Vegetarian Challenge - Charlene Busky Realtor in Ottawa
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Charlene Buske

Vegetarian Challenge

With the arrival of snow over the last couple of weeks, I have commenced hibernating. PJs, socks, flannel blankets, all snug in my bed either reading or indulging in NETFLIX. Wanting to be back in Europe experiencing the delicious local food (we celebrated our 20th anniversary on a European bus tour – trip of a lifetime), I came upon some movies – Restaurant Australia, Chef’s Table France – to bring me back to those happy places. The chef’s focus is to use local meat and produce because their high quality generates more intense flavours. After consuming mouth-watering “croque monsieur” – a French version of a grilled cheese, where the top of the bread is an inch of melted cheese; and still-in-their-shell, fresh from the corner market, garlic-intense escargots, I would tend to agree. But is fresh, organic food enough? I then stumbled upon the following food documentaries: FOODMATTERS, Food Choices, and Forks OVER Knives. We ARE the only animal that consumes another’s milk. Meat has long since been the main focus of the protein food group. Research shows that animal protein causes or intensifies disease and, even more astounding, that lowering our consumption can slow down or even REVERSE disease. Ok, I’m on board. I’m generally a healthy eater, but I certainly love a good medium-rare BBQ’d steak. So, my 28-day veggie challenge begins. If I can make it to Christmas, I may have to celebrate with turkey.

WEEK 1: I have lost 4 pounds. I don’t feel as bloated. But, my head is “fuzzy”. It’s likely a withdrawal symptom, but considering I didn’t eat a lot of meat, I didn’t expect this. I have also eliminated dairy which is my nemesis – I could seriously live on cheese and ice cream, so I suspect that the fuzzy head has more to do with the dairy elimination than the meat……..but they are still both protein. Eating out is almost impossible. I had a catered lunch at a video workshop this week – there were no veggie sandwiches, only egg salad; the minestrone soup had turkey; there was a lovely Caesar salad option; the veggie tray was accompanied by fat-laden dips; there were no non-dairy substitutes for cream in my coffee. Thankfully I carry snacks in my purse – my granola bar never tasted so good…..which is actually another benefit…..your taste buds come alive.

On to week 2.

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