Perhaps you can already tell, but to those around me, it is obvious. I live in the grey-area. Extremes are not for me. So, true to form, I like to call myself a sometimes-vegetarian. Basically, I generally avoid meat, but I try not to be hard on myself if I have a bite of steak or a chicken wing once in awhile. The real term for this is flexitarian, which is one of the many other types of vegetarianism. The others are:
- Vegan – Eats no animal products or by-products, including honey.
- Lacto-Vegetarian – Eats no animal meat, seafood or eggs, but will consume dairy products.
- Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian – Eats no animal meat or seafood, but will consume eggs and dairy products.
- Pescetarian – Not really a vegetarian, as they eat seafood, but they still do avoid all other meats
- Flexitarian – Eats mainly a plant based diet, though they sometimes will eat meat or other animal products (yup, this is me!)
I stopped eating meat mainly because I was avoiding it anyways, and started to worry that I was missing out on certain nutrients by not replacing it with healthy alternatives. Once I finally started being conscious about where my protein came from, I saw some unsuspected results!
The Benefits of Eliminating Meat from My Diet
I have more energy. This likely is a result of a few things, like actually getting enough protein, iron and vitamin B in my diet. When I was avoiding meat, rather than replacing it, I was depriving myself of so many nutrients. Now, I make sure to include these nutrients in my diet and occasionally use supplements to be sure I am meeting my needs.
My stomach hurts less. From slowly eliminating meat from my diet over the past 5 years, when I DO indulge in meat (especially beef for some reason), I feel bloated, gassy and miserable. My body stopped producing enough enzymes to break down meat effectively, and I pay for it. No meat equals a happy tummy for me!
I have better poops. No need to be embarrassed – we all poop. And if I was getting stomach aches from poorly digested meat, you can imagine that my number twos weren’t enviable after eating a steak. By replacing meat in my diet with lots of beans and legumes, it has been nothing but smooth sailing, if you know what I mean. Hooray for plants!
My diet is more interesting. Once I started looking for alternatives to meat, a whole new world opened up for me. Surprise! Vegetarians don’t just eat fake-meat and tofu! I have discovered a renewed love of cooking, now that I don’t feel that I have to include meat. In fact, even my kids are (unknowingly) eating more beans and pulses. One of my favourite sites for inspiration is The Minimalist Baker. Simple, delicious meals made with healthy ingredients.
Once I realized how much better I physically feel without meat, I have embraced my sometimes-vegetarian diet that much more. Sure, I’ll have a bite of my husband’s steak now and then, or eat a juicy burger when on holidays. More often than not, though, my body tells me I should have stuck to Portobello burgers and quinoa.
I believe that our diets should be as individual as our wardrobes; no two are alike, and we all have our preferences! Have you made any big diet changes, and were surprised by the results?