Disclaimer: This post isn’t going to be some stump speech that demonizes every person who still chooses to eat meat – I’m just discussing a lifestyle change that worked out really well for me.
Around six months ago, I made the decision to stop eating meat. I made that decision for a couple of reasons, but the primary factor that guided my decision was a bit self-centered: I was trying to lose weight, and I couldn’t get the last couple of pounds I wanted off to go away. I figured that cutting out meat and replacing that part of my diet with more fresh fruits and vegetables would help with that.
I didn’t quite stop at vegetarianism; instead, I became, what my friends have nicknamed, “a part-time vegan.” I eat vegetarian at restaurants, but when I’m cooking for myself at home, I aim for completely vegan meals.
At the time, I thought this switch would be incredibly difficult. I tried going vegetarian when I was in high school, and I lasted about two months before caving to the temptation that is a Chick-Fil-A chicken sandwich. It’s really funny to think about that now, because going vegetarian was much easier than expected, and I really don’t even think about it now.
And you know what? It worked. I dropped the last five pounds I’d been struggling to lose, and I found out that I had significantly more energy throughout the day. Where I once needed a nap to make it through a long and busy day, I found that I could power through with energy to spare. Once again, I’m not saying this is a foolproof plan for everyone, but it worked pretty darn well for me.
It also worked well that I was moving into my first apartment at the time, because having easy kitchen access gave me time to experiment with recipes that worked and recipes that didn’t. It’s safe to say I’m a pretty inexperienced cook, so some of the meals I made were completely awful, but some ended up pretty amazing. If you’re ever in the mood to try out some fun (and delicious) vegan recipes, check out the Make Your Own Rules Diet Cookbook – I’ve yet to find a recipe in there that wasn’t incredibly simple to make and didn’t taste amazing.
(Also, word of advice: while you’re at it, pick up the book The China Study. Even if you just read the introduction, you’ll learn a lot about a really interesting scientific study revolving around meat consumption and general health issues.)
There are a lot of other reasons people go vegetarian: it decreases your carbon footprint dramatically, and for a lot of people, it’s an ethical thing. I’m sure there’s an ethical way to raise animals for food, but we definitely aren’t practicing it. If you still want to enjoy eating meat, stay far, far away from the Cowspiracy documentary on Netflix. It’s eye-opening, but it’ll make you hate the meat industry to the point that even looking at meat makes you sick.
“But don’t you miss eating meat?” Honestly, no, not really. French fries and donuts are both vegetarian, so really, I’m set.