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30 Days as a Vegetarian - Day 10

Welcome to day #10 of  "30 Days as a Vegetarian".

Honestly I am getting bored of my meal options.

When eating out I have been having veggie burgers (which is pretty hit or miss as some vegetarian options are just gawd awful), but at home I have been having:


That and eating carrot sticks, fruit, etc. I think that is why I get so excited about having a veggie burger when eating out, because it is a change from the hum-drum of salads, soups, etc.

Honestly I don't know how to make much more beyond those things without going into grains, cereals, potatoes, etc - things that are going to have a higher calorie count.

Thus I could make a rice / veggie stirfry, but I am trying to limit my rice intake because of the calories involved.

Likewise I could also make cornmeal bread or pancakes, but again same problem - cornmeal is high in calories.

And of course potatoes, which thus far I have been including in stews and mashed potatoes, but have avoided making potato pancakes, potato french fries, etc. The starch in the potatoes is almost as bad as sugar when it comes to packing on the pounds.

Basically a lot of the tastier options are off the table simply because I want to avoid anything that is too high in calories / starch.

The end result is that it is making me feel very restricted in what I can and cannot eat.

And to top it off I am now receiving nasty emails from a vegan (who I have since blocked) who insists that I should not be eating/drinking eggs, milk or other animal products either because "that is still murder" in her opinion. (By her definition, a woman donating her eggs to medical research would be murder too.)

So this morning for breakfast I had a yogurt and a bowl of carrot sticks. As much as I love carrot sticks, it was the yogurt that was the highlight of my breakfast.

In other news my weight this morning (after breakfast) was 193.8 lbs. I have lost almost 4 lbs in 10 days.

Waist at widest point was still 41 inches.

30 Days as a Vegetarian - Day 8

Note: If you are enjoying reading 30 Days as a Vegetarian check out my past posts on the topic.

So I measured my weight yesterday (Day 7) before breakfast and it was 195.0.

And today I measured my weight after lunch (Day 8) and it was 195.9.

The really positive news is my waist measured 41.0 inches both yesterday and today. So things are definitely heading in a positive direction.

So my conclusion from this is that my weight is going to continue to fluctuate on an hourly basis just due to the intake of food and the expulsion of waste, so the process of checking weight is going to be completely arbitrary depending on how recently I ate something or went to the bathroom.

I also have to wonder how much eating out (vegetarian options only) at restaurants effects the weight fluctuations.

For example lets say I have a veggie burger, caesar salad on the side, and water to drink. I have had that exact same meal twice so far in the last 8 days because of an event last Friday and again this past Tuesday. I have no idea what the calories in such a meal is because I keep forgetting to check the calories when I am at the restaurant.

Tonight (Thursday) I am going to another event and this time I will be having some kind of vegetarian dish (possibly another veggie burger since that is my go-to dish), as well as beer because this particular event will involve a little drinking. So I can tell you right now the calorie content of tonight's meal is not going to be helping me.

And due to the length of the event and preparations I have to make earlier today, I am not making as much time to exercise as I normally do today. So I will only be getting a light workout in.

My workout schedule thus far:

Thursday, Day 1 - Light Exercise, Indoors
Friday, Day 2 - Moderate Exercise, Outdoors + Light Exercise Indoors
Saturday, Day 3 - Moderate Exercise, Outdoors
Sunday, Day 4 - Relaxed
Monday, Day 5 - Moderate Exercise, Indoors
Tuesday, Day 6 - Light Exercise, Indoors
Wednesday, Day 7 - Moderate Exercise, Indoors
Thursday, Day 8 (Today) - Light Exercise, Indoors

Back to the restaurants topic however, since the beginning of this health experiment I have been meaning to visit a number of Toronto's vegan / vegetarian / raw vegan restaurants to see what they have to offer.

I should note however that I have been to several before, back when I was dating a vegan woman years ago.

