Sunday, October 6, 2013

30 Day Challenge: Vegetarianism

For context about 30 day challenges, watch this Ted Talk by Matt Cutts.

My 30 day challenge in September was to be a vegetarian - and a true vegetarian, so no meat whatsoever, including seafood.  I've thought about doing this challenge for a while, and this video pushed me over the edge.  My goals for this challenge were simple:

  • See what it's like to live as a vegetarian, and what options are available
  • Be more conscious about meat consumption in general
  • See if this is something that I could sustain long-term

I did pretty well throughout the month, and only slipped once.  During the first week of the challenge I was at my great-aunt's 100th birthday party, and it was at a restaurant with a fixed menu.  The only options were chicken, salmon, or steak.  The kitchen said that they could make me a plate of steamed vegetables, but I decided that I would make an exception and order the steak.  I don't feel like this means that I "failed" the challenge, it was a one-time conscious choice and I was still able to accomplish my goals during the rest of the month.

Obviously the hardest part of this challenge was eating out.  I did a fair amount of traveling in September, which meant finding restaurants with vegetarian options everywhere I went.  This was usually doable, but in many cases I only had one choice of entree.  Luckily I do like to eat tofu, veggie burgers, and almost all vegetables, so I almost always had decent options available.

Once the challenge was over I did go back to eating meat right away, and I had no adverse effects from the month hiatus.  I don't think that my eating habits are going to change dramatically after having done this challenge, but I do plan on being more conscious of the quality and source of the meat that I consume.  If I don't know its origin I think I will be more likely to skew towards vegetarian options.  At some point I might try to follow Mark Zuckerberg's lead and eat only meat that I've killed - but I think I'll save that for a point where I have the means to do so.

If you have done any 30-day challenges recently, or have ideas for future ones, let me know in the comments!