How I failed at being a vegetarian and what I learned from it.
You might think being a vegetarian makes a person “healthy” but that’s where you would be wrong. There is no such thing as a wrong vegetarian but there is such a thing as an unhealthy one. Let me tell you the story of how I failed as a healthy vegetarian.
I started out as a vegetarian in 2015 right after eating thirty chicken nuggets in one sitting. Most of the people I told about eating the nuggets seemed proud of me, or at least impressed, which is why I felt accomplished until I told a friend who replied with: “Wow, that’s unhealthy”. Hearing him say that made me think, not only about the choice I had just made but also how much we as Americans have normalized an overeating culture.
I told myself I was going to make a change. A few days later I made the decision to try being a vegetarian for an entire year. I had gone a month without meat before so I figured I could make it a year. I was also never a big fan of red meat so I didn’t think it would be too much of a problem.
I started this, not only as a challenge to myself but also as a way to make myself think about what I was putting into my body before doing it. Too often I would eat things that were not good for me just because I was hungry and the snack I chose seemed easy.
Fast-forward to nearly a year later, and I was failing. I had not lost any weight (not really a goal of mine at the time, but you’d think it would happen anyway) and I did not feel any healthier. My mistake? Being a vegetarian does not mean you are eating healthy, the only rule I had given myself was to not eat meat. There are so many other foods besides meat that are unhealthy.
I have a problem with bread. I love it. Ever heard the bible verse “Man cannot live on bread alone”? Well, I was living as though a woman could, you could have considered that my motto. I would find myself eating way too much bread and cheese for meals. Most days a grilled cheese sandwich would be my main course and I would have nothing else.
Let me tell you right now, bread is not all that healthy. I craved bread because of my lack of protein intake and would consume large amounts of carbs to combat that lack of protein. Carbs are a source of energy, just like protein but unlike protein, they are temporary. The energy we get from carbs is felt sooner but it also ends sooner.
Other unhealthy things included in my diet were lots of sweets I can have a terrible sweet tooth at times and it really shows. Many of my meals and snacks would include cookies, cakes, and chocolate. Working at Chick-Fil-A, with its readily available treats and sweets, probably did not help much with my cravings.
After about a year of eating like this and not becoming any healthier, I went back to eating meat for about three months. I was traveling abroad and thought it would just be easier. During that time, I gained about ten pounds because of all the delicious foods there were to try.
When I returned home I went back to being a vegetarian, not only because it was what I was comfortable with but because I was really going to try and be healthy this time.
I wouldn’t say that my life has entirely changed but I have been doing better about making healthier choices.
I’ve focused more on listening to what my body is telling me it needs and eating more healthy carbs and proteins. I’ve also been making a lot of smoothies which can have many of my needed vitamins and proteins as well as tasting really good.
Let me know in the comments what you think. Have any questions about eating more healthy?