Food & Drinks Lifestyle

Things That Happened When I Stopped Eating Meat

And the lessons I’ve learned…

Since 2012, I’ve been eating less and less meat and I eventually stopped completely. Throughout this duration, a lot of changes happened. Physical changes, mental changes and how I see things.

Now, I don’t classify myself as a vegan because I’ll sometimes eat eggs, honey, and occasionally eat a baked good that contains dairy, but I would say I “eat vegan” majority of the time.

And then there’s the whole animal rights thing, and to be honest I don’t really care about it that much #sorrynotsorry. I don’t like that animals are bred and killed in factory farms. However, I’m aware that what I eat isn’t 100% locally grown either. Around the world, there are people slaving away in the hot sun planting and harvesting plant-based food for pennies. People are animals too, right? We can act high and mighty about being a good person for caring about xyz issue all we want, but at some point, we’re all doing something at the expense of someone or something. That’s life.

So if I don’t give two hoots about the animals, why did I stop eating them?

In college, I made some friends who coincidentally are vegetarians and vegans. I watched how they ate (in both a healthy and unhealthy way). I decided to eat more meat-free meals and then later went on to explore more about eating plant-based vegan via my the database in my school’s library plus Google, YouTube and Netflix University. I’ve watched documentaries like Fat Sick & Nearly DeadVegucatedForks Over Knives and Food Matters. I’ve listened to what some vegan YouTubers had to say and learned about different types of vegan eating: fully raw, raw till 4, gluten-free, starch solution, whole food plant-based, etc. I didn’t agree with everything but it all seemed interesting to me.

After digesting all of this information, in 2014, I did a week of eating fruits and vegetables (or fruit and vegetables until dinner). There were no immediate changes other than feeling very light from eating foods that digest quickly in the body, but I easily adjusted to having meals like this. When I started my off-season training for track and field, I felt amazing, probably because I could eat some fruit and run shortly after without feeling like I was going to vomit. From then on, I started experimenting more with meat-free cooking like I was a mad scientist and over time, I no longer craved meat. Honestly, I don’t even know my “veg-iversary,” because I’ve gone some time without realizing that I stopped eating meat. When I went back to eating meat, it didn’t taste that good anymore (and at some moments, my stomach wasn’t happy), so I decided to drop it altogether.

So here’s what happened and what I’ve learned since realizing I’m a somewhat accidental herbivore:

#1 I eat A LOT

#2 I expanded my horizons

#3 I just keep going and going

#4 Athletic performance

Nowadays, I don’t train like my collegiate days, but I’m still maintaining muscle mass and endurance through other types of exercising.

#5 Other people made changes to their diet

There were people who didn’t even know I was vegetarian because I didn’t make a public service announcement on Facebook to anyone. “Hi guys, I’m now a member of x diet camp,” just sounds weird to me. People only knew about my eating habits when they asked me (or they were observant). Leading by example has always been my preference when trying to (intentionally or unintentionally) prove a point to someone, and as a result, people in my life made changes (big and small) to their diets because of me.

My brother gave up meat for lent two years ago; he even sent me pictures of what he ate during this time. My meat-loving father gave up meat for a week, and will sometimes eat meat-free meals (even though he jokingly calls it “a poor man’s meal” haha). My mother eats meat-free a couple of days of the week. My cousin and her husband did a Daniel Fast for a month. My boyfriend eats mostly vegan like me. Some of my friends recommend vegan/vegan-friendly restaurants to me even though they themselves have not adopted a meat-free lifestyle.

I’m not an expert, but maybe some evangelical vegans would be taken more seriously if they applied the “show don’t tell” rule to their lives.

#6 Don’t listen to some of these YouTubers & influencers

If YouTube was your only exposure to vegans, then I can see why it would look ridiculous because some of them are so evangelical about their extreme vegan diets. It’s no surprise that some of them have health problems or are no longer vegan.

You don’t need to be fully raw, raw till 4, high carb low fat, starch-based, gluten-free, vegan keto/paleo or a junk foodie. There’s no need to overcomplicate it. YouTube is great for finding recipes and meal suggestions, but don’t take everything as gospel (and that goes for any way of eating).

Here are some level headed vegans YouTube where you can find good recipes/or find a cited information in their video description (and proof that you can be fit and without eating meat): HealthyCrazyCoolSweetPotatoSoulRachel AmaMicTheVegan, Unnatural VeganThriving On PlantsTess Begg, and Simnett Nutrition.

I don’t listen to many podcasts but I enjoy Thought For Food and No Meat Athlete.

#7 I don’t like the taste of meat

#8 A lot of mainstream diet rules are BS

Me: eats a bunch of bananas, mangos, sweetsop, dates

Them: carbs make you fat

Me: eats all the carbs (fruits and vegetables are carbs if you didn’t know) and loses weight

Them: Adult women should eat about 2000 calories a day

Me: Eats nearly double

I’m not saying you have to eat like me, but a lot of information that people regurgitate isn’t exactly truthful. There’s no one size fits all diet. The ideal way of eating depends on your lifestyle, environment, and genetics (which may or may not include animals).

#9 Supplementing doesn’t necessarily mean that your diet is bad.

Since we have little control over our food a lot of key nutrients have been compromised (in both animal and plant-based foods). This is especially true in the United States. I get bloodwork done every year (So far, all good). When I remember, I take a multivitamin.

It’s best for everyone to have a doctor check your levels and supplement and/or make dietary adjustments accordingly.

#10 My life stayed the same

Source : Medium

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