I did not become a vegetarian because I don’t like meat. I did not become a vegetarian because I hate the way animals are treated in this country (I do hate the way animals are treated in this country though). I did not become a vegetarian because I think it is wrong to eat anything that has a face. The truth is, I woke up one morning and I did not want to eat meat anymore. I do not think meat tastes bad. I just do not want to eat it. It’s more of a preference than a life choice.
I have been a vegetarian for over four years now but I feel like I have been cheating myself. There are all of these health benefits that were supposed to come with being a vegetarian. It was supposed to have a detoxifying effect. I was no longer ingesting hormones and antibiotics that were given to the animals I was eating. My organs were supposed to work better because they were no longer weighed down by the fat, artery clogging meat I was eating. My digestive system would work better because it wouldn’t have to work as hard. The biggest benefit of switching to a no meat diet was supposed to be the weight loss (I did not drop one pound).
My body is probably more toxic now than it has ever been! There are a couple of reasons. The first reason is when I stopped eating meat I doubled up on the calorie heavy, nutrient deficient carbohydrates found in rice, pasta, and bread. I was eating peanut butter and marshmallow fluff sandwiches every day! Even when I stopped eating that I just moved onto other sugar-rich foods. I took an account of all the stuff I eat on a regular basis and 90% of my food is either full of sugar or turns into sugar when I digest it. I have a horrible sweet tooth and so does my fiance so we are a mess together! The sugar alone is enough to kill you but I also eat a lot of prepared foods such as frozen meals which contain a lot of sodium and are highly processed.
What was really scary was when I took inventory and realized that I am a vegetarian but I don’t eat a lot of vegetables. Part of the problem is that when you’re dealing with fresh produce there is preparation time that has to be spent. Vegetables need to be washed, peeled, cut and seasoned before you get to the cooking part. That is hard for me because my chronic pain leaves me feeling tired all the time. Eating healthy takes energy and energy is not something that I have on reserve so I wind up going the quick route. The quick route is food that is already prepared so all I have to do is warm it up. Unfortunately, there are all kinds of chemicals that are used to keep the prepared food from spoiling. Some of those chemicals are probably more deadly than the medication I was on.
So now that I have recognized the error of my ways I have made a commitment to eat more vegetables and whole foods as opposed to canned, boxed or frozen foods. I have decided to branch out into the world of veggies I have not tried before. I made eggplant parmesan for the first time and I loved it! I also roasted some radishes (much better than eating them raw), I eat quinoa and edamame too.
Like everything in life, this is going to be a process. I will have my set backs but I refuse to set myself up for failure. I tried to cut out all candy, cookies and ice cream before and that blew up in my face. This time, I will not deny myself altogether but I will moderate the sugar I eat. If I have some ice cream that means no candy on that day. If I eat a handful of Jolly Ranchers than I need to stay away from the Golden Oreos. I can also substitute naturally sweet food for the candy and cookies I like to eat. I love strawberries, grapes, apples, bananas and oranges. I just have to train myself to eat more of that stuff in place of the man-made sugar.
Do you have any suggestions on ways I can transition to being a healthier vegetarian? I would love to read them!