For example I don't really like Fresh. I had their veggie burger years ago and it was so awful I nearly vomited. They put wheatgrass on the burger and a host of other things that don't belong on a burger. I tried taking many of the pieces of unedible garbage off the burger in order to make it more palatable, but even the patty and the bun were horrible. The bun was as hard as a rock and difficult just to bite through, and the patty tasted like they had tossed way too many weird things into a blender together. I ordered the burger at Fresh because everything else on the menu looked ridiculously weird and made of things I knew I would not eat. It was as if the chef making the menu had no clue how to make normal food and/or was deliberately trying to make food that is as weird as possible. (I would like to play dodgeball with their chef and throw his rock-hard burger buns at him. See how he likes them!)

Rawlicious (see comparison I have been to several times and their food is always good - they have a variety of things anyone can eat as well as a few oddities. Thus you don't feel forced into ordering something weird. Rawlicious also has quite a few desserts, which is not healthy really, but hey, they're in the business of making raw food taste delicious and that is pretty unusual by itself. Everything in their restaurant is not cooked whatsoever. Chopped, stirred, whipped, yes - but all raw.

Here is a list of places I would like to try sometime, if I find the time and courage to try their food:

Hibiscus Cafe
Hogtown Vegan
Kupfert + Kim
Live Raw Food Bar
One Love Vegetarian
Pulp Kitchen
Urban Herbivore

I cannot speak to the quality of any of those places, I am just compiling a list of maybes.

At present what I have been doing is going to "normal restaurants" and then just picking from the vegetarian options available. Which for me usually means going straight for the veggie burger because that is my past favourite. However some places have really bad veggie burgers and some have really good veggie burgers. Johnny Rockets for example makes a great veggie burger, hence why I have gone there twice. Fresh in contrast has a burger so awful it could poison someone. With all the weird things they put on it I wouldn't be surprised if they accidentally put poisonous toadstools or nightshade on there.

Caesar Salad, Veggie Burger + Water at Johnny Rockets

Tonight I will be trying the vegetarian options at 7 West (7 Charles Street West, Toronto) + sampling some of Toronto's beer (likely Millstreet or Steamwhistle). Tomorrow I will be putting in a heavy workout to burn off some of the extra calories from tonight.

Update - The veggie burger at 7 West was horrible. The patty was mushy like meatloaf and when you bit down on the burger, bits of the veggie patty would squeeze out the sides. Tasted awful too. I didn't even finish it. Ended up having a Wellington Dark to wash it down.

30 Days as a Vegetarian - Day 5

If you are just tuning in now, I am doing a health experiment wherein I will eat vegetarian food for 30 days, and in order to make sure I don't gorge myself on bread during that time period I am also not allowing myself to have bread either. If you want to read more check out the previous posts:

30 Days as a Vegetarian - Day 1
Weight 197.6 lbs, Waist @WP 42.5 inches

30 Days as a Vegetarian - Day 3
Weight 196.4  lbs, Waist @WP 42 inches

Weighed myself just a few minutes ago, clocked in at 196.6. I should also note the time, 1:24 in the afternoon, and I just ate about an hour ago. Waist measurement at its widest point is still 42 inches, same as 2 days ago, but still down from Day 1.

So I am not seeing the progress I was seeing during the first 2 days, but that could just be a matter that I just ate. In theory if I wanted to skew the results I could do the measurements before breakfast every morning, but after my visit to the bathroom - whether that would be more accurate or less accurate is a matter of opinion. Regardless, I was hungry for breakfast this morning so I was more worried about making and eating my soup than I was in weighing myself right away.

It should be interesting to see what the results are on Day 7, to see whether I am stagnating or still on track.

My exercise schedule so far has been:

Thursday, Day 1 - Light Exercise, Indoors
Friday, Day 2 - Moderate Exercise, Outdoors + Light Exercise Indoors
Saturday, Day 3 - Moderate Exercise, Outdoors
Sunday, Day 4 - Relaxed
Monday, Day 5 (Today) - Moderate Exercise, Indoors

I decided to increase the amount of exercise I am doing indoors because I think that may be a major factor in the fat burning process and if I am having too many light exercise days or days where I relax, that in turn will result in less of a weight change.

