This past weekend my SO and I went on a mini weekend get away to one of our favorite spots in Tahoe, Resort at Squaw Creek. This was the first time I vacationed with my new vegetarian lifestyle change and it was a bit of an adjustment but also offered some good learning lessons!
We stopped at Panera for dinner on the way up there. (I was really craving Chipotle because I’ve heard there sofritas are pretty damn good and I was excited to try a burrito stuffed full of tofu, guac, beans, cheese and salsa BUT the line was out of the door so Panera it was.) My options were plentiful here! …If all I wanted was a salad. Which is normally fine except it was dinner and I was going to be in a car for the next 4 -5 hours so I wanted a little more. I settled on cheese tortellini and a chocolate chip cookie. Hello, hella carbs and ZERO veggies…
I did better as the weekend progressed, I promise.
The next day we went to Chili’s for lunch. I’m not usually the biggest fan of chain restaurants but I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised with lunch. I ordered the black bean burger (open faced) and it was amazing! There is a possibility my taste buds were swayed because I was still having some major guac cravings, which were satisfied on top of my BBburger, but most likely, it was just really good. And guacamole counts as a vegetable(fruit?) serving, right?!
Uh, maybe not…
Dinner was a little more difficult simply because the restaurant we went to in the resort didn’t have many vegetarian options. I think my only option was a portobello wrap and portobello is one mushroom I just cannot get behind… So? I turned to sides! (Side note: side dishes are the secret weapons of menus. Pair 2 or 3 together and you have yourself a meal when nothing on the menu looks good or you have dietary restrictions.) I ordered a side of veggies (I told you I got better;) and mini pretzels with a side of jalapeno cheese dip. (I realize there was probably a healthier alternative to the pretzels but I was on vacation soooo… haters gonna hate.) This was not only a pretty delicious vegetarian dinner for me but also a learning lesson on portion control.
Honestly, when my tiny bowl of veggies and like, 6 mini pretzels came out, in my head I quit this voyage right there. I was HUNGRY and this was all I got to eat for DINNER?! But, aside from trying to add more compassion to my diet, I’m also trying to be.more.pleasant. (blog coming soon….) so I didn’t complain about it and knew that if I was still hungry after dinner, there are always potato chips. Except I wasn’t hungry after I ate my food (and a few bites of my SO’s mash potatoes….). I was completely satisfied and didn’t overeat simply because there happened to be more food on my plate. Most of the time, serving sizes are out of control at restaurants but it’s what we get used to. Based on this, I initially felt I wasn’t getting enough food but this wasn’t further from the truth.
The next 2 days were a little different because, well, I ate meat. But this wasn’t like the nachos incident. I ate meat because Squaw Valley is this awesome place that only uses locally sourced meat. And while the lines and definitions for things like locally sourced and organic fed are still slightly blurry for me, I ate half of a steak on Saturday night and had bacon in my salad on Sunday. (BTW, bacon is not MY LIFE like most carnivores so my salad was just a salad with some bacon on it. Sorry bacon lovers!)
Overall, I learned the following things on my first Veg Voyage vacation:
- There are vegetarian options almost everywhere – even if they don’t seem apparent at first (sides! remember?)
- Meat does not have to be the default. Even if I go back to eating meat wherever, whenever, I now know that the black bean burger at Chili’s is really good and as satisfying as a cow burger
- It is possible to be satisfied on a lot less food than I am used to
- I still have A LOT to learn about compassionate eating and what things like locally sourced actually mean… Stay tuned!
PS. I will actually take pictures of my veg noms on my next vacation… This weekend in Nashville!