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The Flexitarian Files

‘Food’ Category

  1. Eliminate This!

    January 13, 2018 by betaman

    elimination diet


    Today is the first day of the rest of my life. We are now on Day One of The Elimination Diet. Detox Day.

    elimination dietWe are basically eliminating everything from our diet. No meat, no problem – it’s been nearly five years now since I’ve enjoyed that. But no dairy, no grains, no gluten, no nuts, no coffee, no alcohol! Basically, nothing fun. We will eat fast on only vegetable and fruit smoothies and soups for two days. Then for a few weeks we will be eating a very limited diet keeping track of what we eat, when, and how we feel.

    Why? The wife needs to rule out any specific foods as contributing to her high blood pressure. We’ll do that by eliminating everything from our diet then introducing foods back one at a time and judging any reactions.

    But why am I  doing it? Good question. Because I support everything she does and want her to succeed with this thing, which would be difficult if I’m still drinking cocktails, chomping on nuts and and eating cheese, eggs, fish, mmmm…

    I’ll also use this as a way to identify any foods that might be adversely affecting me. Most importantly, I plan to use this program as a way to adapt new portion control for all my meals. After speaking with some super seniors, and asking them about their diets, one common thread was portion control. I like to eat, a lot, and we have a tendency to load up our plates enjoying a big meal. After basically not eating for a month, it should be no problem adjusting the amount of food we eat to feel satisfied.

    What can we eat?

    There are long lists of yes and no foods for each phase of the elimination. Thank god detox is only two days. I’m leaving the meal planning to the wife, but we have already discovered some favorite foods – sweet potato kale tacos, tropical green smoothies, homemade gluten free tortillas…can’t wait to discover more! Really.

    I clearly remember the last meat meal I made myself before going veg. I prepared sweet and sour pork with homemade sauce. The night before this first detox phase, I found myself going through the cabinets eliminating everything we won’t be eating for a while, if ever again. I stood dipping store-bought croutons in the remaining ranch dressing. The next morning, we discovered we started a week early. We had seven more days to ween off all the bad goodness. Good thing, since we received a package from my sister filled with Christmas cookies. Once again, we scoured the house for anything left that might tempt us.

    We drank every last drop of alcohol. We ate all the pasta, packed away ant grains, and started preparing foods from the Yes list. Getting rid of everything on the No side. This head start has helped. The transition has pretty easy, considering we haven’t had any eggs or cheese for a couple weeks now. Mmmm…cheese.

    So far so good. Only 42± more hours in phase one.

  2. No Beef for Me in Beef Country

    August 17, 2015 by betaman

    More than two years since my last post here. No, that does mean I’m no longer vegetarian flexitarian.

    While the wife says I am officially veg by default by now, I stand by my flex beliefs. I still have not eaten meat in any real sense since I started this blog. But who can resist a few bacon crumbles, when you ask for them on the side of your potato skins (so the dog can enjoy them)?

    Wyoming is Beef Country

    Literally, you’ll see that on signs all along the highway. So big surprise that Buck’s was all out of the only non-meat entree on their menu. Without the fried Walleye, we opted for a cheesy artichoke dip, onion rings, and the skins, with bacon on the side.


    Oh and a side salad, if you consider shredded iceberg lettuce and a cucumber slice an actual salad.


    But what do you expect in Beef Country?


    For the record: the food was awesome and the service was great. I’ve just fulfilled my cheese and fried food quota for the foreseeable future…

  3. Accidental Ingestion Is Not Cheating!

    June 12, 2013 by betaman

    Oh Happy Day.

    The long-time vegetarian wife has informed me that it doesn’t count if you accidentally ingest a small piece of meat. I suppose it would be hard to call half a hamburger an accident, but I’m happy to know I don’t have to meticulously sort through the baked beans to remove every last morsel of bacon.

    What constitutes an accident? I am proud to say that I am picking out the obvious bacon chunks from the beans served at burger night. But I have to admit, a couple tidbits have made it on to the fork. Oops.

    baked beans with bacon

    Just call me the Bean Boy.

    Bring on the Dim Sum! Speaking of which… way back when I fist started this little dietary experiment, that same wife brought home a pork bun for me out of habit when she wanted to surprise me with a Dim Sum treat for lunch. Yes, I picked out the juicy bits and ate the dough! had I only known about this accident rule…

    Dim sum, combo pizza, jambalaya—these are all just accidents waiting to happen.

  4. Small Challenges Are The Hardest

    May 5, 2013 by betaman

    It would be much easier to turn away from a large steaming piece of pink Prime Rib with au jus, surrounded by garlic mashed potatoes with horseradish and sour cream than the last bite of crispy burnt ends on the plate.

    Saying no to an obvious indulgence is a piece of cake. Reaching for that last tidbit of fajita meat at the taco bar party requires serious willpower, or a slap back with the other hand. Why is that?

    A rack of ribs calling my name is obviously against the rules I have made for myself as a self-proclaimed flexitarian. A small piece of bacon whispering “eat me” when nobody is watching is a different story.

    Ultimately, all it takes to resist temptation is to remind myself why I’m doing this.

  5. Oh no, not the Duck!

    April 8, 2013 by betaman

    As I’ve mentioned previously, eating out as a vegetarian can be a challenge. This is especially true when sharing meals family style. Chinese or Thai food offer plenty of vegetarian and seafood options, all quite tasty indeed. But what’s a flexitarian meat lover to do when his meat loving friend orders the delectable duck dish, and everyone is sharing?

