Hello everyone. The Unleashed One here, back to follow up on something I mentioned in one of my earlier journal entries.
Two weeks ago, I mentioned something pertaining to a thirty-day eating theme I had embarked on. However, I didn't have many visuals to give as examples of what I was eating, so I wanted to hold off until the end of the month to share an update.
Well, the end of the month is almost here, and as promised, I did take more pictures. They will be revealed shortly, but first, a bit of backstory.
At the start of 2022, Jazz and I had the idea of doing theme-based months. Previously, we had done a day, even a week, but had never committed to a month. The first theme we did was Pescatarian, which occurred in the month of February. I'll display some of the dishes for that month below.
~Although I'm not opposed to having seafood for breakfast, it wouldn't be my go-to protein.
~Crab cakes can go with grits.
~It's difficult to find microwavable seafood options that I can take with me for lunch. I stumbled upon the Scott and Jon's in the nearby Giant and decide to give some a try. I was okay with the Shrimp Alfredo but liked their take on the Shrimp Jambalaya more.
~I have developed a small tolerance for shrimp to combine with other items. Many know that I tend to have shrimp separate, or if it's not separated, do so before consuming my meal.
~Following up on that aforementioned discovery, I am okay with shrimp touching rice not pasta.
~Octopus salad has grown on me. Jazz introduced it to me some time ago. Once I got past the initial appearance of the dish, when it was combined with the other ingredients, I found the octopus meshed well with everything.
~There's nothing like a good homemade New England clam chowder.
~Shrimp toast wasn't bad but it definitely wasn't filling.
~Using seafood made coming up with dishes challenging, particularly for breakfast. It forced one to get experimental as well as creative.
~There was always the essence of good protein as well as quality fats.
~My muscle recovery following the gym was still apparent, so I didn't feel as if anything was lacking by eating seafood as opposed to chicken or turkey.
~There weren't as many leftovers (the only exception was with the soup or dishes with rice), which decreased the chance of food getting thrown away.
~For me, seafood wasn't as heavy on my digestive system, so I had fewer instances of feeling gut discomfort after eating.
~It took place on the month with the least amount of days.
~Seafood can get rather pricey, especially if you want to do more than just fish. There were some items that were originally on the menu that we didn't get a chance to do, like wild tuna and lobster.
~Seafood is more suited as a lunch or dinner food than breakfast.
~Because some people at the office are sensitive to seafood smells, I had to be mindful as it pertained to seafood for lunch.
Being pleased with how Pescatarian month went, we decided to focus on all things chicken for April, dubbing the month "What the Cluck". We did take quite a few pictures for that month, so I won't display them here. However, I do want to map out the pros and cons, so we can get to the "lack of" meat of the matter ... see what I did there?
~Chicken is rather versatile and is ideal for breakfast, as well as lunch and dinner.
~Chicken is still affordable, in comparison to other cuts and kinds of meat.
~It's easy to find boneless, skinless, low-fat options for chicken.
~My muscle recovery was on point.
~On occasion, there was gut discomfort and digestive struggle.
~Toward the final week in April, I found myself wanting something other than chicken.
The Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian idea was mine, but it came from more than just a new food month for experimentation. As I brought up in earlier entries, one "side effect" that occurred after my bout with the Super Flu back in 2018 was an issue with my digestive system. Although that coincided with the same time my weight loss started, one would think that my digestion and ability to do #2 would improve. There were all types of procedures done, from colonoscopy to gastric emptying study, but the tests did not point to anything wrong. Then, there was this diagnosis that I had gastroparesis, which was found to be false via the gastric emptying studying.
The gastro doctor put me on medication that is related to Irritable Bowel Syndrome/IBS-C and for a brief amount of time, it worked. Then, within the past six to nine months, it became ineffective.
In my opinion, it doesn't make sense for me to shell out money for medication that is either ineffective or makes me feel worse after I take it. Yet, I don't want to continuously suffer from chronic constipation.
I decided to invest in my own independent research and experimentation. Perhaps I needed some more bacteria in my gut to help with digestion, along with some aid with the gas and bloating before it started. If vegetables and fruits are the keys to obtaining more fiber, to me, it made sense to explore a vegetarian diet. But I wanted to make sure it was one I'd be guaranteed to stick with. Hence, why I leaned toward Lacto-Ovo.
When I presented the idea to Jazz, I let her know she was under no obligation to try it, but that I was doing it for myself. However, she seemed down for the challenge and had an excuse to come up with new recipes.
~I went into this, believing that I would immediately miss the meat products. I was mistaken. Nearing the end, I would think about seafood and breakfast meats, but that's about it.
~Jazz and I like the incorporation of tofu in desserts and breakfast sausages. We still haven't been bold enough to have it stand on its own yet 😆.
~New Jersey sweet potato buns are delicious.
~Jazz's son Gino didn't even pick up that what he was eating didn't have meat. Yet, he still ate all of the meals on the menu.
~ Plant-based vegan deli slices are better cooked and paired with other toppings.
~I am a fan of chocolate almond milk.
~There was an increase and improvement in my bowel movements.
~Once my body got adjusted to the switch, I experienced less bloating and digestive discomfort.
~Improved quality of sleep. Not that it was extra sucky before, but I did notice I was able to fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer.
~Most days, there were fewer leftovers, which led to less food waste.
~For the most part, without having to deal with the expense of meat, on average, one spends less at the supermarket.
One would often have to shop on the day of to get the freshest fruit and vegetables.
A couple of menu items had to be scrapped due to the lack of quality of ingredients.
My muscle recovery wasn't as efficient utilizing plant protein. As a result, there were some weeks when I did not work out as much.
I am pleased with the results and am thinking of extending this, but I haven't fully made up my mind yet. We will see what happens.
Take care everyone.