Note - After this experiment is done I may have to conclude the biggest factor was exercise, not whether it was vegetarian or not, but we shall have to wait and see. Depends how much exercise I manage to fit into my schedule over the next 25 days.

More thoughts on being a Vegetarian for 5 days so far...

#1. Hamburgers smell good. Why does my girlfriend have to make hamburgers in front of me??? In the same room!!! And now she is laughing at me for writing this...

"Its not my fault!" she protests. "[I] was just joking... you should stop being a vegetarian."

I say: "I thought you were going to be supportive!"

She says: "I am supportive, I am just hungry!"

Eventually we got bored of this topic, but the smell of hamburgers permeated our home.

#2. Note to self, need to buy veggie burgers the next time I visit a grocery store. I need to be able to have something that is the equivalent for whenever my girlfriend decides to have a hamburger.

#3. Honestly, if I became a vegetarian permanently I think I would be the worst vegetarian ever. Why? Because I have zero interest in "saving the animals". My interest is solely on the matter of eating healthy. I really do not care if chickens are laying eggs, cows are being milked and their byproducts are being consumed by humans. I think this is partially because I was raised on a farm north of Kitchener. Mennonite region, lots of Amish in the region. My parents were beef farmers and when I was younger we purchased raw milk from a local farmer (although we later switched to store bought milk). It is true that factory farms, feed lots and similar practices do routinely treat the animals inhumanely. My personal beliefs are that animals should be raised in the wild / free range, and then hunted for their meat. I am anti-factory farm and pro-hunter - but my pro-hunter stance would not make me very popular in the vegan community. It is my opinion that we should be hunting cattle, deer, etc - and admittedly within hunting, there will sometimes be occasions when an animal is killed inhumanely, but this is rare as most hunters want to have the animal die instantly or almost instantly, as tracking a wounded animal through the bush is both arduous and stressful as the animal is crying in pain. The consensus from the hunting community is that they love animals, and they want those animals to die in a humane fashion before later being eaten. At the same time however I should note that I don't approve of "trophy hunters", the kind who just shoot animals for sport and don't actually eat them. If you shoot it, then you should eat it. Anything less is a waste.

#4. I received a lot of positive comments on the Toronto Vegetarian Association on Facebook and other sources. I did one little post saying that I was doing it for 30 days and asked for advice, and what I got was 30 Likes and 21 comments.

However I want to note that many of the comments were about how they think I should go vegan instead, because vegetarian isn't good enough for some people. One of them even made the comment "Being vegan feels so great. It's a much different experience than being a vegetarian."

Seriously. I try something new for 30 days, and someone makes a comment like that they are just rubbing your face in it with the "holier than thou" attitude. This is why normal people get annoyed at vegans because they have this attitude / belief that they are somehow morally superior to everyone else and yet apparently have an ego problem. Condescension doesn't encourage people to try vegetarianism or vegan-ism, it is either borderline rude or just plain rude and some people don't seem to realize when they are doing it.

Even vegetarians find vegans annoying sometimes. Seriously, how annoying do you have to be with the "holier than thou" attitude that you are annoying the vegetarians?

Over the years I have made a few vegan friends that I am still friends with. I say still friends with because the average vegan is pushy, rude and annoying - trying to force their food beliefs onto others. However for the ones I am still friends with, the friendship was maintained because they didn't try to push things on me, they were not rude/condescending and they just tried gently encouraging me instead. That is a much better way of doing things and makes way more friends. This business of vegans being rude is really the biggest reason why so many vegans have a bad reputation.

On the flip side I also agree that omnivores need to keep their own opinions in check. People's choice of what to eat is a bit like religion. They eat what they believe in eating. eg. I used to avoid eating lamb simply because I didn't like the idea of baby lambs being killed for my food, but I didn't have a problem with eating mutton because the sheep was old and going to die anyway.

