Hello my wonderful followers! During the month of January I decided to take the plunge and try out vegetarianism. I am going to share my experiences with you, along with some of my favorite vegetarian options!My cousin Tess (the Youtuber) raved about a speaker named Gary Yourosky. He is most well known for his speech “Best Speech You Will Ever Hear”. In Tess’s video she recommended her followers go watch it, so naturally I did. Let me tell you, I did not know what I was getting myself into (Just for your information, Tess and Kayla are both full-time vegan). Before watching I was under the impression the speech was going to motivate me to change my life or inspire me to go out and help people in the world (lofty goals I know). Once the speech started I soon learned that Gary is an animal rights activist speaking to a classroom of students about eating meat.
Let me give you some background about my meat eating tendencies. The two most common meats I ate were sausage and chicken. Sausage is one of my favorite meats. I love sausage in pasta, on my pizza, or even plain Jane. It was my hardest meat to give up. Other than sausage, I would occasionally make myself a chicken breast. At my school cafeteria they typically have a chicken option for the main course. I was not consuming large amounts of meat in my college diet, but I did eat it occasionally.
Back to the speech! Within the first few minutes I found myself appreciating Gary’s point of view. His presentation style was firm, but also informative. I was totally hooked! However, about 15 minutes into his speech he told his audience he was putting up on the screen some graphic scenes. These scenes were horrific and made me sick to my stomach. Videos of baby piglets being thrown on the ground because they were too small, or chickens being hung upside down alive only to be killed in seconds were played across my screen. I could not tear my eyes away from the screen because I was in shock.
After the graphic scenes were over I paused the speech and asked myself Is this worth continuing? At the time, I didn’t want to ruin my meat eating experience. However, I continued to listen to the speech. Looking back, this moment was pivotal for my upcoming month. The duration of his speech opened my eyes to some of the harmful side effects of eating meat. Once I finished I decided to make a challenge for myself to not eat meat for a whole month.
Throughout this month I have had challenges and successes!
- Going out to eat! – I love going out and trying new restaurants with friends and family. I found it difficult to have dietary restrictions while searching for these restaurants. My experience was made a lot easier by checking online menus to see if their establishment was vegetarian friendly! I did have one or two occasions where I had meat; I am not perfect and still learning!
- Protein- Over January my mother and I did personal training together. My trainer, Lauren, stressed the importance of protein when completing high intensity workouts. Protein helps you maintain energy and stamina throughout the day. I found myself checking ingredient labels to see what the product was consisted of.
- Soy intake- A large substitute for “meat-less” options are different kinds of soy and our bodies can only handle so much soy.
- Cravings- Just the other day I was eating with my boyfriend and he had chicken nuggets. It was hard to say no, but I really wanted to make this commitment to myself and to my body!
- Taking the plunge- Lets not sugar coat this; it was hard to give up meat. It is a challenge in itself. I believe if you push yourself to new limits the results can be immensely rewarding.
- Exploring my palate- I tried many new foods. Some things I tried I liked and others I was not a huge fan of. Overall I found some great meat replacement options for my diet.
- Having support- My mother decided to try out vegetarianism; we prepared meatless meals together . Having a buddy made me accountable for my actions (aka cheating).
While it may look like I had more challenges than successes, I believe my month-long diet was successful. Drastically changing your diet takes time to get used to. Overall I am really proud of myself for doing this month challenge. I am going to try and continue to eat less meat. I am not sure if I will fully cut meat out of my diet, but for now I am eliminating meat.
I would love to hear about similar experiences you have had. Let me know if you have tried different vegetarian meal options or if you are vegetarian yourself!
Thank you for taking the time to read about my experience!