I love seeing friends and family improve their life. Even better is when they are inspired to share their journey with my readers! My very good friend Keirtsyn, (former Waterton roommate, bridesmaid, and all around lovely person) sent me a great article sharing her 2018 journey to improving her health. Enjoy!
In late fall of 2017 I found myself looking at turning 30 and having a mild existential crisis about it. I drank, smoked and ate bad food (2 words for you- Chicken Nuggets)
I wasn’t where I wanted to be in my life- mentally or physically. Then I got told by my Doctor that I needed to lose weight, quit smoking and get my diet in check. That was all I needed. I needed to find a better path.
I needed to find my Better.
And in January, I found it.
I quit smoking and eating meat (Jan 6th and 10th respectively). And let me tell you. It felt AMAZING!
- I was sleeping better (I’ve been a restless sleeper my whole life)
- Was more focused
- Had more energy
- Didn’t need as much caffeine (still drank copious amounts anyway)
- It saved me a bunch of money.
The biggest thing I’ve learnt from going vegetarian is that feeling better is what matters. Whether you go gluten free, paleo, vegan, kosher, what ever dietary plan you choose, do it for you. Don’t let people stop you from finding your better-remember you don’t have to justify it to anyone. If it makes sense to you and its safe for you to do then DO IT!!
What I’ve learned about being a vegetarian:
- It was a little intimidating- there’s a lot of sneaky ways that meat sneaks into our everyday food (I was a little heart broken when I realized the Gnocchi at one of my favourite restaurants had chicken stock in the sauce)
- You will most likely find a vegetarian version of your favourite foods (Yves products are amazing)
- People will suddenly develop nutrition degrees when you tell them that you’ve made a change to your diet
- A lot of people don’t know the difference between vegan and vegetarian (it would shock you the amount of times I’ve been asked if i eat cheese and eggs)
- You’ll learn to be less timid at restaurants (don’t be afraid to ask for substitutions- on behalf of all severs- please be polite)
- Make sure your getting enough protein- I will admit this is something I continue to work on. I keep a protein rich meal replacement shake powder at my desk and often add it to my meals at home for an extra boost
- Cut your friends slack- I recently had dinner at a friend’s house and she told me she was intimidated to cook vegetarian and I felt so bad that she felt intimidated by a choice I made (She crushed it though- she made this Polish Leek Soup that makes my mouth water thinking about it)
- Don’t be afraid to speak up. I had a friend who was cooking a pork-loin for a dinner party and she was about to cook the asparagus on the same sheet tray- and I asked her if she could cook some asparagus separately. And she did. *Being polite and using manners works wonders in life*
- Learn more about food- you will instinctively begin to read food labels and become more aware of how your body reacts to certain food-
- You will want to break and eat meat and if you do then that’s okay. NOBODY is perfect. But you will most likely feel gross after.
The closest I have come so far to eating meat was when I was camping over Canada Day Long Weekend- my good friend was eating a beautiful perfectly cooked steak, he had a cigarette in one hand and a fork full of steak in the other hand… and let me tell you- for about a minute I seriously contemplated punching him in the face, taking the steak and the cigarette and thoroughly enjoying them both.
When I told him that later in the weekend he looked at me and just said “you wouldn’t have had to punch me in the face- you could have just asked and I would have given you some”
My point is that whatever dietary plan you want to try (and again if it’s safe for you to do) then try it!!
Don’t be afraid to cut something out to see how it makes you feel- since I got off the meat I feel so much better and isn’t that what it’s all about?
Also- as a heads up, your body adapts quicker than you think to not eating meat- so if you do reintroduce it to your diet just be aware that your tummy might not be on board.
Ease Into It
You also don’t have to go full tilt right out of the gate- I cut out red meat a year before I went full vegetarian and that helped a lot and I would 100% recommend it to anyone. Slow and steady is always a solid game plan. And remember- change doesn’t happen overnight. It may take time feel the effects of changes in your diet- don’t be discouraged.
If you have been medically advised to cut out a food (or group of food) then PLEASE listen, the doctors aren’t telling you not to eat lactose because they feel like it- they are telling you not to eat it because it’s better for you.
Also don’t be that person who makes everyone feel bad for eating the food you can’t (or choose not to).
Try new eating habits, try out gluten free, try paleo- do what makes you happy! And most importantly of all do what makes you feel BETTER!!
Thanks for reading…. I hope you find the courage to a new dietary plan- you never know what can happen!
Follow Keirstyn’s food journey on Instagram @beariverwithme.
Thanks Keir for sharing! You’re awesome!