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How Being A Vegetarian Has Made Me Feel Better Then I Have In Years!
Growing up on a farm, we raised all types of animals. Many of which my father would butcher and bring to the dinner table.
We were exposed to where our food comes from a very young age. Meat was always a major part of our everyday lives.
On the farm, we would take care of the animals, raise them from birth until it was time to butcher them.
I never was totally desensitized to the whole process. My brother, sister and I were taught to respect the animals, treat them well, and thank them for their sacrifice when it came time to butcher them.
I would still feel sad for the animal, but always was grateful for their nourishment.
I never thought in a million years I would ever become a vegetarian.
In fact, some times I actually remember being uncomfortable around vegetarians because I couldn’t understand them. I always thought how weird it was that they could live without meat at all. I loved chicken!
I could eat chicken in almost every meal daily. Beef and pork were good too but I especially loved chicken.
Growing up, I didn’t keep butchering my own meat but my mom, brother and sister still practic raising their own animals for food. It’s a great skill to know how to do that. It’s also good to teach your children young, so they understand where food comes from.
As of December 2019, I decided to make the switch from “meat eater” to vegetarian. Not particularly because I felt bad about killing and eating animals but really due to health, and environmental reasons.
My husband and I went through huge lifestyle changes since 2017 and lost a lot of weight.
He lost over 100lbs, and I lost 75lbs or more! It was a huge deal! We weren’t vegetarians yet but we were making healthier choices, becoming more active and keeping up with our new habits. Drinking more water, taking in more fiber and protein, was mainly how the fat melted away!
Then in December of 2019 we watched “The Game Changers”, with Arnold Schwarzenegger. It really caused us to do our own research, and look into what animal products do to our bodies.
Even though both my husband and I lost all this weight and were more fit and active then we have been in years, we were super tired, had aches and pains in our joints, and just didn’t feel all that healthy.
I was tired all the time and thought it was just because we are parents or two kids and had a toddler. We also believed it was because we were getting older, and this is just how we are supposed to feel now.
After watching that movie, and doing some research on our own, it made us think that maybe it wasn’t just our bodies or because we were parents. It may be because we eat meat, everyday, for most meals!
After that we both decided we wanted to become vegetarians. The thought of what it was doing to our bodies really made us grossed out by the thought of eating it anymore.
The first couple weeks were kinda difficult for me. My husband had no issues at all and didn’t crave meat. I craved eating chicken. I craved it so much that I decided to eat it just to see how I felt after not eating it for about a month.
On our way to my oldest daughters’ doctor appointment, we drove past a place that sold chicken wraps. My husband went in and bought one for me since he heard me talking about how badly I wanted one for the past week! He was trying to be sweet but also was probably tired of hearing me talk about it so much.
I ate it and it was delicious! I enjoyed every bite! After about 15 minutes, I had this sudden wave of extreme tiredness come over me! I felt like I had a weight on my shoulders, and it was very hard to keep my eyes open. I was super tired out of no where, for me that just normally never happened.
We went to the doctor appointment, got back in the car and I ended up falling asleep in the car on the way home. I’m a super light sleeper and usually have a difficult time falling asleep, so this was unusual for me.
A couple weeks later I wanted to test it out again. We still had some frozen chicken in the refrigerator that we were meaning to give to my mom. I thought maybe if I cooked it myself with ingredients I know and don’t add anything fancy to it, maybe I wouldn’t be so tired.
I baked it in our convection oven, that acts as a air fryer on quick bake mode, and season it with just some Italian herbs and olive oil.
About 15 minutes later the same thing happened!
I was super tired, felt like a heavy weight was holding my shoulders down, and I ended up falling asleep in the middle of the afternoon on the couch! That just doesn’t happen! I usually don’t take naps and defiantly don’t fall asleep on the couch!
After both of those experiences, my mind was set and my cravings for real chicken disappeared. I felt horrible both times and couldn’t believe it was from the chicken.
It made me truly believe that meat was the culprit of why I felt so horrible for all those years, being tired and achy and just not feeling well despite losing weight and eating healthier.
Since I have become vegetarian, (we still eat cheese moderately so we aren’t completely vegan), I have felt so much more energetic, I don’t get winded when going for hikes or working out. I recover from working out much faster. I don’t feel like I need as much sleep and still feel good after only getting 5 hours of sleep. The achy feelings in my knees and ankles have disappeared! That was a huge deal for me. I couldn’t believe so much changed physically just by cutting out meat!
We now make our own seitan, which is a vegan meat substitute. It’s made from the high protein parts of wheat, called vital wheat gluten. 100% plant based meals with sometimes the addition of cheese but usually only to season the food. We also use nutritional yeast which helps to add vitamins and it gives food a slight cheese flavor added to it.
Since we make our own homemade seitan we save a lot of money, compared to buying pre-made seitan from the grocery store. An added benefit to making it ourselves, we get to make it taste like anything we want.
However you would normally prepare the meat you usually would eat, you can prepare seitan with the same seasonings and make it taste similar to the meat version.
It’s been an exciting journey learning new recipes and trying new foods. It’s been helping us to expand our children’s food preferences too. We will allow them to eat meat when we go places but at home they mostly eat vegetarian as well.
They love veggies for the most part, ( some days are easier than others ha ha), and we are setting a good example for our kids.
Another added benefit is being vegetarian is healthier for the environment. It takes up less land to grow plants than it does to raise animals.
We feel so much healthier and better than I ever have. Even when I was in my 20s I can’t remember feeling this good. And that was before I had kids!!
I don’t know if it’s for everyone, you definitely need to pay attention to your daily protein and fresh vitamin from food intake, but it truly changed our lives.
I’d love to hear what you think about vegetarianism and if you are one or if you’re thinking of becoming one.
Leave a comment and let me know! I’d love to start a discussion.