VEGETARIAN WHO?!

I know I have talked about this before (maybe a little more than I should) but now that I’m getting close to some real holiday celebrations, I might as well write something about it again.
About three months (?) ago, I decided to get into something I never thought I’d ever get myself into. I’ve always been an absolute carnivore and it’s always been a struggle to eat vegetables. But having a small part of me that is always curious over a lot of things which leads me to try different stuff on the most random times, I ended up deciding on getting myself into vegetarianism.

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If you’ve been with me since I started the journey, you should know how days went and how much of a struggle the first few days have been. I must admit that right now, this whole system’s not too difficult for me anymore. Yes, there are days when I find it hard to find something to eat but I have this new found excitement to find good food without meat (exploring different food places is super fun too). BUT as exciting as the last few months have been, I know I cannot forgive myself if I let the holidays pass without enjoying the celebrations completely. And honestly, I don’t think I would enjoy the celebrations to the fullest if I would continue depriving myself of meat.

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So with all the holiday dinners, vacations and (possibly) family reunions that are lined up for the weeks ahead, I just know that I need to allow myself to eat meat again. But that does not go without any challenge at all. The challenge for me would be to control the amount of food I’ll be taking in. I have lost a good amount of weight already (blog for that coming soon) so I need to make sure that I don’t gain them back just because I allowed myself to eat meat for a couple of weeks. I don’t know how the next few weeks would go but you can bet that I cannot wait to enjoy the celebrations with all the meat already. I’ll think about how I’ll transition back to vegetarianism (or if I would) once the celebrations are all over. I honestly can’t be bothered to think about right now.

So for the next three (?) weeks ahead, I’ll try my best to write about how the festivities would go for me. Hopefully, I’ll get to sneak in some exciting food features in between too! Right now, I need to start calming myself down because my carnivorous self is just so ready to be unleashed!

 

GIFs are from giphy.com

 

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4 MUST TRY MEAT-FREE DISHES!

Tonight, I am celebrating my first month of being vegetarian.

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Well, it wasn’t the easiest especially for an absolute carnivore like me. I could literally devour a dozen pieces of fried chicken in one sitting (ask my friends who once gave me a bucket of KFC fried chicken as their birthday gift for me). I may have a lot of inconsistencies as well when it comes to my eating habits but I am confident enough to say that I managed to stay within the whole vegetarian system for 31 days now. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? 31 FREAKING DAYS!

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Through those first 31 days of being vegetarian, I got to eat in different places I otherwise would not have eaten at. Among all the foods I got to try, there were absolute standouts. These standouts definitely made my experience less of a struggle and more of a memorable experience for me. So in this post, I’m sharing 4 of my most favorite vegetarian-friendly dishes which I have tried over the last few weeks (I’ll most likely drool while writing this…). 

Shitake Mushroom and Malunggay Burger (The Urban Farm)

I came in their place in BF Parañaque with absolutely no expectations. It was quiet when I got there and I had the place all for myself when I ate. Their menu has some pretty good choices but somehow, I decided to try their burger as soon as I saw it.

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They serve their burger with, what seemed like, sweet potato chips. It was crisp and the sweetness of the sweet potato was definitely coming through (Tip: add a little sprinkle of salt). The star of the show isn’t their chips though– it’s their burger. The patty’s sandwiched in a simple bun with oats on top, lettuce, raw onions (which I took out) and puréed tomatoes. It was a rather straightforward combination, which gives a more distinguishable focus on the bun itself. If you eat the burger without knowing what it was, you’ll definitely find it difficult to distinguish what it’s made of. It maybe a little dry but that’s totally understandable for me. What I love most about it is the fact that even with the prominence of the rest of the ingredients, the patty still holds on its own. You definitely would recognize that the patty is there. It’s not at all bland, maybe not as meaty as regular patties (TOTALLY JUSTIFIABLE) and works so well with everything that’s on the plate (IT’S NOT GREASY TOO)! It was a really great way to start my vegetarian journey.

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The Urban Farm Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Agedashi Tofu (Kenji Tei Ramen House)

I’ll admit: I found it really hard to decide which of the two Agedashi Tofus that I have tried is better. But, I am settling with Kenji Tei’s.

