Until six months ago, if you asked me what kind of snack I wanted I would have said beef jerky, which is why my becoming a vegetarian was unexpected. It started out as a way to see if I could stick to a dietary change for a month, but during that time I read some books and watch some videos and became convinced that I wanted to give up meat for good. It was a surprise to my meat-eating husband but we made a deal early on that every time he gave me grief for not eating meat, I got to show him a photo or video of give him a horrific fact, so we quickly learned to compromise. Now, six months later, he’s adjusted to my new eating habits and, dare I say, is pleased with the results (even though he’ll never fully admit it). Here are a few things that have changed for me:
I drink more water
Despite living in Colorado where the humidity is essentially nonexistent much of the time, I’m not a big water drinker. Since giving up meat, however, I’m drinking a lot more of it. I didn’t set out to drink more of it, I just found that when I was eating more fruits and vegetables and eating the healthier foods on a regular basis, I didn’t craze the sweetness of a Dr. Pepper. Instead, I found myself wanting water, which was a new concept for me. I have since decided to up my intake, but my base level of water-drinking definitely increased unexpectedly.
I’m eating more
I hate cooking. Really hate it. It’s not that I’m bad at it, it’s just that I would rather spend that time doing something else, like read a book or hang out with the dogs. I hate it so much that I could go days without eating a proper meal and just snacking because I couldn’t bring myself to actually cook a meal. Luckily, being a vegetarian means that I can eat a lot more raw foods and, therefore, eat like a normal person without having to put in much legwork. Unlike meat, you can eat vegetables raw so I can easily throw a bunch of them into a tortilla and call it a wrap. Because it’s so easy to make a meal, I’m actually eating more, which leads to….
I feel better, physically
I feel so much better without meat in my life! I’m sleeping better, my skin is clearer and less dry (thanks to the water, I’m sure), and I rarely have that icky feeling after eating too much. Plus, I’m having less heartburn, which I used to get pretty regularly. And I don’t mean your regular everyday heartburn, I mean pacing-the-house, on-the-ground, horrible heartburn that shot pain through my chest and back so badly that my dogs would follow me around with a concerned look on their face while my husband shook out some Alka Seltzer hoping it would quiet me. But that heartburn? Gone. I’ve only had it twice since giving up meat, which is a lot better than every other week, like it was before.5 Things I Learned When I Gave Up Meat. #vegetarian Click To Tweet
Leftovers last longer
Remember when I said I hate cooking? I also don’t know how to make food for only one meal. Everything I make can feed me for days but my leftovers always went bad because the meat wouldn’t make it. Now, however, my leftovers last twice as long. That means 1/2 of the amount of food preparation which, of course, makes me very happy. Plus, the food I buy at the grocery store last longer, meaning I can nearly double the amount of time that goes by between shopping and that also makes me very happy.
I feel better, mentally
Not only do I feel better, I’m also more productive and better able to focus on things because I’m not constantly feeling icky (and I felt icky a lot). As a result of being more productive, I’m also happier because I quite enjoy getting things done. I also take some satisfaction from the fact that I’m doing my small part to save the planet (agriculture is a major contributor to climate change), but now I can finally watch videos of cute animals without feeling like a hypocrite. I no longer have to look my dogs in the face and explain to them that if we lived in another country, I would eat them so they should be thankful we live in a country where we slaughter other sentient animals by the millions. Lucky them!