I wanted to spend some time digging into our next diet trend centralized around no meat. now this diet is often adopted for health reasons or due to certain religious beliefs, humanitarian beliefs, etc. . So eating strictly Vegetarian isn’t a “diet” per se it’s a way of life and I have no problem with that. Basing ones diet around wholesome fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains is a great way to ensure your body is naturally flushing out toxins, your able to maintain a healthy weight etc. It has a lot of positive benefits.
Let’s take a look into some of the proclaimed benefits of a Vegetarian based diet:
- Supports weight loss
- Increases longevity
- Plant foods are rich in nutrients
- Reduced risk of type-2 diabetes
Not so “pro”:
- Can be difficult to meet daily protein requirements
- Iron levels if not supplementing can plummet
- Too much soy products has shown to increase changes of cancer especially in women
- You can also gain weight if you choose to swap out meat for grilled cheese and fries on the reg 😉
All those pro’s sound great right? Well, if you execute this diet correctly with ensuring you are getting enough sources of protein, iron and other essential vitamins and minerals then yes it’s a great healthy lifestyle to embrace. However if you don’t know what you are doing and just cut out meat from your diet without backfilling your daily requirement things may not go exactly as planned. Take it from my personal experience.
A couple of years back I decided to give up for Lent meat. No biggie I thought, this is easy and good for me! So I cut out meat and filled my diet with veggies of all kinds, beans etc. Life was good. Well a few weeks in I started feeling tired all of the time, my skin grew pale, rings under my eyes started to show and i just felt like crap. I chalked it up to “I must be getting sick”.
Few weeks after I had to go in for blood work and my results showed something was funky in my bloodstream. In fact so funky the doctor’s made me go to a Cancer Research center to get a deep look into what was going on in my blood cells. That was scary! Luckily all came back clean other than low nothing fishy going on there. By this time Lent was just about over and my mom (who aside from being a nurse seems to know everything) mentioned that i was looking anemic and insisted that eating a steak would fix me. And so I did, in fact I re-embraced all meat again. And you know what? It was like a freakin miracle, my bags disappeared, my energy levels returned and I just felt so much more, me.
Turns out I had depleted my body of the necessary amount of iron it needed to continue functioning correctly. I hadn’t even thought about that! In addition my energy levels returned as I increased the amount of protein and other vital minerals in my diet.
So why am I telling you this? Well, I just want you to be cautious in your health decisions. Not everything is right for everyone. Being a vegetarian can be a wonderful thing, I know many people who do it well, but if you don’t know what you are doing it can hurt you as well. This is true with any type of diet so if you try something and it doesn’t feel right or you don’t feel right stop and think about it. Tae time to listen to your body and what it wants, needs, craves. Bodies are so smart they know what we need and when we need it you just have to learn to listen.
Have you tried a Vegetarian based diet? How did it work for you? What are some things you learned along the way that may help others looking to embrace this way of life?