During the comments on Facebook a lot of them mentioned The 30 Day Vegan Challenge, which I had never heard of, but sounds like something a lot of people would try. There was also another one called The Veggie Challenge, wherein a person goes meat-free for a week. Both are novel ideas, but I want to get through my "30 Days as a Vegetarian" first to see how it goes and then make some decisions about the future (see #5).

Some of them were primarily concerned about the food being animal free, ignoring the possibility that I might be doing this solely for health reasons. They just assume that I am doing this health purposes. (I saw no reason to tell them I am anti-factory farm and pro hunter because that would just cause an argument that is counter-productive.)

Some of them talked about the social aspect of eating vegetarian food, how you should plan your meals ahead of time, what to do when you go to a party, etc.

Some suggested I need to drink almond milk, soy milk, etc - apparently ignoring the possibility I might prefer normal milk.

#5. The Future. I can see doing another "30 Days of Something" in the future. Possibly "30 Days as a Vegan" or "30 Days as a Raw Vegan" or "30 Days as a Pescetarian" or "30 Days on a Juice Fast".

However I should note, before I get anyone's hopes up, these ideas I am floating about would be just temporary experiments in different healthy diets. I am most looking forward to the Pescetarian because then I would be able to have fish and chips (obviously not every day, but maybe once per week).

#6. Lastly, I really could not care less if my vegetables are "organic" or "pesticide free". I have seen the studies that show so-called "organic food" has just as much pesticides on them as non-organic, and the reason is because the wind blows the pesticides off neighbouring farms and ultimately all the vegetables end up with lots of pesticides on them. Paying extra for 'wind blown pesticide fake organic food' is for fools who think pesticides actually have any measurable difference on the human body (which they don't, because 99.99% of pesticides are washed off before they ever reach the grocery store). The science shows organic food has just as much pesticides on them, and this myth that organic food is somehow healthier for you was perpetuated by the food industry seeking to expand a market that was originally geared towards vegans who wanted 'cruelty free vegetables' that had not killed any insects during the process of growing them, except they are not truly cruelty free. The neighbouring farms are still spraying pesticides, and the wind is doing the rest of the job.

Okay, so all of this talk about food has made me snack-ish so I am going to go make a snack.

30 Days as a Vegetarian - Day 3

Twelve thoughts on becoming a Vegetarian for 30 days...

#1. Strawberry smoothies stick to my moustache. This is really more of a moustache beef than a 'going vegetarian' beef however. And my use of the word beef in the previous sentence was not meant to be a pun, but whatever. I started growing the moustache back in October in preparation for "Movember" and then I decided to keep it until March when the snow melts. It keeps my face nice and warm all winter long.

#2. Strawberry smoothies are really good. I should make these more often even when the "30 Days as a Vegetarian" experiment is over. The recipe I am using for making the smoothie is:

+ Approx. 1 and a half cups of strawberries, stems and leaves removed.
+ A splash of milk (about 1/4 cup).
+ Stick in the noisy blender for about 90 seconds. Pour the top of the smoothie into a glass, reblend any chunks at the bottom for 60 seconds, add to the glass. (I don't like any chunks in my smoothie.)

#3. Seeing my friends post images of "bacon wrapped potatoes" on Facebook is not helping so I have decided to limit my use of Facebook for the next month. Probably a good thing anyway, people spend way too much time on Facebook anyway when they could be outside exercising.

#4. I don't feel hungry as I am eating lots, but I do suddenly have a craving for bacon. I blame the friend on Facebook for posting those bacon wrapped potatoes.

#5. After I drink a strawberry smoothie, hours later I may belch and suddenly my breath smells like strawberries. [Note - I am not eating just strawberry smoothies, I have only had 1 so far, but the experience has resulted in many thoughts on the topic.]

