January 21, 2013

The Day We Became Vegetarians.

I have always been a meat eater. Turkey, chicken, beef, pork (I love me some Cafe Rio Pork Salad). You name it, I've probably eaten it.  I never ever thought I would utter the words: 

"I can't eat meat anymore." 

But that happened this weekend. The Hubby & I watched a documentary called, "VEGUCATED" (click here if you want to watch a bit of it) and it changed the way I view how I eat my food. Granted, it is VERY one-sided. It's all about 3 random people being VEGAN for 6 weeks. Vegan. Not vegetarian like we are trying.         


It was the push I needed. 

If you're not sure of the difference between a Vegetarian and a Vegan:    
The difference between a vegan and a vegetarian is that vegans eliminate all animal products from their diet, including dairy and eggs. Those following a vegan lifestyle generally do not wear leather and avoid products made from animals such as wool, silk and down. Vegans' tremendous compassion for animals is an abiding, overriding conviction in their lives.
Vegetarians do not eat meat, fish or poultry but they tend to consume dairy products and eggs. Lacto-vegetarians consume dairy products but not eggs, ovo-vegetarians eat eggs but not dairy products and lacto-ovo-vegetarians eat eggs as well as dairy products. Vegetarians also do not eat products that contain gelatine or other meat-based products.

After watching the film, the hubby and I sat in silence for about 5 minutes. Taking it all in. It was a LOT to take in, lemme tell ya. Some of it was VERY disturbing. Some of it was very extreeeeeme. Powerful? ABSO-FREAKIN-LUTELY. 
But, these people were VEGAN. I mean, no animal products at ALL. In anything. That is easier said than done (even though they made it look fairly easy in the film). I'm sitting there, watching this documentary, thinking...I could totally do this. I want to do this. I need to do this.  
So, we looked at each other, started talking about it, and decided to try it and see what happens. FOR TWO WEEKS. But just as vegetarians (for now).

YES, THERE IS A LOT OF CONTROVERSY ABOUT VEGANISM/VEGETARIAN in general. If its better for you/if it really helps the environment like they say, etc...

But that's not why I'm doing this. 
The main reason I'm cutting out meat from my diet? PURELY FOR MY HEALTH. (Also...because I feel like..why should a little animal die just so I can have a hamburger? That too. Those images will haunt me forrrrreeevvver.) The more I hear, the more I read, the more I learn...it's all about eating CLEAN. Things that are from the Earth. Things that aren't processed. Things that don't have horrible cancer-causing preservatives in them. Pretty much ALL the things I love to eat (I'm talking to you, Oreos). 

The fact is...when I eat crap, I feel like crap (even though it tastes so good sometimes). When I eat healthy, cut out sugar, don't eat meat, I feel SO MUCH BETTER. It's proof to me that it works. 
For those of you who don't know...my Mom has brain cancer. Her and my Dad have become VERY VERY VERY HEALTH CONSCIOUS. They are pretty much full-on Vegans. Which is fantastic, for them...I just never thought I could do it. But I want to support her & I NEED to eat healthier. Sugar included..not just meat. 
source

I don't think I could ever ever be a full-on Vegan. I like my cheese too much. But I am trying to wean myself off of all animal products. Once you realize HOW MANY ANIMAL PRODUCTS are in our food, it really begins to make you think. 

I've watched other documentaries about being vegetarian, eating cleaner, etc...and those have all really made me wonder WHY I eat meat products in general. When you see how these animals are treated, it seriously makes you nauseous. Well, it made ME nauseous. 

I'm not hating on anyone that eats meat. Heck, I mean..I still can't believe I'm doing this.  Neither can my hubby. He loves him some meat. 

MY GOAL IS SIMPLE: Eat food that is not processed. Eat food that is clean.  Eat local with food whenever I can (farmers markets, etc). 

We are going to try it. See what happens to our health and our waistlines. So far, so good. It's actually really fun figuring out what to eat for dinner! Last night we made Baked Potatoes with BBQ Beans & Salad. Yummy. It's really not that hard once you start. And it helps me THINK about what I'm putting into my body. Am I going to be perfect at this? Probably not..but I'm ok with that. 



Want more info on the benefits of becoming VEGETARIAN and eating CLEAN? Read:
{WHY GO VEGETARIAN?}
{TOP 10 REASONS}
{EATING CLEAN}


What do YOU THINK? Could you ever be a vegetarian? Vegan? Are you already? How did you come to that decision? Are you a "clean eater"? Do you want to be? Do tell....


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28 comments:

  1. This is an awesome post! We do not eat a lot of meat in our house, but what we do eat is farm raised, locally, meaning I know where it came from. I always feel better when I am conscious of what I am eating and when I am eating for fruits and veggies, and things that come from the earth. I grow my own garden every summer, and then I wish the rest of the year that I could walk out into that garden and pick those fresh items!

