Maintaining a Meatless Lifestyle

August 7, 2018

In April I declared, "I was going meatless for a month" in this blog post.  I am now in my fourth month and I will now commit and say, I am a full fledged vegetarian! (cue applause) I have to admit, even though I have been a carnivore my whole life switching to a vegetarian diet has not been difficult at all.  I haven't wanted to "cheat" this entire time and since I began my journey, I have gone away on vacation, attended functions and parties including BBQs (yikes), went out to eat (a bunch of times, its my favorite) and in general lived my life with no difficulty.   I think this generally easy transition is due to a more "enlightened" food industry.  As people become more and more conscious of their relationship to food and how their diet affects their health, their mood and overall well-being, the food industry ie restaurants and supermarkets respond with a wider variety of dietary options (give the people what they want!).  We are no longer subjected to a tiny corner on a menu that only include salmon, pasta or salad.  The options are greater and far more creative than they were ten years ago.  Now I realize it is the summer and fresh produce is easier to come by and I worry that with weather or a trade war (clears throat, trump!) the availability and the affordability might be affected moving into the colder months making it a bit more of a challenge than these last four months.  But we will cross that bridge when we get to it.

In this post I shared with you my first month observations after going meatless.  I discussed skin, digestion, weight and menstruation (shorter periods, hooray!)  So here is an update and a few tricks that will set you up for success if you are considering going meatless.

1) Plan Ahead 

I don't mean meal prep, although that is a good idea!  I don't meal prep per se BUT I do make sure that my fridge is stocked with my favorite things.  I shared a Going Meatless Starter Kit and included a shopping list, so check that out for some shopping list ideas.  What more can I say.  Taking care of yourself takes time and effort, but isn't your health worth it?  Do what you can, if you commute and you see a fruit and vegetable cart, stop there and buy a few things.  Buy frozen fruits and vegetables, I mean fresh is always better but I get it, I am busy too.

2) Pack Snacks

You will not catch me without a snack.  I am trying to get better on what I snack on so I have the fridge stocked with some of my favorite fruits, strawberries, apples, plums, peaches...all the fruit oh and nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans, unsalted of course).  I will say this the cleaner my eating gets (i.e. meals) the less snacking I do.  I have my days where I crave, chips, cake, chocolate covered salted caramel (that was specific, lol) when I indulge I don't feel well after.  I feel sluggish and cranky mostly cause I can't stop myself and tend to overindulge.  Mostly I eat these things or crave them when I am bored or going through some personal challenges.  Eating poorly at these times can only lead to more stress, moodiness and overall lethargy.

3) Stay Hydrated

You might have heard this a million times, "drink water".  Well consider this your million and one reminder, drink water!  I drink so much water a day which means I go to the bathroom a lot but there are so many benefits to drinking water.  Clearer skin, speedier bowl movements, less headaches, clearer thinking and sometimes drinking water can curb a craving you think you are having.  This is true, sometimes you think your body is saying, "eat some cake I am hungry" but really its your body trying to say, "I need water". So try that first!

4) Surround yourself with supportive friends 

Ok this one might be controversial.  Please note I am not promoting trading in your friends and family for a healthier lifestyle but I will say having people in your circle who value their health and try to eat well and exercise makes your life easier.  For example, this past weekend my husband and I were invited to a party at a friends house.  I worried a little about what my food options would be and whether I should pack something yummy and take it with me.  My husband reminded me that our friends had healthy options the last time we went over and they certainly didn't disappoint this time around.  I can eat my weight in chips if that is all they have especially after I have had a cocktail.  I wouldn't eat a burger or hot dogs but I would munch on crappy food and snacks if that was what was available.  They didn't have ANY of that.  Instead they had meat (chicken and ribs, no burgers or hot dogs), but they also had salmon, grilled vegetables, a tossed salad, a cheese platter with olives, hummus and pita I mean I am drooling just thinking about it.  For dessert they had a bowel of fresh berries and watermelon mixed together with cool whip.  Can I just say how grateful I was?  Well, I was grateful, there I said it!  I had a wonderful time and didn't have to compromise my lifestyle or test my questionable willpower  to have a good time.  Now this might be because I am in my late thirties and so the company I keep understand the value of health because we have lived long enough to see people who have paid for their poor choices (i.e. diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity etc) with their health.  Or maybe I have chosen to surround myself with people who respect and support me.

I will leave you with this, even if the people you surround yourself with don't practice your lifestyle choices BUT love you enough to respect and accommodate (within reason of course) your lifestyle, you are winning.  If instead they don't take you seriously, question and challenge your making health a priority then I would rethink the relationship.  This is a big one for me when I call you a friend and here are some questions I might ask myself if it isn't clear.   Do they respect me?  Do they take me seriously? Do they support me and help me to grow as a person? Do they add value to my life?  If the answer to any of those questions is "no" well I would want to think about having a conversation with myself and then possibly with my "friend".

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Until next time.

By LifeStyledbyErica 

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