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I’ll have to give it to the tofu itself. I am not sure what type of tofu they used for this because I don’t have any prior experience with different types of tofus. But, if I will have to put my guess on something, I’ll guess that they used silken tofu (WILD GUESS). It definitely tasted like that soy they use in taho, which made it feel weird when I first bit on it. It was a little sweet with distinguishable hints of that soy taste and is very much unlike the regular tofus I normally get from local markets. I also love the fact that the breading wasn’t overwhelming at all. It was still very light and the breading was enough to add a good texture to it. It pairs well with the lightness of their donburi sauce as well. I would have definitely finished the entire serving of it if I didn’t order their Yakisoba with it…

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Mazesoba (Uma Uma Ramen)

I have, for the longest time, shared articles about dishes that are rated by other food enthusiasts. But, I never actually put an effort to visit the places or try the foods they wrote about. Uma Uma was an exception. I guess I read the article about their Mazesoba at the best possible time. I was near the place, I didn’t have anything to blog about yet and I was hungry. So I literally hunted it down!

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On the article I read, they wrote about 7 of the best ramens there is in Singapore and there it was, in all its glory, Uma Uma’s Mazesoba. I read about it and saw that it didn’t have actual meat on it. My only concern was, their broth might be meat-based like how it normally is for ramens, which would be a total deal breaker. Luckily, they didn’t serve it with broth. It was a dry ramen (or whatever that’s called, educate me please) that takes most of its sauce from the runny yolk of the onsen egg. No, I haven’t tried many kinds of ramen yet. Neither have I tried a legit bowl of ramen straight from Japan (BUT HOPEFULLY SOON) but their Mazesoba is by far the one of the best ramens I have tried. The ingredients they served it with worked well together. By paper, it seemed a little too simple but eating everything together was a complete surprise. I particularly love the kick their chili oil adds. It was a good hit.

Anyone would definitely not miss the depth ramen broths’ provide because of how well everything works. Maybe next time I’ll pay for additional soba and onsen eggs…

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Truffle Mac and Cheese (Mama Lou’s Italian Kitchen)

I liked it so much that I could still literally taste it in my head. And I know, I know that it’s probably because truffle’s becoming mainstream lately so I’m probably just too overwhelmed but the thing is… truffle (oil) is one of those ingredients that you need to know how much to put because it could make or break your dish. They finished their mac and cheese with the right amount of truffle oil that did not sacrifice the taste of the pasta on its own at all. I honestly believe that even without the addition of truffle oil, I’d still consider it one of the better mac and cheese plates I have tried.

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Nope, I haven’t tried many mac and cheese in my life yet so there isn’t much to compare it with but I am very bias with dishes that I couldn’t cook myself. I know it’s just basic béchamel sauce with a mix of different cheeses and sometimes finished off with some ground nutmeg so why can’t I cook it myself, right?! See… cheeses are hella expensive here in the Philippines so there’s no way I’ll get to cook my own mac and cheese on a regular day basis (I’ll probably kill more than a thousand pesos worth of cheese to cook a serving alone). So if I were to crave for one, I’d definitely go back to Mama Lou’s and have an order of it again! Let me know if you tried better ones, I’ll make sure to try them when I can!

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It’s been nothing but pure fun. Again, it’s been difficult and I am still struggling until now (it doesn’t help to watch samgyeopsal or mukbang videos late at night). But, I am determined to keep going. I have mentioned over and over again that I am planning to take a break with my diet when I leave the country over the holidays but for now I’m still really motivated to keep going! Hope ya’ll stick with me through this!

Note: Commentaries are written as a food enthusiast and as a self-taught cook. GIFs are from giphy.com and photos are all taken by yours truly. Also, make sure to ask the restaurants’ crews if your food is actually meat free!

If you wish to contact me, feel free to check my contact details on the Contact tab.

 

Day 15 – I AM NOT LOSING WEIGHT!

I’m skipping the usual “what I ate today” kind of post to talk about how emotional damaging this is. But first, just to put things in perspective, I did put myself into this whole vegetarian system without any expectations. I didn’t know if I will lose weight, if I can actually do it or if it will affect my health and if it will manifest physically. I got into this system just really wanting to try out which may be the reason why I did not consult anyone before starting it. It was a quick decision, no complicated brainstorming. I thought about it, decided I’d do it then read about important facts the day after.

