So, I decided a few months ago that I wanted to reduce the amount of meat I’m eating to see the effects (if any) it would have on my body and how I felt.
I believe that humans were made to eat meat but historically, we wouldn’t have had meat in our diets for every single meal we ate like I was having. I went through, and still am, going through a period of feeling heavy or sluggish so after having a few conversations with strict vegetarians that sparked my curiosity, I decided to give it a try.
During my run in with vegetarianism I still ate either fish or eggs almost every day because honestly, I felt like my plate was missing something without a protein source on there.
Traditionally, I was eating meat everyday twice a day. 14 meat meals a week, 728 a year. That’s a lot of chickens. Stopping for the animals wasn’t my main incentive, really, I just felt like I didn’t need to be eating copious amounts of animal protein everyday. I felt like I needed to give my gut and digestive tract a break.
It’s been eight weeks since I decided to make the change and in that time I’ve eaten meat twice**. Once, when the boyfriend made me a homemade burger (who can say no to that) and once when I was out with the team at an all you can eat a tapas style restaurant with the most ah-mazing food. So although I may not have stopped completely, I reduced my consumption significantly.
My life hasn’t been flipped upside down, I don’t feel like I’ve lost 10kgs and I haven’t grown wings so all in all, not all that much has changed.
In saying that, there have been a few slight changes that I’ve noticed, positive and negative:
- My skin has been clearer especially around that time of month in terms or breaking out but
- My skin has also been exceptionally dry, more so than usual
- I haven’t felt as ‘heavy’ after eating
- My sleep has always been pretty good, I’m an ‘as soon as my head hits the pillow I’m out’ kind of person but I’d often wake feeling tired or foggy but that fog has been lifted. When I wake, I feel rested and will often wake up about 30 minutes before my alarm is set to go.
- My body is taking longer to recover from training sessions;
- I ache. A lot.
- Vegetarian products or meat substitutes are marketed as being healthy and appeal to a particular target market that expects them to be. Often, they are not.
I’ve always eaten copious amounts of vegetables during my meals. I’m a volume eater – I like to feel like I’m eating a lot and if my plate is only half full I feel like I’ve been robbed. These changes obviously aren’t just because I’ve increased the amount of vegetables I’m eating because that’s relatively the same.
What I have noticed though is that without meat, I’ve had to get more creative with the meals that I’m making and it’s forcing me to think outside the box a little more. I’ve started to eat more nuts in my salads and introduce seeds back into my diet. Things like chickpeas, tofu and haloumi that I would have once turned my nose up at have now become my favourites. How did I never like haloumi? I’ve probably had a billion egg whites and a sea worth of fish because in today’s society we feel like we need a meat or protein source on our plate for a complete meal but it’s been a really good wee experiment.
I didn’t turn strict vegetarian and I know if I ever will but now the thought of having so much chicken or meat in my diet makes me feel a little queasy.
I’ve definitely become more mindful about where my food is coming from over the past year which has lead me to buy all of my vegetables from local farmer’s markets, so I think when I start eating meat more often I will adopt this approach. Local, fresh and hormone free.
I’ve really enjoyed giving myself a break from so much meat. It’s opened my eyes to new dishes and a different way of living & I genuinely feel like I’ve given my body a much needed break. It’s also helped me get out of the way of thinking that I ‘have to‘ eat meat with every meal & that I’m not going to waste away without it. Yet another one of my strict, obsessive thoughts.
I think from here on out I will maintain what I’m doing but not be as strict with it. Eating meat 2 -3 times, when I feel like it will probably become the new norm because vegetables are pretty damn tasty when you know what to do with them. I’m still learning & still trying to get out of the strict, repetitive and almost obsessive regimes I’ve set myself for the past 5+ years but I think I’m making some progress.
** Since the writing of this blog to actually posting it, I ate a proper burger. Red meat and all. It was an orgasm in a bun & I regret nothing.