Hello! How is it really only Tuesday I beg you? Feel like I blinked and the weekend passed by and we’re right back to the beginning of the week. Anyways, this past weekend I had brunch with a dear friend and fellow blogger, Lephan of Macarons and Lavender. She told me she had stopped cooking meat at their house and rarely eat it now. We quickly chatted about veggie life and I started reflecting on the past nine months and how I’m feeling. So here are 15 things I’ve noticed since becoming a vegetarian.
1. I (probably) eat more protein now – when I was eating meat, I wasn’t really paying attention to the quality or amounts I was eating. I didn’t particularly enjoy meat so I’d eat a few bites and move on to the carbs.
2. I eat way more vegetables – Maybe obvious, but I didn’t realize how many yummy vegetables were out there. I’ve even started to try (gasp) mushrooms.
3. Trying new things is easy – I used to be afraid of trying new foods, mostly because I thought a lot of meats and vegetables were gross. Now, food from the ground doesn’t scare me, I’ll try pretty much any vegetarian dish.
4. My skin cleared up – At a recent dermatologist appointment, my doctor noted how clear my skin was. I’ve struggled with acne since I was 17 and it seems giving up meat has made a more significant impact than any creams or meds that I’ve tried.
5. People are very concerned about my protein intake – When I tell people I am a vegetarian, one of the first questions I get asked is, “are you eating enough protein?” According to my recent blood test, yes. I’m getting plenty, thanks for asking.
6. My nails are stronger – Probably because I’m more aware of my veggie intake, but they’ve definitely grown stronger and faster than before.
7. I haven’t gotten sick – I’m usually one to get sick with at least two colds during the winter months, and with a highly contagious flu, I thought I was doomed. Yet, I never got sick (aside from a minor sore throat) which was a first.
8. Cravings were real – I say “were” because I very rarely crave any sort of meat these days. In the beginning, buffalo chicken, chicken nuggets, and of course bacon, were hard to turn down. Now, it’s not such a struggle.
9. People ask if “I’m still doing that” – Giving up meat wasn’t a choice I made overnight but I quickly found I was living within my morals and values once I did. I didn’t give up meat to make a statement or try a trend, I did so because I didn’t enjoy feeling guilty and unhappy with my choices. I don’t see that changing anytime soon, so yeah, I’ll be “doing that” for a while.
10. Eating meat haunts my dreams – Perhaps a stranger side effect, but I’ve woken up many mornings worried I had somehow eaten meat the night before. While transitioning to a vegetarian diet, I’ve had the plenty of dreams that confused me the next day. Luckily, they’ve subsided in the past few months.
11. I’m more mindful – I’m overall more connected to my body and how I’m feeling on a daily/weekly basis. I take better inventory of what’s happening and understand my body better than I ever have.
12. There is such a thing as a lazy vegetarian – Cheese pizza, pasta, donuts, bread, and all the desserts you could want are meat-free. There are days and weeks when I am a bad vegetarian and don’t give my body the nutrients I know it needs. Nobody is perfect.
13. No more 3 p.m. slump – I used to hit that midday slump, not so much anymore. Without meat in my lunches, I have found I’m more alert in the afternoon.
14. Calling myself a vegetarian was intimidating – What if I wasn’t doing this all right? What are the rules? Is it okay that I picked at my friend’s leftover pasta but avoided the meat? I didn’t want to label myself as something only to fall short of others’ expectations. Luckily, this is my journey and all that matters is that I’m living within my values and what makes me happy.
15. I couldn’t have done it without my husband – Chris didn’t marry a vegetarian who blogged about rescue animals, but here we are. When I brought up the idea of becoming a vegetarian, he was beyond supportive and understanding. He never ordered our favorite meat dishes in front of me and maintains a veggie diet with me in our home. I’m so fortunate to have him by my side.
I get plenty of inquiries and questions about my veggie life and I’m more than happy to answer them. People often think I’ll judge them for eating meat, but that’s not the case. It took me almost 30 years to recognize what my body and mind was telling me and everyone’s path is different. If you are thinking about giving up meat, I highly encourage you to try Meatless Mondays and cooking a meat-free dish every week. From there you can experiment and see if it’s something you enjoy.
I’ve linked a few of my favorite vegetarian and vegan recipes below. What’s your favorite vegetarian dish? Let me know in the comments below!
Broccoli Cheddar Quinoa Casserole – My weekly staple and oh-so-good
Cauliflower and Lentil Tacos – One of my favorites, a bit more complicated but super yummy!
Gnocchi with Spinach – Very easy and very good
Asian Quinoa Stir Fry – Simple and so satisfying, my husband loves this dish.
When K94Keeps reached out to me asking if I would meet them out in West Chicago to shoot with two of their dogs, I didn’t hesitate. These two very good dogs have been waiting far too long for their forever homes.
Nala – If you just want to chill, go for 12-minute walks, and then chill some more, meet Nala. She’s absolutely squishy and loves to… chill. She’s an extremely sweet, food-motivated, happy girl that’s been patiently waiting for an adoptive family. She gets along with children and calm, bigger dogs. She’ll gladly be your snuggly buddy for life – click here to become Nala’s bff.
Rocky – Oh, you want a super special, highly trained, know-it-all dog? Well here’s Rocky, he’s just a goofy guy with tons of energy and willingness to learn any command you’d like. He’s highly food motivated which means he’ll be ready for anything you want to teach him. He would love agility and task-oriented games. If you’re ready to be the elite pup trainer, click here.
While in LA, I got to shop one of my favorite brands, reformation. Reformation is all about reducing, reusing, and recycling. I’ve been stalked their website for years but finally was able to shop their pop up shop in Venice Beach. I bought this body suit and I’ve been wearing it on repeat since. It’s paired here with these Levi’s that I bought at Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale for super cheap. I love how they fit and feel, plus the high rise is always welcome. I topped off the outfit with a choker and mules. Shop the look below!
Photos: Chris Valerio