2013: Veg Update

I wrote the Veg post as 2012 was beginning and I must say that everything I wrote still holds up over a year later.  As we leave Winter (and enter Spring…Yaaay!), I’ve been noticing that I still have not had any cold symptoms for longer than a day. I had a scratchy throat and headache one day about a month ago, but I took care of myself and I’ve avoided numerous bouts of the flu and colds in my office.
I got a little naughty in 2012 with too much sugar and dairy, but so far 2013 has been a turnaround for me with that. A wedding 6 months away is good motivation to keep my skin clear and get my body a little more fit (my dress is definitely a curve-hugger).
Something I want to add…
I have met and spoken with so many people since I originally wrote my anniversary post that have been incredibly encouraging and curious about my lifestyle. A couple of them have even become vegetarians, cut back on meat, or added juicing to their diet.
I’m going to take this opportunity to address a few things people have asked me on numerous occasions.
1.     No, I don’t get bored of the food I eat. Mostly because I eat a wider variety of food now than I ever did before. I’ve inherited some pretty good cooking skills (thanks mom and grandma!) so I’ve been able to adapt countless recipes to be meat free and still delicious.  My fiancé enjoys them anyway. We are lucky to live in a time where most restaurants offer vegetarian options and the variety of meals I make at home is endless. It’s no longer difficult to eat at a restaurant or find vegetarian recipes like it was for my grandma (a vegan way before it was cool).
 
 
Tell me that vegan dinner doesn’t look delicious!
 
 
2.     “I could totally be a vegetarian, but I just can’t not eat chicken!” I know, you really like chicken. This is something that (mainly women) say to me constantly. Seriously, every time someone asks me about being a vegetarian they say they just really like chicken and that it’s the only thing that they don’t think they could give up (this happens at least once a month, no joke). I actually find it really adorable and completely understandable because I 100% felt the same way. I mean, chicken was my food! I ordered chicken at every restaurant and it was my go-to dinner. As I mentioned in my original post, I started out with eating the fake “chik’n” as a replacement and it really did help carry me through. It’s not the same, but its close enough to get you over the craving. If you are committed to going meat free, you can cut the chicken. I swear it’s easier than you think. If vegetarianism is something you have thought about and want in your life then I promise you are strong enough to make it work. If it’s just not a priority for you, that’s cool too, thanks for reading my post anyway.
3.     “Oh you must just hate hunters.” No, actually, I respect them. Most hunters that I know eat the meat that they have hunted and not much else. There is a big disconnect between humans and where our food comes from. I find that hunters have a greater respect for what they are eating. The animals that your dinner came from experienced far more inhumane treatment in a factory farm than the animals that were hunted.
4.     Do you eat shrimp? Do you eat mushrooms? Do you eat chicken? I don’t eat animals. I know that is a difficult definition for some people. A lot of vegetarians say they don’t eat anything with a face. Maybe it’s better to say I don’t eat something that was born, but then will people not count “hatching” as being born? I’ve had people say, well you don’t eat living things, right? It’s more like the opposite actually, I don’t eat dead things. The plants that I eat are still “living”. Everyone’s definition is different, but technically speaking, here’s the rundown:
Vegan – No meat, no dairy, no eggs, sometimes no honey. In other words, no animal byproducts.
Vegetarian – Me! No meat. Some vegetarians don’t eat eggs, some don’t eat dairy, but that’s not what matters right now so I won’t try to confuse you!
Pescetarian – Eats seafood, but no other meat (Cows, pigs, chickens, horses? Oh, bad joke).
Flexitarian – Yep, this is a thing now and I think it’s great. These people are conscious about the amount of meat they consume and regularly have vegetarian/vegan meals. This goes along with the trend of doing “Meatless Monday”. The cafeteria at my company has posters encouraging a flexitarian diet and offers numerous vegetarian options (as well as a pretty great salad bar). I’m lucky to work there, but finding healthy options is possible mostly everywhere these days! I must admit, I do enjoy the grilled cheese and sweet potato fries on a semi-regular basis. J
Being a vegetarian isn’t all rainbows and sunshine. On an emotional level it can be draining. Sometimes people are cruel or just insensitive and sometimes you just want to fit in at the department potluck and eat the ten different types of meatballs. You don’t want people to be weirded out by your vegetarian food and eat before they come over to your house. Sometimes, you want your fiancé to be able to enjoy a “real” burger with his guy friends and sometimes you don’t want your family to have to change their normal dinner so that you can join them. I hate being a burden and I hate being different in that way, but I really do believe it’s worth it. I’m lucky to have an incredible loving, encouraging, vegetarian partner or else this lifestyle would be infinitely more difficult. I’ve learned that your family and friends will support you no matter what you order for dinner and maybe some of them will change their diets for the little bit better too.
I know that cutting out meat alone is not entirely responsible for what improved my health. I also take my supplements, make juices and smoothies (not as often as I should), hydrate like crazy, exercise (also not as often as I should), and pay close attention to what my body is telling me. On a mental health level, I meditate, manifest, and journal regularly. 
 
 
Juice. It’s what’s for breakfast.
I feel amazing and all I really want to do is spread the love. I love that I’ve become a low-level health guru for some of my family, friends and co-workers. I think it’s incredible how much good can happen because of one choice I made. I love when my co-workers excitedly tell me about a juice they made last night that their kids wanted seconds of. I love when long lost friends message me for recipes because they want to improve their health. I love that at that same meatball filled potluck, a co-worker made casserole with soy meat so that I could eat it too.
But mostly I love that I can write posts like this and maybe help a couple more people out (and a couple hundred animals too).
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