty please? And just see if after a couple of weeks and a month or so you body/mind and ovaries doesn't just love it?

Wandering Coyote said...

Good for you for trying this out. Like you, I can't tolerate being told NOT to eat something - I just want it more. That's why Weight Watchers was so hard for me. Everything in moderation.

Maria said...

I also felt I ate more carbs to "compensate" for my no-meat diet. Lots of people had comments about how what I was eating was incomplete, especially the first day.

Veggie Challenge said...

Hi Karen, we are the volunteers that run the Veggie Challenge. We hope that your experience of going meat-free for a week has been a rewarding one.

We’ve noticed your concern over the content of our emails, in particular the feeling that some are political in nature. We would like to thank you for raising the issue.

The benefits of adopting a vegetarian lifestyle are as varied as the reasons for choosing to do so: they include individual health, environmental benefits, and animal welfare, among others. We respect all these reasons, and while our focus is on nutrition, we feel it is also important to acknowledge these other aspects. Please be assured that it was never our intent to appear political and we deeply regret if this has happened.

Thanks to your feedback, Karen, we will be looking at ways to improve the emails for future “Challengees.”

The goals of our Veggie Challenge can be summed up in three simple words: educate, motivate and celebrate! We hope you will feel welcomed into our ever-growing international community.

If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to contact us. And if you’re ever in our neighbourhood (17 Balwin St., Toronto, right above Vegetarian Haven restaurant), drop in for a visit. We have an excellent Resource Centre staffed with super friendly and knowledgeable volunteers who are always happy to help.

The Veggie Challenge Team – Marcella, Steve, Bev, Jenny, and Peter

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