    I couldn’t help myself, I had to taste the sauce and veggies cooked with the yummy looking, succulent smelling crispy duck pieces. It took all my will power not to scoop up a tiny bit of the duck, just for a taste. Based on the mushroom and onion I did taste, it must have been delicious. And I did enjoy my spicy mussels, veggies in peanut sauce and Pad Thai. But come, we’re talking duck here!

    Duck a l’Orange has always been a favorite dish of mine. Chinese Crispy Duck another. The Thai dish my dinner guests never realized I was drooling over would have been a first. It may very well have been my last chance too. My mouth still waters thinking about it. [wipes chin]

    Another temptation test passed, just not so easily this time. Next time I dine out with friends, nobody better order rabbit!

    Peking Duck in Chinatown, San Francisco

    Peking Duck in Chinatown, San Francisco

  6. No Tri Tip Samples This Year

    March 21, 2013 by betaman

    The Borrego Springs farmers market is filled with culinary delights. Ya gotta love the Hummus guy’s carnival barker pitch style, even if you don’t care for their many hummus flavors, which are all good! You’ll find huge, juicy grapefruit and delectably odd cherimoya fruit.

    I’m just glad that this time, the local meat rancher man did not have his grill fired up. Had he been carving up the sweet smelling grass fed Tri Tip as he has in past years, my mouth would have been watering even more than it was just by looking at his signage. Wyatt is bummed he missed out too!

  7. Corned tofu does not cut it

    March 17, 2013 by betaman

    Not that I would know… I haven’t actually looked for any Tofurky brand corned beef substitute, not that I would.

    Too bad I decided to become vegetarian just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. Especially considering over the past few years I’ve finally got the hang of preparing my own corned beef and cabbage, with carrots and potatoes. As it turns out, it’s really not that hard to boil a big hunk of meat all day and the results are surprisingly scrumptious. I can’t image what would happen to a block of tofu boiled for a few hours!

    What I missed most, however, was a big juicy Rueben on marbled rye – simply not the same with meatless deli slices. Maybe I should just wait for Hogmanay or Loaf Mass Day and celebrate that Scottish sliver of my heritage with some yummy vegetarian haggis!

    Vegetarian Haggis

    Or, just maybe… if I’m still enjoying my flexitarian diet next year, I’ll try this vegan corned beef sandwich recipe.

  8. Passing on the Pot Roast

    March 11, 2013 by betaman

    Breaking the veggie news to an old friend who loves to cook for you can be difficult. Especially if you love her pot roast!

    We visited an old friend whose cooking I always thoroughly enjoyed and had to break the news that I’m now vegetarian. That was one of the hardest tests so far during this little flexitarian experiment of mine. We’ve shared many good meals in the past. She really enjoyed cooking for me, and I certainly enjoyed eating them! Her pot roast, the ribs, so many perfectly prepared steaks…

    I didn’t want to break her heart by not eating something special she prepared just for me, and I’m not exactly certain I wouldn’t have. So it was only fair to let her know. We had a wonderful time catching up, and and enjoyed a great meal, but the whole time, I was thinking about the prime rib she used to roast, or the steak and lobster we had one New Year’s eve.

    Don’t get me wrong, her vegetarian meal was delicious. And meant a lot to me that she obviously went out of her comfort zone preparing it. She kept apologizing and questioning herself. I, however, went beyond my comfort zone by eating too much of it! Perhaps I was trying to compensate for not having any tasty burnt ends to pick out of the roasting pan. Or maybe I was reminiscing over all those meals of yore and how I would always leave her house stuffed.

    I must say, if I’m going to feel stuffed I would rather it be on a tasty meat dish. But I can also say that my discomfort did not continue into the next day, as too much meat has done to me in the past.

  9. The Hamburger Dilemma

    March 3, 2013 by betaman

    So many meatballs… sigh. Too bad they weren’t my wheatballs.

    Wimpy Burger RegretThe pile of big meatballs in the leftover spaghetti the other day looked rather appealing, but not enough to make me break my flexitarian promise. I’ve never used a recipe to make wheatballs, instead wingin’ it each time with TVP, some flour, spices and a bit o’ honey – from a jar, not the bar.

    As for all the burgers last night, that was a bit of a challenge. Call it practice for this summer when I’ll be working the grill serving up hundreds of Charbroiled Angus burgers every Friday at the ranch. My veggie burger was just fine thanks, and I’m ready for any ridicule I may get.

    Except for very rare cases (pun intended) what makes a good burger is the quality of he fixins. If I can find good veggie patties back in the mountains, I may just settle for a big toasted bun with fresh lettuce, ripe tomato, sweet onion, and plenty of mayo with a mess o’ beans. Mmmmm… guess I’ll be picking out the bacon!

    Note to Self: Add to Reading List…

    The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet

    Veggie Burgers Every Which Way

    Vegetarian Burgers

  10. Eating out as a vegetarian

    February 26, 2013 by betaman

    Visiting friends and dining out can be a challenge as a vegetarian. Especially when some of those friends will wave a warm piece of bacon under your nose like the Pusherman. Other friends will get it and simply prepare a wonderful root vegetable terrine and salad without asking any questions.

    It’s imperative, however, to inform your host when your visit includes any meals. It’s only fair, and no feelings will be hurt.

    When it comes to dining out, the choice is up to you but your options are limited, especially when it comes to good old fashioned American diner food. It’s hard to limit ourselves when presented with so many scrumptious options, but that is what we must do since restaurant owners are clearly going to cater to the masses.

    The good news? There are actually restaurants out there that make their biscuits and gravy without sausage in the gravy. Finding them is the hard part.