I am so, so, so glad September is over. I have to say that I think this was my most difficult challenge- almost as bad as when I gave up chocolate for Lent. To refresh your memory, my goal for September was to eat vegetarian. I started off the month going to the Shawano County Fair with my parents, where I had to endure my dad's withering looks as we searched the entire fair looking for something for me to eat that didn't have meat in it and wasn't a deep fried appetizer. I eventually found a grilled cheese, but now I remember why none of the Smith family are vegetarians...it's just something we DON'T DO, according to my dad. He says it's something people do just for attention. I have come to my own conclusions, though. I think it's a way of life for people who feel very, very passionately about animals. Vegetarianism is not for the weak at heart, and the reason I say that is because the world is stacked against you! American culture is geared toward meat eaters. Every restaurant, festival, EVERYTHING features meat! Have you ever seen a brat fry serving an option for vegetarians? Not if you want to eat more than a plain bun and a bag of chips.
I went to Applebees last week, expecting that since they are a nationwide franchise they would have SOMETHING for me to eat. Every one of their salads came with meat on them, and unless I wanted to order an appetizer, there were no meat-free options. I ended up asking the waitress to just leave the chicken off my salad. I will also say that unless if you go to a restaurant that actually does "meat-free" on purpose (I mean actually offers vegetarian options), I often left feeling not full. My dad would argue it's cause I'm not eating enough protein, but honestly even if I got a sub at Subway with every type of veggie they offered, my brain still knew there was no meat on it and I felt like I missed out on the best part of the sandwich. It's just psychological.
We went to Fazoli's last Friday and I asked the girl at the counter if their baked spaghetti had meat sauce on it. She said no, so I ordered it. Then she asked if I wanted to add meatballs to it, and I said no. She laughed and said, "Oh yeah, you said no meat. You must be a vegetarian like me, huh?" And I just kinda chuckled and said, "Sort of."
After this challenge I am officially declaring that there will be no more dietary challenges for me. No more adding or subtracting things that I stuff in my face. It's just too much a part of my daily existence and I really feel like I am missing out on life. I will admit that I let myself eat meat at Jason and Natalie Schamper's wedding, at the Employee Luncheon at work and at Octoberfest, so at least I had 3 opportunities to remind myself of what I was missing.
Now, on to this month's challenge. After much discussion with Laura and Kyle Lobner, who gave me many excellent ideas which I didn't use, I have decided to try to visit every museum in Manitowoc County this month. Vicki Franko gave me this idea, and although I've been to several of them, I look forward to visiting them again and giving you all the feedback. Maybe I'll stumble across something really cool that I can recommend to everyone...I'm going to try to write a separate post for each museum I visit, plus rate them on things like coolness factor. Stay tuned!!!