Hi, I’m a New Vegetarian.

August 30, 2012 · 48 comments

Yup, you guys were right. I cut meat from my diet.

As I noted yesterday, it has only been a little over a month, but I am really liking the results so far. I have more energy, which is saying a lot, considering I’m constantly low on sleep these days. My stomach has felt really, really good compared to when I was eating meat. I feel… lighter? Does that make sense?

Anyway, I actually don’t miss the meat. I didn’t eat a ton of meat to begin with, to be honest. I have had two times I have missed being a carnivore. Early on, I realized I couldn’t conveniently go to Wawa and grab a turkey sandwich/sub. But quite honestly, I was just as happy with a Chobani, veggies and hummus, and some mangoes. The other time was a little run-in with some General Tso chicken, and it was the first time I thought, “Oh, darn. I can’t eat that anymore.”

Other than that, I don’t long for meat. It may have something to do with the facts I’ve been learning about plant-based diets, animal cruelty, world hunger, and hormones in our meat. Roll your eyes and call me a hippie, but all of this information lumped together made it easy for me to cut meat from my diet.

 

I got the side-eye from a lot of my friends and family when I made this decision. I had to derail a lot of myths and back up my stance with some facts I have learned the past few months. I’ve heard, “You’re a vegetarian? How do you LIVE?!”

I’m not going to die from a lack of protein. I know it’s important to ensure a vegetarian gets plenty of the protein, vitamin B12, calcium, and iron. I am paying close attention to my intake of all of these, and I am getting protein from eggs, nuts, whole grains, and legumes. I’ve been on a veggie overload… and there are no complaints here.

via

However, there are products from the vegetarian realm that should also be avoided.

I know soy isn’t good for a girl to load up on. This was one of my biggest concerns in going vegetarian, and I have done my research to stay on the safe side of the slippery slope that is soy in a vegetarian diet. Soy protein has been linked to stomach and intestinal difficulties as well as hormonal problems. I already have some issues in both departments, so soy kindasorta scares me. I’m working hard to read nutrition labels and not load up on all processed foods. Seitan, beans, quinoa, and broccoli are great soy alternatives, and everyone knows I love me some veggie quinoa bowls. Whey, eggs, and casein, all have more bio-available protein than soy, and they are major players in my pantry.

As a newbie, I’m still learning every day about what I need to fuel my body the right way.

And yeah, I know. I’m totally not hip with the whole “paleo trend.” To be honest, I’m really happy with my decision, and so is my body. As long as it continues to work and make me feel good while making a small difference in the world, I’m sticking with it.

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{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Erica {EricaDHouse.com} August 30, 2012 at 10:30 am

As a vegetarian for over 5 years now this makes me very happy! It will absolutely be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make for your health!
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2 Brittany (Healthy Slice of Life) August 30, 2012 at 10:33 am

Haha, love your conclusion because the first thing I thought was, oh the Paleo lovers aren’t going to like this a bit! Love that you’ve found what works best for you :)
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3 Alyssa @ Life of bLyss August 30, 2012 at 11:33 am

What can I say? I like to forage my own path. ;)

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4 robfiasco @ run2thehills August 30, 2012 at 10:44 am

*Rolls Eyes*, Hippie!

haha j/k :) i’m glad you’re feeling a lot better now. and lighter! i’m constantly adding/removing things from my diet to see how they affect my body. I used to like soy until I read that it contained estrogen. that’s the last thing I need….
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5 Amanda @ Diary of a Semi-Health Nut August 30, 2012 at 10:45 am

I’ve been debating doing the same thing as well! I even have a series going on at the blog called “Vegetarian Curious” and have had some lovely bloggers (Blend gals included) share their stories AND recipes so I’ve learned a lot.

I did not know about the whole soy issue…that’s definitely something to ponder.

PS I saved your picture of the vegetarian pyramid, but the link didn’t work..do you remember the site you got it from? Thanks! :)
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6 Alyssa @ Life of bLyss August 30, 2012 at 11:38 am

oh, shoot. Sorry, I tried to link to the pdf and that won’t work. I got it from http://www.vegetariannutrition.org :)

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7 Amanda @ Diary of a Semi-Health Nut August 30, 2012 at 6:52 pm

Thanks Alyssa! :)
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8 Melissa August 30, 2012 at 10:51 am

I’m actually about to jump back on the vegetarian train for the month of September. I went veg for a year in 2009 and really loved it – I had SO much more energy. Sadly, I wasn’t a runner or a fitness lover back then so I didn’t really reap the full benefits. My bf & I are going to do a month meat-free. Honestly I think I’ll prob stick with after the 30 days are up but he’ll for sure go back to eating meat. I didn’t miss it really, until I moved to Texas! But now that I’ve been here for a few years, I’m kinda over it.

I can’t wait to follow you along on the veg-journey & hope you post lots of recipes :)
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9 Alyssa @ Life of bLyss August 30, 2012 at 11:39 am

boys and their meat, man!

that sounds sexual. I didn’t mean it that way.

but really. I hear ya.

