Going Meatless: First Month Observations

April 29, 2018

 Monday will make a full month that Ive been completely meatless.  I realize I should just refer to it is going vegetarian but I don't want to do that just yet.  Placing that label on what I was doing felt too huge of a commitment that seemed so final, it messed with my head and I thought it would surely end in a failure.  I don't know that I'm ready to say I am a vegetarian although I have been living a vegetarian lifestyle for a month.  Another thing I did to trick myself was calling it a month challenge.  That gave it a deadline and shrunk the change for me.  Shrinking the change, making it more manageable allowed me an "out".  If it wasn't going well, hey its only a month, try it, give it all you got make it to that 30th day and then your done.  No harm, no foul.  It has worked for me!

Some people suddenly decide to live a healthy lifestyle and they will say "I will workout four days a week, cut meat out completely, and meal prep healthy meals for lunch and dinner."  For some people they can do that and stick to it and that is great.  For the majority of us going from not eating right, or eating out a lot, never working out or at least not consistently to such a dramatic proclamation feels too overwhelming, we don't know where to start and the smallest setback leads us to quit.  It's too hard and its too much at the same time.  I wouldn't recommend that for anyone trying a new lifestyle change, you must be honest with yourself and outline a plan of action that is attainable.  This meatless challenge didn't just happen.  If you read my first post here then you know I was already packing lunches and healthy snacks while incorporating more vegetables and veggie recipes into my diet for months.  I made that part a habit.  After a few weeks of packing a healthy lunch I didn't want to eat out for lunch anymore.  It took time and around the holidays I fell off the wagon but as soon as I realized it I jumped back on and reestablished my routine.

Now, I am a full month in and I wanted to share with you a few things that I have observed about my digestion and overall health and appearance.

1) Skin

My skin has a natural glow to it.  I have pretty clear skin with an occasional pimple here and there.  A week into this new meatless diet and my skin is clearer, more even toned and glowy.  I don't need to layer my skin with foundation and concealer.  One thin layer of foundation followed by light concealer under my eyes and I am done.  On the weekends, I wear no makeup at all.  I might put a tinted moisturizer but that is it.  I have a pretty solid skincare routine that I shared with you a few months ago that Ive linked here.  Masks, lotions and scrubs are important skincare tools, but a natural glow to your skin, that starts with your diet.  Now that I am not eating meat I have had to be smarter about what I put in my body and making sure that I get all of the proteins and nutrients I am supposed to get in order to keep my body nourished and energized.  Avocado, olive oil, beans, eggs, lox, fish, spinach and mixed greens all of these staples in my diet have contributed to glowy, even skin.   SkinnyMs. is a fabulous blog that talks about this specifically here, definitely worth a read.  She also shares some great recipes and meal planning tips.

Side note: I don't know for sure if this has anything to do with my new diet but I have been doubling my water intake.  I am not complaining because I know that water helps to hydrate and flush out your system.  I just don't know why I have cotton mouth. I will keep an eye on it and see what it might be thats causing the thirst.

2) Digestion

One of my biggest reasons for trying this out was for a healthier digestive system.  I just could not digest meat without paying for it with bloating, cramping and indigestion for the two days that followed.  My digestive system is the best it has ever been.  I go to the bathroom regularly and the bloating is almost non-existent except for when I have had a black bean burger, lol. So delicious but the beans make me gassy.  #truestory Joking aside I am very happy with my new bathroom routine.  I have noticed a difference in the way my clothes fit around my belly now that I am not bloated or backed-up.

3) Weight 

I don't want to preach that if you drop meat from your diet you are going to lose weight.  Even vegetarians and vegans are tempted by all of the non-meat products that taste so damn good!  Think, cookies, muffins, ice cream, buttery croissants etc.  I am a chocolate addict.  I love chocolate and like to have something sweet after every meal.  This is something I have struggled with my whole life and taking meat out of the equation sometimes makes eating these goodies justifiable.  It isn't.  I know that I am not adding any nutritional value to my diet by indulging.  It is a process, I think the better I become at feeding my body and thinking of it as a machine that must be properly maintained in order to function at his highest potential the better I will become at cutting out the excess that doesn't serve me.  In 2017, Jane E. Brody wrote a piece for the New York Times Health section, called Good Vegan, Bad Vegan that dives into this misconception that cutting meat from your diet is all you need to do in order to maintain a balanced diet.  It is worth a read because there is no perfect diet that covers all of the bases at the root of any diet plan is a human being tempted by all of the things we have been hardwired to love.  I do pack more fruit and sliced apples are my go to snack at work.

I will say that my clothes fit a lot better and people have commented that I look like I have lost weight.  My jeans are loose and I don't have a muffin top anymore.  I can't tell you how much in pounds because I don't weigh myself.  Once upon a time I was a slave to the scale and it just isn't the reason I am doing this.  The number on the scale doesn't matter to me.  I no longer look at my progress as a number on a scale.

4) Shorter Menstruation 

Ok, real quick I just realized that the root of that word is "men", why, it's something that only women experience.  So a normal period for me lasts between 5-7 days, with the first 3 days being the heaviest.  This month my period included 1 and 1/2 days of heavy and a few days of light spotting.  Which was a little weird for me so I wondered if it had anything to do with not eating meat and sure enough there is a connection due to low iron.  I am not concerned about a shorter period, I mean 7 days is a long period, my concern is whether or not I am getting enough iron in my diet specifically around my menstruation period.   I could take vitamins but I would rather get the nutrients I need from a better diet.  Some foods that are high in iron are leafy greens, beans and lentils, brown rice, nuts, eggs and fish of of which my diet already includes but I might need to increase the intake of so I don't run into any issues that low iron can create like dizziness and fatigue.

Wrap up:  I am not preaching that this lifestyle is the best for everyone.  I am sharing how and why it is working for me.  I will say that everyone should strive to be in tuned with their bodies and what works and doesn't work for a healthy one.  Eating shouldn't be a thoughtless, mechanical process.  We should consider better options for our bodies.  We should shift our thinking from, I am hungry let me stuff my face with something that is quick and easy and instead take time and make more of an effort to have healthy options available to us.  Proper diet is key to a healthy strong body and mind.  Even the smallest change can make a difference.  For example my skin and my menstruation, both of those responded positively to my new diet.  Our bodies are so complex and what we feed ourselves contributes to wether or not it functions at its highest potential.

PS: Shout out to my 100% supportive husband who has come along with me on this journey, he still eats meat but he will prepare a meatless option for me too.  That makes a difference when you are trying something new, people who support you and take you seriously.  Thanks hubby. 💗

Until next time, cheers to another month!

Are you trying any new diets or lifestyle changes?  Share below.  Are you a vegetarian?  How do you curb your sweet tooth?  What are some good snack alternatives?

Thanks for reading!

by LifeStyledbyErica 💋


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