According to Wikipedia, "Vegetarianism is the practice of a diet that excludes meat (including game and slaughter by-products), fish (including shellfish and other sea animals) and poultry." So strictly speaking, I just finished my first vegetarian meal. Wikipedia then goes on to indicate that eggs and dairy products are excluded in certain variations of vegetarianism, so my first meal fails that test.
I had leftover Broccoli Casserole, and leftover Sweet Potato Casserole. Both recipes involve eggs and butter, and the latter included milk. I'll post the recipes in a moment, but I wanted to comment on the humanitarian aspect of the meal. If I were a hippy wack-job only interested in being a vegetarian so that no animals get hurt, I would have to say that including eggs and dairy products in my diet was a necessity. Not only are no animals harmed in the process of harvesting eggs and milk, but it's actually beneficial to the animals which produce these items.
The chickens which produce the eggs we eat do so at least once a day. If we didn't eat these eggs, they would rot since there is no rooster to fertilize them. If there were a rooster, the sheer numbers of chicks that would consequently hatch would result in overpopulation, and eventually starvation, sickness, and possibly extinction.
Similarly, dairy cows produce a lot of milk. In nature, this milk would go to feed nurturing calves. However, if that milk is not taken from the mother, it will eventually lead to mastisis, which as I understand it can be very painful to the cow. So just as we have a symbiotic relationship with the chickens which produce our eggs, the cows which provide us milk benefit from the process.
So from a purely humanitarian point of view, I don't see an issue with including eggs and dairy in my diet. I have yet to determine whether this would affect weight loss. I want to believe that in small enough portions (let's say for example, 2 eggs in a casserole that serves 12), the nutritional value of the vitamins and proteins would outweigh the negative effects.
Ok, so here's my recipes:
2 packages frozen chopped broccoli
1 cup mayonnaise
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
2 beaten eggs
1 medium chopped onion
1 cup grated cheese
Peppridge Farm herbed breadcrumbs
Cook broccoli and drain. Mix all ingredients together and put in casserole. Top with buttered bread crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serves 8-10.
SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE
3 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 stick of butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 cup chopped pecans
1/3 stick butter
Mix all ingredients but topping and pour into greased casserole. Mix all the topping ingredients and sprinkle on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.