A close friend of mine recently told me that although she has been a carnivore all of her life, she is starting to consider a meatless diet and wanted my thoughts on the subject.
Of course I took the time to talk to her in full detail and of course I decided that our conversation made for a great blog post.
Why did you give up meat and poultry again? I forget. And did you do it cold turkey?
I didn’t mean to become a meatless eater. I came down with a stomach virus in January 2012 and it hit me hard. I couldn’t return to normal eating at first and actually, never did.
During the recovery time, I was eating lots of oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and vegetarian type foods. It was a subconscious switch away from eating my usual lunch and dinner plates which were always so focused on chicken, turkey or steak.
I quickly noticed though that I felt great without eating those animal proteins so I decided to run with it (ha, no pun intended) and never looked back.
So I guess you can say yes, I gave up meat and poultry rather cold turkey but that was not my intention. It just sort of happened.
Are you a vegetarian?
I am not a true vegetarian because I will eat sushi on occasion and order fish (shrimp or ahi tuna) in restaurants if nothing else is available on the menu for me to eat. Does that make me a pescatarian? I suppose but I can go MONTHS without touching fish.
I am not a vegan but eggs and dairy don’t play a major role in my diet either. I go through major phases of wanting pizza or greek salads but can go for weeks at a time focusing on plant-based foods instead.
However, I will never give up my favorite desserts so dairy will always be in my diet!
But where do you get your protein?
Protein isn’t hard to find in a meatless diet, I swear! Dinner is probably the main meal where you may notice your chicken or steak missing from your plate but replacing it with meatless sources of protein can be done.
I do not eat tofu or tempeh often at all. I used to buy meatless meatballs and chickenless products but stopped at some point because they were so processed. I think I miss the meatless meatballs from Trader Joe’s though so maybe I will pick them up again to have in the house.
Are you full and satisfied from your diet?
My answer is yes… and no.
For the most part, yes I am satisfied and happy but I would be lying if I didn’t admit that there are times when I still feel hungry yet my stomach is physically full.
Like, I still need something but I don’t know what that something is and reaching for more vegetables is not going to help me, it will only make my stomach feel worse at this point.
Protein (and fat) is what satisfies the appetite and although I may “meet” my daily protein requirement, there are times when a serving of chick peas are not going to satisfy the same way a serving of chicken would. I don’t mean about flavor, I mean that level of satisfaction inside that says, I’m full.
I have weeks of feeling unsatisfied and weeks on end where I am fine. I go through phases on this.
Do you have cravings? How do you handle them?
I have yet to crave chicken or turkey which is weird considering I lived on both for over 30 years of my life.
There have been times when I have craved a hamburger or steak to the point where I can’t stop picturing them in my head but I have learned that these meat cravings occur when I need more protein so I typically satisfy the protein need with eggs or fish and the craving instantly disappears.
Did you notice any health benefits when switching to a meatless diet?
Yes! The decrease in animal protein combined with an increase in plant-based foods produced some amazing effects:
*More energy for running/increase in pace and endurance immediately
*Quicker muscle recovery
*Improved menstrual cramps <- Plant-based foods work wonders for me in this area. Now, if I consume too many eggs/dairy products, I feel the effects during my time of the month.
*Seasonal allergies gone!
*Food allergies almost all gone (remember I had oral allergy syndrome)
*Eczema in the winter on my eyelids gone!
*Shingles nerve pain which lingered for years gone!
Honestly, the health benefits and positive side effects of giving up meat and poultry are the main reason I see myself sticking with this meatless lifestyle. Overall, I just feel terrific. The fact that my seasonal allergies are gone, that I no longer need to take a daily allergy pill, is seriously enough for me to eat this way for the rest of my life!
Do you have trouble dining out with others and/or finding something to eat in restaurants?
I do not have trouble 99.9% of the time. I always seem able to find something on a menu. At worst, I just request salads without the chicken or put together a bunch of side dishes to create a meal.
How do you handle cooking for others who still eat chicken and meat?
I am totally fine with still preparing chicken dishes and making steak whenever my son wants it. I try to coordinate cuisine flavors between what I am eating with what I am making him to cut down on kitchen time but it doesn’t always happen. It’s fine though, my dinners require very little prep.
Build Your Own Plant Based Power Bowl <- one of my most popular posts and pinsMy Meatless Diet #meatlessmonday #vegetarian #meatless #powerbowl #fitfluential @healthyskoop… Click To Tweet
What type of diet do you typically follow?
Do you ever crave the foods you no longer eat?
Best thing you ate over the weekend?