Last week, I gave myself the challenge to to an entire week without consuming meat, for quite a few different reasons that can be found in that previous post.
One week later, after an almost totally meat free 7 days (I did have one bite of the steak that came in my pho yesterday), I have a few thoughts…
- eating vegeterian was far easier than I thought it would be…I think perhaps because I'm so used to eating a restricted diet. I'm already used to preparing the vast majority of everything I eat and even with cooking for a large family at the moment, I just plan a little bit more carefully than I already do. One more reason meal planning sooo important.
- for the most part, I just added an extra vegetable to dinner since the rest of what I eat tends to be meat free during the day. I never went hungry or felt deprived. I also never felt weak or head-achy or cranky (all concerns I had going in). On the plus side, the jaw pain I've had for as long as I can remember is less and I haven't had any stomach aches this week. And I think I've been sleeping better, but that's always a little hard to tell.
- I worked out even harder this week than I have been, but I can't tell you if that's because it was my fifth week at the gym or the dietary changes. I do know I've always felt in the past like I have a high need for protein (animal in particular), but the fact that I was able to increase my workout while drastically decreasing my meat intake gives makes me think it made some sort of difference.
- I did eat more dairy than I normal, and I'd like to cut back on that a little more. I really only use milk to get my cereal wet when I eat it, and that could easily be replaced by almond milk. I do eat greek yogurt or cottage cheese at least once a day and a bit of cheese, too. My afternoon string cheese could easily be an afternoon handful of almonds or walnuts instead.
The research is so divided – there are some nutrients our bodies need that I've read can only come from animal protein. And then there is research that says perhaps we weren't ever supposed to eat meat, and that our bodies heal themselves and stave off disease better if we forego it. For every point, I've had no problem finding a counter-point, though I do still find the evidence against it a bit more overwhelming as I noted in my earlier post. My personal experience of this week has been positive enough that I intend to continue.
Honestly, I can't really say I miss eating meat but I also don't see myself never eating it again. I have no problem with a few bites of a good rib eye or the occasional piece of bacon, but just a bit. And I do intend to make fish a more regular part of what I eat, so I see learning to properly cook it in my very near future.
One week. Big changes. Good results.