After almost two years of blogging I can't believe I haven't explained why I am a vegetarian yet! Now seems like the perfect time since I'm questioning whether or not it is the healthiest dietary choice for me. This May will mark my 7 year anniversary of being meat free. I am extremely proud of that! I decided to give up meat in 2007 the Summer before I started graduate school for two main reasons:
1. I love animals
2. Excess meat can be unhealthy
Before I get further into explaining my decision let me preface it by saying I am absolutely 100% open and accepting of all other dietary choices! Every guy I've dated has been a meat eater, most of my friends are, and I never EVER say anything to someone about eating meat unless they ask me (I can't stand condescending vegetarians/vegans.)
After doing a bit of research I felt like a vegetarian diet would be healthier for me. At the time I was living with my boyfriend, an Italian kid from Brooklyn, and we ate meat at almost every meal daily. Dinner was usually pasta with chicken or meatballs (and homemade sauce!), hamburgers, chicken wings, or something similar. Almost zero vegetables, and all meals were carb/meat centric. At this time I was at my heaviest (about 170 - although in the picture below I think I had already lost a bout 15-20 pounds.)
I felt gross. For many reasons, but one trend I started to notice was that I'd feel even worse after eating a huge meal. Bloated, lethargic, .... just blah. Most of the physical symptoms came from eating heavy meals, but I'm also convinced that some of the negativity I felt came from psychologically beating myself up over eating animals. If you didn't think I was a hippy before you will after this.
I feel like we absorb the energy around us. Ever have that one friend who's a total energy vampire? Every time you are around them all they do is complain/moan and you leave them feeling terrible? Or, say you go on a super clean eating streak and having nothing but salads and juices for a day and you feel energetic and on top of the world? I felt like eating meat from animals that were likely killed painfully after living their entire lives in horrific conditions was eating at me from the inside. I literally couldn't stomach it anymore. The last meat I had was out at one of our favorite restaurants. It was a chicken gouda sandwich and I bit into it and hit one of those gross chewy tendon parts and I put it down and said out loud "I can't do this."
So, that was that. We both became vegetarians (he only lasted a few months) and I immediately felt better. This was about the time that I started to exercise, learned how to eat well, and eventually lost 50 pounds over the next two years. I rarely craved meat, and things were pretty good for me health wise until I was diagnosed with Hashimotos last year. The extreme fatigue I had been dealing with improved in a few months of taking Synthroid. Now, it's back, as are some other psychological/behavioral symptoms and after listening to my body for the last few months I've noticed I've been craving meat more; a lot more.
Two of my favorite bloggers, Jen from Peanut Butter Runner & Leanne from Healthful Pursuit, were both vegetarian/vegan for a while before transitioning back into eating meat. Reading about how much better they feel incorporating animal proteins and fats back into their diet made me start to wonder if I might be doing my body a disservice from denying my cravings.
Problem is - I really don't want to eat meat! So, I'm going to be doing a bit more reading and see how I should progress. As of right now I'm leaning toward going pescatarian (eating seafood.) Growing up we were super poor and even before going vegetarian I only had seafood twice. Some sort of fish when I was in 3rd grade at a friends house (and I spit it out into my napkin) and calamari from Olive Garden on a first date (right before we went and got tattoos.) I know that fish/seafood have feelings to, but I would feel better ethically eating them versus 'real' meat, and I think adding seafood into my diet 1-2x a week may be a good starting point.
I have NO idea how to cook seafood so I'm just going to go get lots of sushi. That totally counts, right?
Have you even transitioned between different diets?
What is your favorite type of seafood (and what is easy to cook at home?)