#6. I am eating leftovers a lot more often I find. eg. This morning I had leftover corn and veggie pasta. This suggests that food will be less likely to go bad in the fridge because I will just go to the fridge and say "Ooooo! Leftovers!" and it will disappear quickly.

#7. Last night I joked with friends about breaking down on the 29th day and gorging myself on bacon. I don't think this will happen, I just thought it was an amusing idea. More likely I will have a burger with 2 strips of bacon on it, on the 31st day after the 30 day experiment is over.

#8. Before meeting friends last night I went to the Johnny Rockets near Yonge and Dundas and had the special, which was loaded with lettuce, onion, tomato, etc. The beauty of Johnny Rockets is that particular restaurant you can substitute their beef patty with a veggie patty instead on any of the burgers (with no extra cost). On the side I had a caesar salad (which had a surprising amount of dressing on it) and to drink I had water with a squeeze of lemon (the lemon came with the salad, but I used it to add some flavour to the water). [See 8 Benefits of Lemon Water in Your Diet.]

#9. My girlfriend was a vegetarian (pescetarian technically because she still ate fish) for approx. 11 years, from 2001 to 2012. She didn't do it because of her love of animals, but she does love them too - she did it because back in 2001 she found she suddenly didn't like the taste of meat. When she resumed eating meat it was when she visiting Haiti, but it was during a cholera outbreak so she ate meat because she couldn't trust the seafood there during the cholera outbreak. What happened was she ate some bad fish, got a really bad case of diarrhea and decided to temporarily go back to eating normal meat, and ultimately decided her previous disgust of the taste from 11 years previous had changed. This isn't so much a personal thought from myself, but some background on a conversation I had earlier today.

#10. I will be outside in the cold (2 degrees) this afternoon for a little more than 3 hours so I am packing a thermos of boiling hot green tea. I will be having hot mushroom soup before I leave so I should be plenty warm and well-fed.

#11. Last year a friend of mine got cancer and it struck me that he is way too young to be having cancer. It was just plain wrong that someone my age or younger should have cancer. However it did get me thinking about all the vegans and vegetarians who talk about how they cured cancer simply by eating healthy food. Given the choice between dying of cancer and becoming a vegan, I think I would rather choose the veggies. I don't think I would even have to become a full blown vegan either, but simply increase my intake of vegetables to the point that I am 95% vegetarian and 5% meat eater (or some similar set of numbers). So if you are reading this and you have cancer, you could consider that to be an option. You would still be able to enjoy meat once in awhile, but get all benefits of a very healthy diet.

#12. Eating hot soup on a cold day is always awesome. Mushroom soup goes well with a sprinkle of parsley on top.


I weighed myself this morning at 9:40 AM. My current weight is 196.4 lbs.

This change suggests I lost 0.6 lbs per day during the last 2 days. However weight fluctuates often just because of the amount of water in your system, bowel movements and when you last ate a meal, but it is a positive sign. I will be weighing myself every 2 days and posting the results.

If I continued at that rate of 0.6 lbs per day I could in theory drop 18 lbs of fat in 30 days. This would be consistent with what I did several years ago when I cut bread from my diet, ate a mostly vegetables diet, and only ate meat once per week. During that time period I lost about 20 lbs in approx. 40 days (averaging 0.5 lbs per day). I should also note that during that time period I was also weightlifting and doing between 1000 to 1500 jumping jacks per day as cardio to keep my heart rate and metabolism high.

My waist circumference at its widest point is currently 42 inches (down half an inch from two days ago) so that is likewise a positive sign. I am curious to see what the difference will be 28 days from now.

So far so good!

30 Days as a Vegetarian - Day 1

Today is the first day of a 30 day health experiment in which I will eat a vegetarian diet in an effort to rid myself of some extra pounds I put on during the xmas holidays. The last meat I will be having for 30 days is the pork chop I ate with vegetable pasta and corn last night.

Today so far I have had carrot sticks, mushroom soup, leftover vegetable pasta, grapes and later today I will be having vegetable soup, a strawberry smoothie and a caesar salad with artificial bacon flavoured bits of soy on the salad*.

