Lent has come and gone. For the second year in a row Anne and I gave up meat for Lent. We are not Catholic but I guess being ultra runners we love a good challenge. My twelve year old step-daughter on the other hand is not ready for these types of contests. For the second year in a row I struggled to make it all forty days with no animal proteins.
I’m pretty good at setting running goals and achieving most of them. However I must admit when it comes to my diet I’m not as strong and regimented as I am with my running plan. I don’t eat meat with every meal but I have found it surprisingly tough to find restaurants in our area that offer a variety of vegetarian entrees. Our family likes to eat out a lot and there in lies a part of the struggle. A lot of the places I like to eat don’t offer many vegetarian choices, maybe one or two at best. Another pre-requisite for restaurants we frequent is that they must have a good beer selection, which throws another wrench into finding good vegetarian dishes. Still one would think Asheville would have this covered.
Anne and I announced our intentions back in February at the dinner table and asked our daughter Emma to join us, knowing full well she was not going to take the bait. She looked at us as if this plan was crazier than discussing our next ultra. Emma matter-of-factly stated that “my body and Italian digestive system need meat”. This made sense to me as I nodded in approval. I was going to mention something about being Scandinavian and that this idea was probably good for the both of us. Anne, somehow knowing what I was about to say, was staring me down with a silent order to keep my mouth shut. So I did, knowing that I had to be a good role model, suck it up, and explain the benefits of a vegetarian diet to Emma.
My body really responded well to eating vegetarian meals. As each day passed I felt healthier in general and things were “flowing” much better than ever. This becomes more important the older I get (TMI?). I had my weak moments for sure where I thought I was not going to make it but I had to finish the challenge not only for myself but to show Emma it could be done. I doubt she ever really cared but these thoughts helped forge me onward towards the end of my forty day quest.
A week or two after Lent I’m actually eating less meat than before I went rogue. Hopefully I can keep it up but like I said my weak point is my diet. We just need a good brew pub around here that serves mostly vegetarian entrees and a nice greenway leading to the front door, problem solved!