Going Vegetarian - How I Feel After 1 Month
How it all started...
About a month ago I decided that I was going to completely cut meat out of my diet. No chicken, no pork, no beef, no seafood.... no meat at all. I still consume eggs and dairy, but very limited, so technically I am what you would call a Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian.
I have struggled with my weight for practically my whole life, and continue to, which is why I decided that I needed to drastically change my diet. I know what some people are thinking, and yes as a vegetarian you can still eat like crap, but that isn't my intention. I like a nice mac and cheese as well as the next person, but if I ate like that what is the point?
So to answer your question, I decided to become vegetarian to be more aware of what I was putting in my body. I felt by being a vegetarian it would make me question what I am putting in my body before eating it and so far it has worked. I have tried to diet I don't know how many times and nothing has worked, but for me this change has helped. Also... am I the only one that gets a little freaked out by all the mystery meats we are constantly consuming on a daily basis?... gross. ;)
Now, I am not here to tell you that being a vegetarian or vegan is the best lifestyle and if you don't follow that lifestyle we can't be friends. My husband, my brother, my mom and dad, many of my friends all eat meat! I don't care what people do, but I do want people to be happy and healthy and that is why I chose this lifestyle and have continued to stick with it.
I would be lying to you if I told you that it is not challenging for me at times. I grew up in the Midwest for crying out loud! I grew up eating nothing but meat all my life. I did a lot of research on how people cut meat out of their diet. Some do it gradually, chicken first, then pork, then beef and so on. For me this was not an option. I know my personality and I knew the only way I could do it was to wake up one day and say, "I am no longer going to eat meat." And.... that is exactly what I did.
I crave the occasional burger or a nice tuna salad and... chicken... I really loved chicken. So for any of you who are thinking about going vegetarian or just changing your diet at all, the best advice I can give you that worked for me is TELL EVERYONE! For me being held accountable has helped me tremendously. That and the fact that I would be letting myself down as well. I told all my coworkers, my family and posted it on social media. That way when people came up to me and asked me about it I felt motivated all over again!
Eating out is another challenge of mine. Sure you can always get a salad, but come on, I am not going to spend $10 on a salad every time I go out to eat... what a waste! I could always get a pasta or stir fry and ask for only veggies but most restaurants will still charge you for the price that included the meat... rip off. :( Anh and I love going out and trying new restaurants, but the truth is, if you can avoiding eating out it is probably best. I know it stinks, but the plus side is that it will definitely save you money that you could spend on a gourmet vegetarian meal that you made yourself!!
I have only been a vegetarian for a month now, but I can tell you that I already feel better than I have in a long time.
I used to have the worst stomach aches. To the point that I used to not even want to eat because I knew that I was going to feel awful afterwards. I tried cutting out gluten at first and I didn't notice a real difference. Now that I have cut meat out I haven't had one stomach ache. I look forward to eating and I don't have to worry about getting sick after.
I have also noticed that I have more energy and I don't feel as bloated. When I finish eating I feel full, but not full to the point where I think I am going to be sick. When I ate meat I had the tendency to overeat constantly and I would regret it immediately after.
The most obvious benefit for me has been that I have a better appreciation for food now. Since I am eating more simple foods I don't really crave processed/sugary foods. I love to research different recipes and try them out... it's so exciting to discover new go-to meals!
Current Go-To Meals
1) Simple Vegetable Stir Fry with Rice
2) Salad with Avocado & Cilantro Dressing
3) Vegetable Curry
4) Black Bean Burgers
5) Vegetable Sushi Roll
6) Vegetable Lo Mein - Not the best for you, but we all have our days... don't act like you don't. ;)
7) Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad
8) Homemade Chipotle Bowls - Veggies Only
9) Quinoa Pasta with A Simple Tomato Sauce
10) Homemade Hummus - I eat this as a snack or eat it in veggie hummus wraps! :)
Let me know if you would like the recipe for any of these meals and I am happy to share!
Keep in mind, this is not what I eat on a regular basis. But these are some good ideas for everyone new to going vegetarian and are looking for some quick meals!!
Some Tips For YOU!!
1) Utilize multiple forms of social media! I often use YouTube to help find inspiration. I love watching the "What I Eat Videos". There are a bunch of vegan/vegetarian ones and it will give you so many ideas. Apart from that, Instagram is great for motivation and Pinterest is awesome for finding new recipes or giving you additional tips on going vegetarian.
2) Watch some documentaries and educate yourself about the lifestyle. I recently watched Forks Over Knives on Netflix and it was so eye-opening. It doesn't show any slaughtering of animals, so you don't have to worry about that. That is one of the things that I try to avoid... so I thought I would let you know in case you all have the same concerns I do. :)
One of my good friends... shout out to Brandee :)... watched Forks Over Knives and her and her husband have decided to go vegan for awhile, which is so amazing! Some people go vegan/vegetarian with the intention of just trying it out and they end up sticking with it, so you never know... if you try it you may end up really loving it!
Would you ever consider going vegan/vegetarian?
Thanks for taking the time to read my rant about going vegetarian. I hope this was somewhat helpful!