* Seriously, the title of the product is "simulated bacon bits contains no meat". That is the official product name. When I read the ingredients they are soy flour, soybean oil, salt, colour, natural and artificial flavours and vitamins. They are basically bacon flavoured soy / salty vitamins. (The "natural flavours" is not a worry to me.)

Now if you are reading this and thinking "Wait, he cannot be a very good vegetarian if he is eating bacon bits on his salad!"

And you would be right.

I am not a vegetarian. Not even remotely close to being a "good vegetarian". Indeed some of vegan friends would be aghast at the amount of milk, eggs and other non-meat products I will be eating over the next 30 days, thus perhaps I should clarify what I will and will not be eating during this "30 Days as a Vegetarian" experiment.

#1. No meat. That includes no fish either, but I will be having eggs.

#2. No bread either, even though that is not a meat. I am cutting out bread in order to reduce carbs intake.

#3. I can have pasta, rice, couscous and cereal (eg. Shreddies or Vector cereal), but I will be trying to keep those at a lower amount of intake so I am not relying almost solely on them. So for example I can have croutons for my caesar salad.

#4. No sugary junk food or sugary treats, although "sea salt potato chips" ended up on the okay list.

#5. Chocolate is okay as a treat, but it has to be dark chocolate.

#6. Lots of berries.

#7. Lots of green vegetables.

#8. Lots of corn, peas, carrots.

#9. Potatoes, especially baked or mashed potatoes.

#10. Apples, tangerines and grapes as snacks.

#10. Yogurt, milk and ice cream are acceptable, and the yogurt / ice cream can be mixed with berries.

#11. I can have beer and wine as a treat or when hanging out socially. Yeah! (Although I do wish I had purchased low carb beer when I was last at the store.)

#12. Whey Protein (made from milk whey) will be added to my smoothies, as I will still be doing my weightlifting routine during this 30 day period.

In order to make sure I had enough vegetables I went to the grocery store and stocked up on lots of things. Everything from tangerines to potatoes to 2 different kinds of lettuce to broccoli to vegetable soup cans to apples to strawberries to chick peas to caesar salad croutons, etc.

The receipt on the left also includes my girlfriend's chicken and bagels, blue toilet pucks for the bathroom, dishwashing gloves, dishwashing soap and a few household items.

So minus those things, roughly $100 in vegetables, fruits, berries, cereal, pasta and so forth.

So I will have no shortage of things to eat over the next 30 days and I will not be starving.

For record keeping purposes it is now 3:40 PM on Thursday January 22nd. I finished a late lunch about an hour ago.

I have just weighed myself - 197.6 lbs.

And my waist circumference at its widest point is 42.5 inches. My hips at their widest point are 43 inches. My chest circumference (measured like a tailor would) is 44 inches. So my somewhat hourglass shape is 44-42.5-43.

With my height (6'2") my BMI (Body Mass Index) is 25.4. However BMI can be confusing as it ignores muscle mass and bone density, and as someone who exercises a lot, I don't consider myself to be overweight.

But I would like to have six pack abs. As a personal trainer people expect you to look to look like an Adonis. I do not. Yes, I exercise a lot, but I am a personal trainer and not a nutritionist. I may know more about nutrition than the average person, but I am in no way a specialist at it.

The measurements are on my side too, my waist is smaller than my hips and my chest, so most people would never think I have too many pounds around the middle. But it could be better in my opinion, especially since my long term goal is to have six pack abs.

So this will be 30 days of eating healthy vegetarian food and lots of exercise. I shall be posting my progress every 2-3 days. If you want to keep track of my progress just Subscribe using one of the various subscription options on the right.

If you have comments, have experience with "going vegetarian for 30 days" or something similar I welcome your comments in the comments section below.

If you want to subscribe to 30 Days as a Vegetarian these posts there are various subscription options on the above right.
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