3 Years Of Vegetarianism
June marks 3 years since I made the choice to cut meat from my diet and I can safely say that it’s the best decision that I’ve ever made. Diet isn’t something that I talk about a lot as it’s something that is so incredibly personal and what works for one certainly doesn’t work for all and we all know that preaching about an animal-free diet doesn’t inspire anyone to make a change. All that being said though, today I wanted to share what 3 years of vegetarianism has looked like for me.
I don’t miss meat
One of the biggest deciding factors for me cutting out meat was the fact that I didn’t eat it that much in the first place, it was max once or twice a week. So eating meat-free didn’t seem totally impossible so at first, I set myself a challenge of going vegetarian for the month to see how it went and well, I never went back. I can’t deny that when I smell KFC wafting through the car window whenever we drive past makes me long for a veggie alternative and I’m yet to find a good meat-free bacon alternative. But there is a plant-based answer to everything these days. I think the only thing I do find hard is trying to grab on the food on the go like at a service station or in a supermarket. Things have come a long way in the past few years but it’s typically only cheese or nothing which is a little frustrating when there is 20 different variations of chicken. Which if you’re vegan makes things incredibly hard but thankfully, the large food chains are slowly releasing more and more alternatives.
I feel so much better after eating
Feeling really heavy and weighed down after eating isn’t normal, and don’t get me wrong if I eat a huge bowl of pasta then I certainly don’t feel like I can do cartwheels but in general, I feel a lot better after I’ve eaten now it's not meat based. Now, I don’t have the best digestion system and struggle a lot with my bowels so finding a balance is very hard but things were undoubtedly worse when I was eating meat. I don’t eat a super heavy veg diet as I simply can’t due to my issues with fibre so tend to eat quite a few meat alternatives which suit me perfectly. Whilst my knowledge of nutrition and wellness is somewhat limited there are so many articles that I’ve read that state it takes nearly 6 times the amount of time to properly digest meat and fish than it does grains and veg. My boyfriend went vegetarian a year after I did as he had struggled so much with various stomach issues for a long time and as soon as he stopped eating meat, they stopped. And in two years not once has he had an upset stomach which used to be an almost daily occurrence for him.
Like I said earlier although I ate meat it's not something that I really did at home through university and then when I moved back to my dads. I was what you could call ‘a social meat eater'. Not only did I not buy it because it was expensive but I also absolutely hated cooking it at home as I had a constant fear I was going to end up with food poisoning. I think a lot of people presume that eating vegetarian with meat alternatives is a lot more expensive but for me, I find that you can get 3 (that serve 2 or more) good meat substitutes for the same price you would get one packet of chicken. There is no denying that once you get into the trendier food items, especially new to the UK launches of veggie and vegan options that they are very expensive but nowadays for the usual substitutes they’re very reasonable.
IT’S REALLY GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
A few years ago you couldn’t move for documentaries and YouTube videos all about the effect consuming meat and dairy products are having on the world. The buzz has definitely faded in favour of other important issues but for me, it’s something that I think about daily. A quick Google search will tell you how helpful it is to the planet to minimise or completely remove animal products from your diet and for me, if I am in the position to do it then it truly feels like the least I can do. I’m not a model citizen when it comes to low waste or sustainability but I try and do something every day which reduces the impact my existence has on the planet. Even just cutting meat out of your diet for one day can make a huge difference and really all we need is everyone who is able to make one change in their lifestyle to do so and it would help dramatically, it’s impossible to be able to do it all.
it’s kind to the animals
My choice to cut out meat was one based on my health to begin with but I can’t deny that the thought of animals unnecessarily dying and being bred solely for human consumption doesn’t sit well with me. For a long time, I wanted to bury my head into the sand about the reality of what happened to animals who are killed for the meat trade as it’s so awful but doing that isn’t doing anyone any favours, especially the animals. And whilst I don’t eat meat something that I do still consume is cheese and eggs so over the next year I want to try and minimise my intake of those things as those industries are still cruel, the dairy industry especially. This is a really brilliant from The Guardian about what the true cost of eating meat is and what we can do to help.