(Not So) Final Thoughts on Minimalism/Vegetarian May

What is a Vegetarian? A person who eats only side dishes.

It’s almost June!

This means that my month of vegetarianism is almost over!

But ironically enough, I am not exactly dying to gorge myself with all the meats.

I literally did not eat a single bite of meat in the last 31 days, and I didn’t miss it with the ferocity I’d expected.  I knew being vegetarian would be easy for me – Lord knows I like pasta and potatoes and rice enough to sustain me for a measly 31 days.  But what I didn’t expect was to not miss meat at all.  I have done these types of deprive-myself-of-something-for-a-month challenges before, and I always planned what I was going to do to break the streak on the first of the following month.  OMG I AM SO GETTING A COKE ON THE FIRST OF THE MONTH! (when I gave up soda for a month)…  OMG I AM GOING TO WAWA AND BUYING $20 WORTH OF CANDY AND STUFFING MY FACE ON THE FIRST OF THE MONTH! (when I gave up candy for a month)…  But I have not really been planning out how I’m going to break my vegetarian streak.  I haven’t been salivating for a burger or a steak or a fried chicken sandwich or bacon or anything like that.  This is kinda strange for me.

On the other hand though, it’s not really that strange.  I was sort of unconsciously inching my way towards vegetarianism for a while.  I rarely eat chicken anymore.  I’m not even really sure why.  We just kinda… stopped eating chicken.  Once in a while I’ll poach it and shred it for BBQ or chicken salad or something, but our old reliable dinners of grilled chicken/rice or couscous/broccoli is a thing of the past.  It wasn’t intentional, I just kind of moved away from it.  And ever since I visited a pig rescue organization last summer, I haven’t been able to eat as much pork.  We used to eat pork chops weekly – it’s my daughter’s favorite.  But once I fell in love with this adorable little pig at the rescue, I just couldn’t do it anymore.  By the time we decided to go vegetarian, the only meat I was eating on a regular basis was red meat, in the form of steak once a week and cheeseburgers every so often, and the occasional cheesesteak.

With that said, I just don’t see me giving up red meat 100%.  I get it, I get the whole environmentally-conscious thing surrounding red meat, but I DO buy responsibly-raised red meat from Whole Foods.  I will never, ever purchase red meat from factory farms, ever again.  I do feel that I am doing my part to help the environment in that way.  But with that said, I do think we will be moving towards a more plant-based diet approach.  For one thing, we tried so many delicious new recipes this past month.  I can’t wait to share them with you!  One of them is even a SALAD RECIPE ? !  I can absolutely see us moving towards an 80/20 or even a 90/10 vegetarian meal plan.

I did consume quite a lot of grain-based foods this past month though, and I am feeling the results of that physically.  I haven’t started meal planning yet for the month of June, but I am going to look into ways to limit my grain consumption and still stay mostly vegetarian.  We’ll see how that works out.

As for minimalism, well, that journey is not over, not by a long shot.  I did accomplish a lot this month, though not everything I had hoped to.  I’m a bit of an overachiever in that way.  I unpacked all the boxes from one whole bay of my barn.  My intent was to also work on the boxes in another bay, which are all for my daughter’s room, but I didn’t get to that.  Instead I had to do massive amounts of gardening around the house!  I did get rid of several bags of trash, and donated three bags of clothes and three boxes of books, shoes, and other items to the VVA.  That was just from one bay of my barn – and it might not sound like a lot, but remember, I did donate and toss a LOT while I was packing to move.  I did suspect that I would get to the new house and still have stuff to part with, because I wasn’t in the right head space to make the decision to do so when I was packing.  So I’m happy with the progress I’ve made so far, and I am going to continue on this journey and keep working towards a more intentional life!  Someday, I hope that my house will be free of clutter and crap.  Someday, I would like to just clean my house and have it stay that way for forever.  No more closets packed to the brim, no more drawers spilling over with stuff, no more piles of clutter and paper and magazines all over my house.  Magazines – there’s where I can really benefit from minimizing!  I need to cancel like, all of my magazine subscriptions.  Except maybe Food Network.  I like that one.  But I honestly never have time to read them!  I kept thinking for a while that if I stay subscribed to magazines, it would force me to sit down and relax and read them and page through them.  But all I end up doing is letting them pile up and then instead of paging through them leisurely, I flip through them quickly, scanning, looking for recipes I might want to make someday (see: #52NewEats and #12NewTreats), rip those out, and toss the rest.  What a waste.  I think I could also benefit from some minimizing of my cooking material – books, recipes, binders, etc.  That’s another project for another rainy day.

So now that June is upon us, I’m not really sure what this month’s challenge will be for me.  I do know, from much soul-searching and working with a friend who is studying to become a life coach, that I need to start putting myself first.  I need to make myself a priority.  It’s hard for me to see how to do that, because I am typically deferring to what my family needs.  I am also typically deferring to what the house needs.  But what about what I need?  It’s no surprise I’m so darn exhausted all the time because I’m never tending to what I need.  I need to be able to sit down and relax and veg out once in a while.  Maybe even once a week!  Maybe if I did that more often, I wouldn’t be so tired during the week, I wouldn’t want to go to bed early every single night.  I have been tossing around the idea of putting together a family chore chart, because I do feel as though I carry the majority of the chores every weekend (which is why I am never on the couch vegging out).  My daughter is old enough to handle some chores now, and obviously my husband is capable.  So maybe I will work on that – spreading the responsibilities around a little so that I can have some more time to recharge.

We will see how that goes.  ?