If you had asked me last year whether I would be able to give up meat, I would have laughed. I will admit that if I had a meal that didn’t feature a form of meat I would feel like I was missing out – but it seems I was wrong.
To start 2018 right and look at adding some new recipes and dinners to our repertoire, my partner and I decided to give a vegetarian diet a go and discover how well we might fare!
This meant no meat, or fish – we were doing this properly and going entirely cold turkey on any type of animal produce. It turns out that this meant a lot of cheese… though there were no complaints here!
How did I feel?
The one benefit I really found from removing meat from my diet is that I was suddenly a lot less bloated, and my body seemed to be digesting everything else so much better. I live a life of looking 6 months pregnant for 70% of my life, and purely due to food making me bloat (although a gluten intolerance is partially to blame for this). However, once I removed meat I noticed that this dramatically changed.
Only a few days in I notice that my stomach was flatter and I just felt less “full” and bloated. I have eaten a few bits of gluten throughout the month too, but even then, I noticed I didn’t feel as bloated as normal – the prospect of being able to slip back in to some tight clothes makes remaining vegetarian a promising prospect!
What did I discover?
I discovered that, actually, meat isn’t the be all and end all. I didn’t miss it at all, not once… ok, maybe once I craved a bacon sandwich but going from being a full carnivore to completely removing meat and not eating it once is a great success in my opinion. I think it’s also beneficial to be making the transition with somebody else, so you can experience new meals together and not be tempted by their meat alternative.
It turns out that vegetables are incredibly tasty, and you can do so much with them too. From a simple Quorn bolognaise, to quinoa salads and sweet potato and bean chilli. We even gave vegetarian fajitas a go, and I think I might prefer them to their chicken counterpart!
What challenges were there?
Grabbing something on-the-go was the biggest challenge I found, particularly when it comes to wraps/sandwiches. Whilst I love cheese, having to have a cheese sandwich daily would drive me to despair! I don’t particularly like egg sandwiches, so often this was my only choice.
Also, whilst everybody thinks a vegetarian diet will lead to lots of weight loss – some of the biggest “bad/junk” foods are in fact vegetarian! Think pizza, indian takeaways, crisps, chocolate, cakes and garlic bread. It would in fact probably be easier for me to gain weight on a vegetarian diet than a meat one, if I was truly let loose!
What does the future look like?
I am really convinced by a vegetarian diet and, whilst I was trialling it more for an alternative diet than because of the meat culture, I think I would happy keep it up. My only adjustment would be to perhaps include fish as I feel this would widen my menu (and on-the-go) options just that little bit more so as to not make it so restrictive.
Have you looked to adjust your diet to vegetarian or vegan this January? How did you find it?15