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How Going Veggie Changed My Life

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How I Became a “Pesca-tarian”

Growing up I was the biggest meat eater you’d ever meet.  Cheeseburgers were a large part of my diet, as a matter of fact my favorite after school “snack” was a McDonald’s quarter pounder cheeseburger and my go-to lunch was Campbell’s Chunky steak and potato soup.  I remember my high school sweetheart’s sister being a vegetarian so there wasn’t a whole lot of meat being cooked at his house.  I was so worried about him “not getting enough protein” that I would sneak him over hamburger helper to “bulk” him up.

In my junior year of college I really got into documentaries and that’s when I came across one called “Food Inc”.  I remember when I watched it I sobbed the entire time, I couldn’t believe how horrible animals are treated and my eyes were opened to how factory farming was not only harming the environment but also making people extremely sick.  That very next day I decided to go pescatarian (a vegetarian who eats fish).

It wasn’t easy giving up meat and at times my willpower was tested, but I stuck with it because this cause became very important to me.  After a year of being completely meat free I had a night where I completely broke down – I cried to my boyfriend about BADLY wanting a burger, I felt conflicted between wanting to stick to my guns and missing what was once a VERY big part of my diet.  So after that day I decided that once a year I would allow myself one burger a year to keep my sanity but I stuck with the diet for the other 364 days out of the year.

The Turning Point

I lived this pescatarian lifestyle happily for a little more than 4 years when I started feeling a lot of pressure from others to try eating meat again.  Being told that I could become stronger and healthier by adding it back into my diet made me question if what I was doing was really best for me.  So I decided for a month I would give eating meat again a go – as long as it was organic and grass fed.  During that month I experienced A LOT of changes, some good and some bad.

While I noticed my hair was growing much faster – so was my waistline.  Even though I wasn’t eating much more I gained about 7lbs within the short amount of time that I added meat back into my diet.  What was the most noticeable difference was my skin… I have never been one to really break out but the moment I started eating meat regularly my entire face seemed to become a war zone.  Every day I woke up with a new zit and no matter how many face masks or acne creams I used I couldn’t seem to resolve the problem.

So after a month of eating meat I decided to once again eliminate it and see If this would resolve some of the issues I was experiencing.   In a matter of a week I noticed some DRASTIC changes.  My weight begun to go back down, my energy levels are much higher and my skin has completely cleared!  While eating meat for that short amount of time made meals much more convenient I have to say that the way I feel now is worth the hard work.

Now not everyone should adapt a vegetarian lifestyle, i’m a big believer in bio-individuality meaning I don’t think there is one diet for everyone.  BUT I do think that giving vegetarianism a try or participating in meatless Monday could benefit many and so I want to share with you some of the benefits of eating less meat in your diet.

Top 6 Benefits of Going Veggie:

1.Your mood will improve. Research suggests that vegetarians are happier than meat eaters, vegetarians had lower scores on depression tests even!

2.Save money. A vegetarian diet is more budget friendly since meat tends to be more expensive!

3.Fight diseases. Data has shown vegetarians suffer less disease caused by a modern Western diet (e.g., coronary heart disease, hypertension, obesity, type 2 diabetes, diet-related cancers, diverticulitis, constipation, and gall stones, among several others2)

4.Lose weight. Vegetarians typically weigh less since they are consuming fewer calories from meat and more calories in the form of grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits.

5.Live longer. Vegetarians have been found to live longer, healthier life in comparison to those who eat meat.

6.Supporting animal rights and decreasing your carbon foot print. A plant based diet requires less energy and when you aren’t eating meat you’ve saving an animals life.

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Many people fear going vegetarian or vegan because they don’t think they will be able to get enough protein in their diet BUT it is completely possible to abstain from meat and still consume enough protein to get lean and muscular.  Here is a great list of vegetarian/vegan proteins you can eat so you don’t have to worry about not fueling your body with the nutrients it needs BUT if you do go completely vegan or vegetarian it is very important that you take a B12 supplement to ensure your body stays healthy and happy.

 

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1 Comment »

  1. I’m so happy you posted this! I have been a pescatarian since late November and most people in the fitness world are very anti plant based diets. They say that soy and tempeh make you grow fat, not muscles.

    I made the choice to not eat meat for similar reasons as you, Food Inc and documentaries about what they typical American diet does to our bodies made me sick to my stomach. I don’t miss meat most of the time, but I worry that I need it. You just made me feel so much better.

    Thank you!

    Comment by Meghan — May 19, 2015 @ 7:01 pm

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