 

So now, I want to talk about how the past 2 weeks have been. It was not as difficult as I thought it would be. Although, maybe I should consider the fact that I have been eating out most of the time which, may also be the reason why I am not losing weight. Well I have, but I am just gaining them back so essentially, I’m just trickling in at 183 to 186 lbs depending on when I weigh. It feels weird though because I have always based my progress on how I personally feel like when I decided to go on a diet again which was two months ago (I think), I was feeling super fat. Like feeling really depressed and annoyed of my body. But over the last few days, I started feeling much lighter and my stomach has not been bulging as much as it did two weeks ago. So if I am to based my progress merely on how I feel, I’d daresay that I believe I have lost at least 5 lbs by now already. But my weighing scale says otherwise which is making me really depressed. Hence, my decision of trying intermittent fasting (AGAIN) WHILE on a vegetarian diet. I will not talk about how this whole intermittent fasting works simply because I am not credible enough to be writing stuff about it (as if I am for vegetarianism lol). But basically, it’s compressing your daily calorie allowance to a particular portion of the day. So let’s say you’re on intermittent fasting for 16 hours, you can consume your daily calorie allowance for 8 consecutive hours of the day.

 

Again, this is another abrupt decision. I do not know how this will go and neither do I know if it will even help at all (although it did help me lose good amount of weight the first time I tried it, only to stop several weeks after…). All I know is I want to do it, so I am. I mean, it’s always fun to get through different changes right? I may also have to start eating out less and maximize the good stuff we just bought earlier so I can control what goes on my food more and of course, so I can save better. Maybe I can also start posting new categories soon enough. Sounds fun, huh?

 

So yeah, I am pushing through this and fighting through whatever lies ahead. Plus, I realized that the stress of blogging is actually really fun (–it’s eating me up).

Day 5 – BEING VEGETARIAN WILL MAKE ME FAT!

Apparently, vegetarian as a diet does not fit our genes well. Last night, while telling my brother about the meals I had at Mama Lou’s, he specifically told me that based on the research he made (GANERN!), vegetarian does not fit our genes well. Meaning, I might not (he was pretty sure though) lose as much as I expect. But I didn’t want to quit on this just yet. It’s too early. I’m hanging onto the small chance that this might affect me, my weight and my health pretty well in the long run. I also want to be able to feel firsthand how cutting on meat and focusing on vegetables for my diet would change my body externally and internally. So I did make it clear that I just want to try this out. He budged and just reminded me that it’s the starch that I am consuming that is making me fat and not the proteins I am taking. Hence, my decision to lessen my consumption of pastas and breads as much as I can and focus more on other sources like sweet potatoes.

So there’s that.

Today, we celebrated my lola’s 87th birthday. Pretty old huh? She is still really strong aside from her poor hearing. The set-up was as straightforward as it could possibly get. They brought in different dishes which we served along with our share. I prepared Barbeque Ribs along with my sister’s boyfriend’s Poached Fish and Beef Stroganoff plus some of the stuff we got from Tagaytay (we sliced the mini tarts to quarters HAHA). I started cooking the pork ribs last night but I already seasoned it with garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, brown sugar and our favorite barbeque sauce just before we left for our Tagaytay trip last Friday. Last night, I cooked it at 250 degrees Fahrenheit almost 5 hours so all I had to do earlier was to baste it with hickory barbeque sauce for several times and broil it until the sauce’s all caramelized. It’s funny though that I had to mix in some oil and Sriracha Sauce with the remaining barbeque sauce towards the end just so I can baste the last batch completely so some turned out spicier than the rest. To compensate the lack of barbeque for some of the ribs, I mixed sour cream, garlic, garlic powder, salt, pepper, mayonnaise, non-fat milk and some calamansi juice for a basic garlic sauce. I’d daresay they totally loved it as much as they liked my sister’s boyfriend’s dishes! It was pretty fun although I had to control myself from trying out our handa. Luckily, one of my tita brought some buttered baby potatoes and mushroom so I got to eat something aside from the make-shift crostini I made with Fita and some of the remaining glazed vegetables! Several hours after we served lunch, we sent out another set of dishes which were composed mostly of Filipino favorites. Super thankful that Amber’s didn’t put any meat (aside from the shrimp meat) on their Pancit Malabon so I got to eat some good portions of it which I partnered with few slices of puto.

I am proud of myself for being able to control myself amid all the food choices I had earlier. I think, I’m actually getting into the system. It’s still pretty difficult and it’s understandable to crave for some meat but I know that as soon as I get myself used to this whole system, craving wouldn’t be as frequent anymore. Of course, I’ll take into consideration what my brother told me and reminded me about. Again, I am not sure how this will go for me. Maybe he is right that this will not affect me significantly but I still want to try. I am loving the experience. Hopefully, it pays well and I am hoping that after my first week or second week I’ll be adjusted enough to start working out and add in some physical work (and sana talaga, makabawas man lang sa timbang kahit paunti-unti). Always hoping for the best! I know hard work and self-discipline could only pay well!