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10 Alysha @Shesontherun August 30, 2012 at 11:25 am

Although I’m not a formal vegetarian, I will go a week or two without eating meat. I think of it as something to eat in moderation – not something I have to have.
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11 Lisa @ Jogging on Coffee August 30, 2012 at 11:27 am

I firmly believe that everyone should do what works for them, and I don’t impose my own views on others, but I will admit it always makes me happy when someone else embraces a vegetarian lifestyle :)
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12 Alyssa @ Life of bLyss August 30, 2012 at 11:38 am

:) I love that.. and the way you said that.

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13 Claire @ Live and Love to Eat August 30, 2012 at 11:33 am

At first I was concerned about getting enough protein when I went vegetarian (pesce-lacto-ovo), but the more healthfully you eat, with legumes and nuts and whole grains, you end up doing just fine. :)
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14 Lea @ Greens and Coffee Beans August 30, 2012 at 11:36 am

Congrats on your new found vegetarianism!
I’ve been a vegetarian for 7 years and I’ve loved every minute of it! I hope it continues making feel amazing!
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15 Alyssa @ Life of bLyss August 30, 2012 at 11:41 am

honestly, I’ve never heard someone say “I went vegetarian and felt awful.”

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16 Megan @ Fiterature August 30, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Yay! This makes me happy – eat for you, not for what others TELL you is right.

When I went veggie, I felt SO much better. My hair, skin and eyes were so healthy, I felt “lighter”, like you said. I had more energy….it proves that all of the junk in meat is not meant to be in our bodies!

Good luck – if you ever need tips, I’d be happy to help. I’m a veggie going on 5 years…
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17 Alyssa @ Life of bLyss August 30, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Thanks, Megan! I’ve also noticed a slight difference in my skin. I didn’t even think to attribute it to that. :)

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18 Sam @ Better With Sprinkles August 30, 2012 at 12:44 pm

I’m all about doing what works for the individual – paleo, schmaleo. :-)

I hope this continues to work out well for you!
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19 Erin August 30, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Love it. I’m a vegetarian, too, and I only make veggie meals at home for me and my husband. The blog world has made that super easy with so many recipes to choose from. Glad you love it so far!!

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20 Rachel August 30, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Yay! I’ve been a vegetarian for almost 6 years now and totally can relate to the feeling :) It’s great and was def what my body needed too :)
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21 Kelly @ Running Kellometers August 30, 2012 at 1:55 pm

My husband is a vegetarian so we have lots of vegetarian fare at our house. Congrats on the new choice. It sounds like you’ve done all the right research to back it up! :)
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22 Amber K August 30, 2012 at 1:57 pm

I’ve been a vegetarian since I was a kid, so I don’t really know what my body would be like with eating a ton of meat. I do eat fish sometimes, but it’s rare. And I don’t eat soy (makes me feel horrible!) so it’s definitely possible to get enough protein and nutrients without meat and soy!
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23 Alyssa @ Life of bLyss August 30, 2012 at 3:28 pm

I love hearing that, Amber! So many people assume you can’t get vegetarian protein without soy.

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24 Angela @ Health's Angel August 30, 2012 at 4:17 pm

I love this post and i’m excited to continue to read about your new health journey, Alyssa! I’ve been toying with the idea of eliminating meat from my diet over the past year. I’ve definitely decreased the amount of it that I eat. I wasn’t big on red meat to begin with, so I never eat that. And I find myself not even caring for the taste of chicken anymore. However… I don’t think I could go entirely vegetarian. Salmon is seriously my favoriteeee food.
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25 Alyssa @ Life of bLyss August 31, 2012 at 8:38 am

pescatarianism is always an option! :)

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26 Kelly August 30, 2012 at 4:47 pm

I’m so excited to hear this! I’m getting a little sick of the paleo trend. I don’t eat meat, but occasionally I do have fish. I’ve found the balance works for me so some people don’t like it when I say I’m a vegetarian–but I’ve learned not to care so much. I do what works for me and my body. Like you, I used to have many stomach issues and cutting out meat has helped immensely.

Now go crazy on Pinterest with the veggie recipes! There are so many delicious ones!

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27 Alyssa @ Life of bLyss August 31, 2012 at 8:37 am

Seriously… what did vegetarians and vegans do before pinterest? ;)

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28 Yellow Haired Girl August 30, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Good for you, girl! I’m not a vegetarian, but I’m not a full fledged carnivore either. I don’t eat meat that often … but sometimes I can hear a burger calling my name from across the city. Loudddd and clear.

I’m glad your body knows what’s up and feels BETTER doing this! That’s the ultimate end goal, right? :)
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29 Alyssa @ Life of bLyss August 31, 2012 at 8:37 am

it sho’ is! ;)

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30 Lisa @ Lisa the Vegetarian August 30, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Congrats on the decision to become a vegetarian! I am too (if you couldn’t tell by my blog name), and I recently wrote about my journey and how I got there if you’re interested:
http://lisathevegetarian.com/?p=401

I’ve been eating a veggie diet for the past 13 years. It can be a really great change.
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31 Alyssa @ Life of bLyss August 31, 2012 at 8:36 am

Too cool, Lisa! High five.

