The No Meat March Experience
Joseph Basco, News Editor
Chef and food writer Anthony Bourdain said it best during an episode of his travel show No Reservations. He said vegetarianism is a first-world choice. That is my stance when it comes to vegetarianism. People around the world have no choice but to hunt for animals because of the scarcity of fertile soil. But alas, I understand the horrors of animal cruelty and American consumerism and capitalism thanks to the documentary Food, Inc. So, I will attempt to be more environmentally, ethically and financially responsible and healthy by embarking on a No Meat March challenge. Will I be able to resist a juicy filet mignon or a carnitas burrito all month? Let’s find out.
Day 1 – PASS
As I always do, because I live on the Westside and tend to wake up late, I began the day with a can of Pepsi. I arrived at the Spinnaker office, only to be greeted by a decorative cake that reminded me of The Darjeeling Limited. In short, my breakfast consisted of dessert.
For lunch, I went to the Boathouse and ordered a tomato caprese ciabatta and a side Caesar salad. My stomach turned when I saw a piece of chicken in the salad. I gave it to Lindsay, the managing editor, while I enjoyed the nuance of pesto and fresh mozzarella.
Dinner was a revelation for me. I was envisioning Greek yogurt and fruit. What I saw when I came home was chicken and roast beef sandwiches. Never before has my will been tested. The sight of food can incite hunger, even when I am not hungry. I stood strong and decided to go to sleep on a stomach full of milk and sweet tea.
Day 2 – FAIL
I skipped breakfast for a lunch on campus. A job meeting at the Boathouse made me contemplate if I should buy a $6 hamburger and drink. Once again I stood firm and ate the cheese plate from Outtakes, which had cheese, grapes and crackers. I failed when dinner time came. I ate one of those roast beef sandwiches sitting in the refrigerator since the day before. I brought shame and dishonor to myself.
Day 3 – PASS
After a good night’s sleep, I decided to make egg salad. With a stack of crackers nearby, my breakfast was my way back to a meatless March. Lunch was a package of Bagel Bites. Dinner was a mix of hash browns, cheddar cheese and eggs. Despite not eating anything healthy today, I avoided anything meat related. (Let me enjoy my eggs, vegan purists.)
Day 4 – PASS
I started the day with three eggs covered in cheddar cheese. Lunch was a spinach and mushroom pizza with pasta salad. Dinner was sautéed kale and shiitake mushrooms. I think I got the hang of this, even though I haven’t verged on healthier vegetarian options yet.
Day 5 – PASS
All I had today was pasta salad, a banana and cranberry juice for lunch and a beer for dinner. It was quite possibly the simplest and easiest day without meat yet.
Day 6 – PASS
I went to a diner in Orange Park for a class assignment. I had toast with grits and eggs. On the way, I noticed just how much meat is sold in fast-food restaurants. I drove by these places and imagined just how inadequate their menus are for vegetarians. Lunch/dinner was fruit and raw veggies, a yummy end to the first week. I have just 25 more days to go.
Ryan Thompson, Features Editor
When I woke up March 1, I didn’t expect I’d participate in No Meat March. But since my professor canceled my first class, I had some extra time to make an interesting breakfast. Avocados caught my eye, and I knew what I’d have. Upon arriving at the Spinnaker after chopping all my hair off, I found out Basco was taking part in the void-of-meat 30-day sprint, and I thought I’d join in on the fast. So, with a buzzed head and a earth-borne appetite, I give you the first week of my march into vegetarianism.
Day 1 – PASS
I opened up one of the avocados and tried to slice pieces of it to put on a sandwich. I used the whole avocado, which — as my Instagram and Twitter followers told me — was a pretty good decision. I chopped a plump but small tomato in half and then sliced that into three. I toasted two wheat bread pieces and put the tomatoes on one half and the lump of avocado bits on the other. I topped both with some pepper, mushed the two slices of bread together and devoured accordingly. For a late-ish lunch, I made a quesadilla in the office. I ate a slice of cake with Lindsay, which made me feel defeated. At some point, I ate a Starburst, which again made me feel defeated because numerous candies use gelatin. With a busy Friday ahead, I skipped dinner, went to sleep and dreamt of that grossly ginormous slice of cake.
Day 2 – PASS
I started off the day with Special K Red Berries and milk. I’ve tried almond milk in the past, but its intentional nuttiness proved too literal for me. I picked up lunch at Chik-N-Grill in the food court and ordered a build-your-own salad. “This might sound stupid,” I said to my salad-maker, “but can I skip the meat?” At home, sweating and dehydrated from early March’s sun, I made a strawberry smoothie. Later that afternoon, I made some guacamole with that extra avocado, and I sliced up some more of that same tomato and a bit of onion. I like to keep my guac simple — usually I make it from avocados and squeezed lime — and because of this, I dub it Guy Guac. This time, I called it Guy Guac with a Little Less Laziness. For dinner, I had a to-go salad from J. Alexander’s, which was at first horrible to eat and later turned out all right. Don’t go there for meatless salads, folks.
Day 3 – PASS
Again, I gorged on my Special K and dairy milk for breakfast. Later, I scrounged around for some type of snack, and I settled on all-too-glorious salt and vinegar chips. I wasn’t tempted to eat meat, I was tempted to just eat something. I spent most of the day spooning salted peanuts, walnuts and pecans into my stomach. At this point, I felt mega self-conscious that readers of this column will know my abysmal weekend eating habits.
Day 4 – PASS
I once again began the day with my cereal and milk session. Sometime in the early afternoon, I enjoyed a Chobani strawberry yogurt cup, and I usually break up some walnuts and toss those in there. This is typically my choice breakfast during the week. I always follow it up with a banana, but I forwent the potassium supplement. For dinner, I had a great pasta dish with some halved cherry tomatoes, spinach and zucchini. Also, I consumed a very fantastic salad. And I embarrassingly drowned myself in dessert with a sugar-free banana bread slice and maybe a half sleeve of frozen Thin Mints. Hey, we all have our vices.
Day 5 – PASS
Ah, Monday. With the same breakfast as I had for lunch the day before, I packed some leftover pasta for a quick lunch. I served a small enough portion that wouldn’t fill with carbs the void of fat from meat. I ate a fruit, cracker and cheese plate for dinner in a night class that brings one healthy option and one junky option weekly. A cupcake stared at me until I scarfed it. I march forth with little dignity, but at least my belly’s meat-free.
Day 6 – PASS
I had my usual strawberry-Chobani-with-walnuts-and-a-banana power breakfast. So obviously, sometime during my 12:15 p.m. class, I felt hungry. Luckily, I had one of those peanut butter cracker packs and a bag of Fritos to hold me over until dinner. I ate a plate full of cherry tomatoes, edamame sans salt, carrots, celery, pineapple, honeydew, grapes, strawberries and cantaloupe. I acknowledge that most of the earthly gifts I just mentioned aren’t even in season right now. Thank you, food wax and artificial growing conditions. I could smell the chicken tenders my coworkers enjoyed and felt envious. I threw several Publix chocolate chip cookies down my pie hole and wished for April. At press time, I couldn’t confirm nor deny that I consumed more cookies and chips during the night.