So, as each New Year approaches my mother and I decide we are going to try something random or do something different. I don’t really think of it as a New Year’s Resolution. It’s really some sort of activity or a short-term practice that we can experience together. For example, one year we decided that we were going to focus on paper. We picked a month to go through all of those important papers that we saved since 1973, shred those that were clearly out-of-date and set-up billing through online pay to eliminate the amount of paper statements (those things that we were saving anyway). Another year we decided we were not going to shop for any new clothes for the first six months of the year, which is a bit of a challenge when you love the January 1 sale at Dillard’s and the after Christmas steals – that all cost money! Nothing earth shattering, usually something fun and funny – mini-adventures of sorts!
As we entered 2014 we wondered what our challenge would be for the year. So, my mom calls out of the blue and says – super excited – I’ve got it! I’ve got our challenge this year. Me – monotone as usual – okaaaayyyy. She says (super perky voice) lets do a Meatless March. Silence falls upon the land – well, the phone anyway. Mom says, think about it and call me back. Click!
A day or two goes by, I think about it, and I call her back. Okay, I’m in! But, I think we should recruit some other people and document our progress. I looked at my husband and he looked at me like … don’t even ask. Fine, I won’t. So, my mother recruits the women in her office in Illinois and I recruit the women in my office in Tennessee. And, we all count down the days by eating as much meat as possible until 12am March 1, 2014 – which will forever be known as The Meatless March of 2014.
Fast forward to now of 2017. I have not had a piece of meat since February 28, 2014, unless that was a leap year, which then would put my last piece of turkey bacon and fried chicken on February 29, 2014.
Now, in all honestly, the month of Meatless March was not easy. I think I was a bit cranky and a little snippy as I smelled and watched my elementary aged son pack baked chicken and vegetables in his lunch – what in the hay! But, as the end of the month approached I began to feel better and better. So, I thought that I would extend Meatless March to a couple of weeks in April and then reintroduce meat to my body.
To this day – this year – I am still living in Meatless March. I do not eat meat. I do not eat fish. I do not eat foe-meat. I do not eat it Sam-I-Am. The reactions of others, strangers and family alike, have been very interesting. It is almost as if I am suffering from some a severe lapse in judgment. Here are my favorites …
- Are you a vegetarian … I say – Nah. I just don’t eat meat.
- Do you eat fish … fair enough question. But, the answer is no. Ohh – Shocker! Shocker! I wasn’t terribly fond of it before unless it was seasoned and deep fried in grease! So, is my body missing the grease, the crunchy coating or the seasoning … definitely not the nutrients of the fish! Let it go and walk away!
- Well, what do you eat? … Uummm, well, let’s see – I eat all the other millions of items and stuff in the whole entire world that is not meat!
- My dad asks at least twice a year (which is super funny to me) are you still not eating meat? And each time I give the same answer – No. Not yet.
Yes. My family, in its entirety is carnivores. My son will eat a hamburger for breakfast if you let him and cannot understand why there is any other side item besides potatoes. My husband just ‘fried’ some chicken in the oven coated with oatmeal for dinner yesterday, there is a protein with every meal. My mother has her fair share of chicken and salmon and my dad has proclaimed that a meal is not a meal without a meat on the plate. And, my daughter will eat meat if it is not ‘big’ meat?! Go Figure.
For the past couple of years I have had a continuous internal dialogue of when to return to my formal glory and title of ‘meat-eater,’ and it doesn’t seem right just yet.
Two thousand seventeen will be the first year that I release the Meatless March concept and fully claim and embrace the title of vegetarian. This will be the first year that I don’t whisper to restaurant staff asking if a certain dish has meat or if they have any vegetarian options. This will be the first year that I don’t feel bad about saying that cooking ground turkey smells awful and how sad the raw chicken without a head looks in the kitchen – not food shaming, just an observation! This will be the first year that I ask aloud … why are we marinating a chunk of meat for seconds, minutes, hours and days – should you really send that through your personal body system to be processed?!
I have found some favorites that are prepared at home and others that are prepared at restaurants. I must say that collard greens and corn bread alone are to die for. And, it is at that moment that a pecan waffle with scrambled eggs and orange juice (The Gathering in Madison, Mississippi) help me to make the transition to heaven. Pad Thai noodles or a vegetarian pizza from Pie Five makes my heart beat again! And, if you are craving something wonderful first and vegetarian second … try The Palace Restaurant in New Orleans, Louisiana on Canal – Say What Now!!
So, even in the midst of Carnivores – I will pass on the meat! No Thank You. And, I’m Good. No reason other than – I just don’t want any.