This was written on my one year vegetarian anniversary. Update to follow!
I’ve been a vegetarian for exactly a year and I feel incredible. Maybe I should start by explaining how I felt before I became a vegetarian. As of January 1, 2011 I was, by definition, slightly overweight, but for me “slightly overweight” looked like a tub of lard on a petite frame. I was suffering with cystic acne (at its worst in 2010) as I had been for the past 9 years despite dozens of treatments I had been prescribed. I felt tired, lazy, and always got those regular seasonal colds. I was the definition of average and although I was unhappy with my body as a whole I had no motivation to exercise or break my sugar and fat addiction.
I became a vegetarian cold turkey after watching an episode of Morgan Spurlock’s “30 Days” in which an avid hunter lives with a vegan activist family. I’ve always been an animal lover and when I was 12 I wanted to stop eating meat, but if that’s what the family was eating, I had to eat it too. So on I went, accepting that it’s normal and even healthy to eat meat. Although I respect everyone’s beliefs and practices, once in a while that inner PETA activist rages inside of me and I want to shout from the rooftops about it, but that’s not what this post is about. I know that I saved 70-95 animals this year and it makes me proud, but more importantly I had no idea that when I changed my eating habits a new world would be opened up for me.
Luckily I did enough research in the beginning to realize that the potato chips, grilled cheese, and ice cream version of a vegetarian diet was not what I should pursue. I began transitioning in with the mock meats like chik’n nuggets and fake ground beef along with pasta and lots of veggies. The more I learned, the healthier my diet became bringing in whole grains like quinoa, organic leafy green veggies, and beans (which I previously hated) while cutting out the overly processed mock meats.
Soon enough the pounds disappeared, 30 of them to be exact, and all of my pants fell off. Seriously, I still can’t figure out what size pants I wear. I felt energetic and it was strange when I realized I was always running around and I just would not shut up. When I first realized that I could not remember the last time I had a cystic pimple (gross, I know) it was a momentous day for me. I got through high school dances always working to find a dress that would cover up my back. I avoided tank tops, loaded my face with makeup on a daily basis, and suffered with the physical pain since the age of 13. While I still have occasional flair ups and now have to deal with the scars I am just so thrilled that changing my diet could fix what a handful of dermatologists couldn’t. Besides my physical appearance, I felt healthier. My digestion worked like a charm – word to the wise, your poo should not stink to high heavens. You have bacteria working in there that causes the smell, but when you become a vegetarian and no longer have slow-to-digest rotting meat in your intestines you will understand what I mean. Our bathroom smells like a tropical Aveda-filled heaven every day (okay, mostly every day). Also, I did not have a single cold in 2011. I remember 2 occasions where I felt that scratchy throat and thought to myself; oh no it’s finally coming for me! Within a day it was gone – my body fought it off. Through multiple occasions of colds running rampant at work I stayed strong.
Having fewer options when eating out forced me to expand my taste buds’ horizons. I am now a falafel/tabouli/tahini/hummus addict! Tofu cooked well is my best friend and beans are amazing – who knew? I’m lucky to have nearly endless, delicious options in Milwaukee. Comet Café is amazing (vegetarian or not). Everyone should eat there, just not on the nights that I go because that place is always packed! I’m not going to lie, sometimes I still want to stick my face in my mom’s chicken and dumpling soup, but then I realize that I have a recipe for potato dumpling soup at home that is just as delicious (minus the love my mom puts in …awww).
Bryce became a vegetarian in July and he is feeling just as healthy. He also keeps our bathroom stink free. Thanks for that, Bryce. Despite what many people think (Yeah, I’ve heard about you guys trying to make him eat meat when I’m gone!) he became a vegetarian weeks before he even told me. Even though he misses his Italian sausage he has remained a vegetarian and I am so proud of him.
I know some people think vegetarianism is a new trend that will soon fade away and even if that is the case, I will never go back. I would never give up the way I feel and the healthy future in store for me.
Anyone who is interested in cutting back or cutting out meat (I’m working on dairy, eggs, and sugar too) can always talk to me. I’ll be here for advice, recipes, and words of encouragement.
A great book especially for the ladies is Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr (Check out crazysexylife.com too*). It’s so inspirational in the young, not cheesy way and it gives you day to day advice on taking care of your whole body.
Also, I highly recommend watching:
Forks Over Knives (Netflix)
Food Inc. (Netflix) > Even if you don’t want to be a vegetarian this is a great documentary.
Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead (Netflix)
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”
*crazysexylife.com has become kriscarr.com, but the website is still wonderful and all of the old CSL posts are archived on the new site.