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  2. I loved this post! I'm a pescatarian. It sounds made up but I'm basically a vegetarian who still eats fish and seafood (though not very often). For family reasons, I really couldn't cut out seafood as it's a huge part of my family culture (Lobster in Maine and Blue Crab off the Chesapeake). I miss meat occasionally but mostly I miss how easy it was to make meals. Sometimes I really really just want some chicken nuggets. But I don't avoid eating meat because of health reasons. I just hate the idea of something dying for me to enjoy my dinner. I'm definitely going to watch the documentary you suggested. Good luck with your 2 weeks!

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  3. I really want to become some form of a vegetarian! We eat way too much meat.

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  4. I think that's great that you're doing what makes you and your family feel great/healthy!

    I don't eat meat two to three days a week.

    Also, my thoughts on vegan-- it is really hard-- and I think that sometimes it can be less healthy, because you could end up eating alternative foods that have a lot of preservatives or partially hydrogenated oils or are really processed. (i.e. margarine is worse than butter, or a butter/yogurt blend.)

    my only big food mantra is trying to eat the least amount of heavily processed foods-- the less packaged foods the better. if it's packaged, I have to recognize all the products. I.E. if it's not found in nature, my body probably shouldn't have it!

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  5. Great post. I became a vegetarian in May of last year. I chose to go vegetarian solely to be healthier & feel better about myself. I don't know if I could ever be a purely vegan though, I think that's pushing it. I still enjoy eggs, cheese, yogurt, milk chocolate & ice cream. I know being a vegan would be harder to eat out in restaurants, it's gotten a bit harder since becoming a vegetarian. It's hard being vegetarian in the South, period. Lol. I do mostly drink vegan milks though (almond, rice, etc.) but I do consume fat free dairy milk once in a blue moon. That being said, I AM in fact a vegan most days out of the week.

    I have vegetarian-only recipes on my blog if you care to be inspired. At first glance, vegetarianism seems difficult & many feel as if they'll miss out on eating their old favorites. I have proved with my recipe that it's not the case. There's so many meat alternatives. It's all about seasoning them with great flavor.

    Here are more GREAT vegetarian/vegan recipes: http://pinterest.com/charlenezale/vegetarian/
    Pinterest is full of vegetarian/vegan recipes & there are many blogs devoted to these diets.

    I look forward to reading more on your vegetarian journey. You won't regret it, I promise. Good luck!

    Charlene Zale

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  6. This is really interesting! I don't eat a lot of meat but I still eat some . . . great job!

    http://therealfoodrunner.blogspot.com/

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  7. *BIG, FAT APPAULSE!*

    I just watched that documentary too! (Along with Hungry for Change)
    While I'm not completely cutting out meat, I'm cutting down a lot! I've already seen such a huge change in my body. (Mostly that gross bloated feeling, you know?)

    It can definitely be hard to make the transition, but it's so awesome that you are! (And what an awesome example for D!) Watching that video had me so horrified and has definitely sparked a few debates since.

    Good luck, my dear! I'm sure your grocery bills with thank you, haha.

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  8. welcome to vegetarianism! i've been a veggie for about 15 years. (yes, really - since i was a kid!) and i've never wanted to go back. i feel like it has challenged me to eat and cook in more creative ways with more creative ingredients. beware though- it doesn't necessarily make groceries cheaper- produce can really add up, unless you're lucky to be around farmer's markets year round!!! it DOES make going out to eat a lot cheaper though! good luck lady!

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  9. My husband and I are limited meat eat. The majority of what meat we do eat comes from a local farm where the animals are well cared for, happy & drug free. Good luck with this change.

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  10. You should definitely check out this blog-- she has great tips for eating clean. http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/ Good luck!! I definitely agree about when you eat crap you feel like crap!

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  11. I have to say Jenna--I have never felt more horrible than I did when I was almost a vegetarian! If you want to cut out processed foods, you should try to say goodbye to sugar, dairy, and grains. More vegetables and responsibly raised meat is good for you! Just my two cents. Either way, good luck to you!

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  12. YUP!!!! The meat industry is disgusting and disturbing on SO MANY levels.

    I was vegetarian for 13 years and a vegan for about 2. Now I rarely eat white meat or fish but I comletely understand and you'll feel great as long as you stay away from too many carbs which can be a killer for vegitarians. Make sure you get enough protein. NUTS...TOFU....ECT. and good for you JEnna. You'll probably feel great:)

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  13. I tried vegetarian for a year and loved it. i only stopped because i got pregnant and i wasn't confident enough that i would be able to eat properly during this super important time. i would love to do it again once this baby pops out. it will be a lot easier if you and your hubby are doing it together too. enjoy the journey.

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  14. This is a fantastic post! I've gone through periods of vegetarianism but I can never make it last; I have a hard time getting enough protein and sticking with it when I get cravings. I'm definitely trying to get smarter about the way I eat, I'm looking forward to reading about your journey and hopefully picking up some tips!