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32 Becca August 30, 2012 at 6:01 pm

Alyssa! So proud of you for making this decision FOR YOU! I would be interested to know what books you’ve been reading, and where your research is coming from because I would also like to read up on more plant-based diet!

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33 Nicole @ Curly Mommy August 30, 2012 at 6:11 pm

Welcome to the club!!!!
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34 Tina @ Best Body Fitness August 30, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Neat-o! Glad you found an eating style that makes you happy. I found that I can never define how I eat since it’s not healthy for me mentally with my past, but I do really enjoy eating mostly meat-free. I find it gives me lots of energy too.
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35 Alyssa @ Life of bLyss August 31, 2012 at 8:35 am

Eh, who needs labels? :) And I wouldn’t have believed someone if they told me how much more energy I’d have.

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36 Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean August 30, 2012 at 10:02 pm

yay for new veggie! proud of you for trying something new!
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37 Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy August 30, 2012 at 10:15 pm

Good for you! And I try not to pay attention to food trends. Right now it’s paleo, two weeks ago it was the gluten-free, and before that it was vegan, and before that, vegetarian. I can’t keep up.
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38 Alyssa @ Life of bLyss August 31, 2012 at 8:35 am

I agree. It’s hard for me to not roll my eyes when I see another person succumb to the diet trends.

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39 Kellie @ Compelled To Do So August 30, 2012 at 10:40 pm

I’ve been a vegetarian for 8 years and couldn’t imagine eating/living any other way! I made the decision to go veggie almost for the exact same reasons you did. Welcome to the bright & LIGHT side! :)
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40 Alyssa August 31, 2012 at 8:43 am

AH! That is so awesome! You’re making me want to at least try it out and see if I could do it for a bit! I rarely eat a lot of meat, but I definitely get those cravings so we’ll see…maybe I’ll try it for a few months and see if I would miss it much! Good luck girl
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41 Alyssa @ Life of bLyss August 31, 2012 at 9:15 am

I highly recommend it! I doubt you’ll want to go back when you see the effects. :)

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42 Ali August 31, 2012 at 12:20 pm

So pleased I came across your blog today! I’ve been experimenting with a pescatarian style diet (and an all around healthier lifestyle) so positive reinforcement is always welcome. I’ve cut waaay back on my meat consumption and avoid most processed foods but still indulge myself from time to time. Just by doing that I already noticed the lighter, refreshed feeling you mention… and also the heavy bloated feeling that usually follows my indulgences :)
Best luck on your journey and thanks for sharing it!

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43 Kate Ellis August 31, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Love this! Technically, these days I’m a pescatarian (although I’m very picky with what seafood I’ll eat). However, other than seafood, I haven’t eaten meat for approximately 16 years. My mum stopped eating meat after reading Diet for a New America and by around 8 years old, I decided to follow suit. I also don’t eat any eggs, but love me some cheese and ice cream! I wish you all the best with your awesome decision. Vegetarian diets are better for the earth, the animals, and our bodies! Yay for hippies :-)

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44 Sara August 31, 2012 at 8:15 pm

My freshman year of college I challenged myself to go vegetarian and I absolutely loved it! I was the same way and really didn’t miss meat that much. There were a few recipes that I couldn’t have that really bummed me out but other than that, I really liked the change. My body felt better and I also felt better about knowing I wasn’t eating a whole lot of hormone injected meats. Then, I moved in with my boyfriend the meat addict and it just became to hard to have to fix two different meals everytime we ate. I still try to choose meatless options whenever I can and I feel like going vegetarian really opened me up to some new healthy foods!

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45 Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets August 31, 2012 at 10:46 pm

You gotta do what works for you and if giving up meat is it, then I say do it. I haven’t had meat in over a year and I feel amazing and most definitely lighter. I also got rid of the majority of processed food so I’m not sure which is responsible for the positive change, although probably both.
You can call me a hippie too; the crap in our food supply now scares the heck out of me.
Glad you are feeling great with the switch up.
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46 Amanda September 1, 2012 at 12:52 am

Yay! Good for you Alyssa. I’ve been veg for ages, and I really love it. The ONLY time it sucked was when I was travelling in Europe, I sucked it up and ate meat because I couldn’t tell my Italian friend’s mama that I wasn’t going to eat her bolognaise… Haha, but seriously, I love that more people are embracing it for ethical reasons beyond “I love animals”. Which I do, but there’s so much more to it.

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47 Tricia September 4, 2012 at 7:22 am

Congrats on the switch! I’m thinking about going vegetarian as well but also a little worried about the whole “soy issue” — please keep us informed about what you learna and how you navigate your options! =)

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48 Stephanie September 4, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Congrats! And welcome to the veggie family!

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