Why being vegetarian/vegan sucks [for some people]

When I first became a vegetarian, I stuck with the basics. Pasta, cheese, black beans, fake soy meat, and salads. Lots of salads. I also enjoyed tofu, which is surprising for a new veg head, as many people think it tastes like rubber.

They obviously haven’t tried my Tex-Mex Tofu Scramble. But I digress…

There are two ways that becoming a vegetarian can go down (in my mind):

1) You become a carb maniac because that’s the only thing you think you can eat….so you gain lots of weight and become sick & tired.

2) You become a salad maniac because that’s the only thing you think you can eat…so you lose some weight, get really excited, but then become sick & tired.

Some people might prefer the second scenario and be okay with that. But I guarantee they won’t last long. In fact, they end up gaining weight anyway because when you severely limit carbohydrates (pasta, bread, crackers, some fruit) your body loses muscle (not fat), and when you reintroduce them into your diet you blow up like a balloon at the Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade. Much like any diet, it’s a vicious cycle.

Not pretty. Or fun.

Obviously there is middle ground, which thankfully I found myself in when I first became vegetarian. However, these extreme scenarios do happen. What’s the difference between my scenario and the others?

Education.

Not the formal ‘I’ve-got-a-nutrition-degree-and-am-working-on-my-doctorate-in-integrative-nutritional-communication-effects-of-biophysics-naturopathy’ kind of education (yes I made that up), but the kind you do on your own. There are plenty of excellent, legitimate research websites out there that can give you accurate information about nutrition. After doing my own, I found that avoiding dairy as much as possible is beneficial to my body, mind, the animals, and the environment. Do I need to remind you of my weekend in Binghamton, NY

Anytime someone tells me they want to cut back on meat or eat more plant-based meals, I first congratulate them. Because just to make that decision is a huge accomplishment. Then I tell them to do their research! We know that a diet consisting of more plant-based proteins, fruits & vegetables, and less animal products is healthier for us, and can even reverse disease.* But if all you eat is pasta and salads, you won’t get the benefits they are talking about. In fact, you’ll probably feel run-down and tired. That will then be your impression of a vegetarian or vegan diet. Again, not pretty. Or fun.

I agree, not everyone’s body reacts the same way to certain foods (beans or legumes, anyone??). But by making the effort to do your own research and taking the time in your kitchen to explore the variety and versatility of plant-based foods, I promise that your body will thank you in the short and long run.

Don’t have time to do your own research? Well, you’re in luck! Since I love you all, oh so much, I’ve decided to add a Feasted Resources page to my blog. I’ll be adding it this week, so be sure to check back.

Have one you’d like to add that’s a favorite of yours? Put it in the comment section below this post, or contact me via email so I can include it! I’m looking for blogs/organizations/research articles/etc.  

*Here is an excerpt from The China Study that briefly explains the basics of their findings. I learned more about nutrition from the introduction of this book than I did in a full semester of nutrition courses at college. That my friends, is sad.

p.s. How was everyone’s St. Patty’s Day?? Any new vegetarian or vegan dishes you made or tried? My Engine 2 Diet Shepherd’s Pie and Happy Herbivore Gravy was a HUGE success! I even made it twice, altering it the second time a bit. See my masterpiece here!

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4 Comments

  1. Good post, very important topic. It’s disappointing when people give veg*ism a try, but go about it the wrong way then end up with a negative expression that they then spread around. It is easy, but you need to be informed!

    Reply
    • Yes! I think you could say the same for anything. With information so readily available now, you really have no excuse not to be informed.

      Reply
  2. Great post – well thought out – going to check out your new page too. All too often folks start out with a skewed idea of what vegetarians actually eat. Research is important!

    Reply

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