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  15. we tried this at the beginning of last year & for the most part we did pretty good! it's hard to keep it up when we visit family because they cook dinner for us & i just feel rude saying no thank you. & cy just wasn't as into as i was & still am. sometimes i make meat for him & leave it off my plate or things like that .. vegan was WAY too hard for me - i. love. cheese. - i'm not a vegetarian - i occasionally will have meat but it's not a staple in our home at all. good luck!! :)

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  16. I did the paleo diet for not quite 2 weeks and whike itbwas hard to not eat bread, I really liked it! I was ready to take someone out over a loaf of french bread. ;) we watched Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead and Food Inc and they both made hubs and I really think about what it was we were eating. It would be easier for me to cut out all of the crap (a little harder one week a month) ;) but it's hubs that would struggle I think. And my kids would absolutely revolt but if you don't buy it, you can't eat it so that's where our problem is. I want to get back to it but mostly just eating clean and organic and local when possible. I won't ever cut out meat altogether tho. I personally believe that's why they're here on the earth (religious beliefs on that one) but I like to cut the protions waaaaay down and use it more like a side than as a main dish. But good for you and your hubs! It's awesome to do things like that togetjer amd be on the same page!! :)

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  17. I did the paleo diet for not quite 2 weeks and whike itbwas hard to not eat bread, I really liked it! I was ready to take someone out over a loaf of french bread. ;) we watched Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead and Food Inc and they both made hubs and I really think about what it was we were eating. It would be easier for me to cut out all of the crap (a little harder one week a month) ;) but it's hubs that would struggle I think. And my kids would absolutely revolt but if you don't buy it, you can't eat it so that's where our problem is. I want to get back to it but mostly just eating clean and organic and local when possible. I won't ever cut out meat altogether tho. I personally believe that's why they're here on the earth (religious beliefs on that one) but I like to cut the protions waaaaay down and use it more like a side than as a main dish. But good for you and your hubs! It's awesome to do things like that togetjer amd be on the same page!! :)

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  18. I did the same. I was a vegetarian for 2 weeks just to see if I could do it...and I could, easily. The only downside was that I found myself eating a lot more cheese than I would want to. Good luck, I've found a lot of people who have this same mind set.

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  19. Gosh that is a huge decision to make but it will be a lot easier with the both of you doing it though. I do Meatless Mondays but thats about it! I wish you all the best, I personally couldnt do it I feel really flat and lack energy when I havent had a steak in awhile, but then maybe I just need to dose up on veggies a bit more instead. I look forward to hearing about how you feel 2 weeks from now :)

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  20. I am a vegetarian/vegan MOST of the time. In the same way that I'll eat a ridiculously decadent birthday cake on occasion- I'll eat meat or cheese. I don't force myself to obide by any rules, but really I feel much better when I eat right. I think in our culture we think we need meat or dairy to get all the nutrients we need, but that's not true! You just have to be willing to do your research and branch out in what you eat- you'll have just as much (if not more) energy eating vegan than you do after a steak.

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  21. You go girl! I can't wait for an update on this in a couple of weeks. I am not a vegetarian, but I'm not a huge meat-lover either. We are very blessed that my hubby's parents raise cows, so we get lots of fresh organic beef. But I am such an animal lover, that it still makes me sad.

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  22. I'm not a regular "Wife of the Life" commenter, but you did ask for input, and I assume that was an open invitation ;-) I say if you feel like vegetarianism is the best way to keep your family healthy, then go for it. You do have to be well informed as a vegetarian though to make sure you're getting all the nutrients your body needs. Like amino acids (protein) for example. There are 20 amino acids your body needs, but the body only produces 12 of them itself. The other 8 need to be consumed in our food. Animal sources are the ONLY sources that contain all 8 in one item. You can get all 8 with fruits & veggies, you just have to know which amino acids you're getting from which sources cause you'll have to mix & match to get all 8 (except for quinoa, it has all 8). So read up, do your research, and go for it! I'm excited to hear how it goes for you guys. I'll be sure not to invite the hubs out to Five Guys or Sonny Bryans for our lunches!

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  23. Yes!!!! I love this. I actually started eating vegetarian almost a month ago. I started doing it for health reasons too, and I'm LOVING it. I don't even miss meat at all! I thought I would, but I honestly don't. I don't think I could every be a full on vegan either (CHEESE FOREVER!), but I'm trying to do 2 vegan meals a day, and let myself have a little cheese/other dairy in the 3rd meal. It's been working well and I love it. I recommend something like that if you're wondering just how vegan you want to be. Good luck!!! It's fun to see other people trying the same thing!

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  24. love this! I've been a veggie for about 11 months now. Hard but the best decision that I could have made!

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  25. I have been a pescatarian for 4 years (I eat fish but no poultry, red meat, etc). If anything, it forces you to incorporate more vegetables into your diet! I don't think I can ever go vegan because of my love of cheese, but then again I always said that about meat too, I guess you never know!

    Jonathan Saffron Foer wrote a really good book called, "Eating Animals" that is very interesting, along the same lines as Vegucated. The documenatry Food INC is also life changing!!

    Good luck on your new veggie journey!

    http://ferociafatale.com/2011/10/eating-animals/

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  26. My family is full of meat eaters! I limit myself to chicken/fish and occasionally eat the other stuff, but its so hard to change when everyone else isn't on board! I'm totally bookmarking this though, thanks for the info =) xo

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