About a month ago, I decided to take the jump from being an omnivore to being a herbivore. In other words, I’m vegetarian! I had been debating on switching for a while (since the New Year) and started during the first week of June. Today, I’m going to highlight some of the things I have learned during this month of being vegetarian to potentially help those who are thinking about changing to this lifestyle or are already a part of this lifestyle.
WHY I SWITCHED
The most asked question from people when they find out I’m vegetarian is simply, why?
Well, a lot of times throughout my normal day I would munch on foods and candies that contain empty/wasted calories. This means that these snacks would fill me up for a little while, but in the long run don’t help my energy/nutrient levels and would sometimes leave me even more hungry. Now, as a vegetarian, I am eating more organic and filling meals that have more sustainable energy and I find myself reaching for snack foods less. To be honest, after eating a hearty veggie meal I feel a lot more energized and ready to take on the day than before. I don’t know how long I will continue to be vegetarian, but I have enjoyed it so far!
TRYING NEW THINGS
One of the pluses of cutting out meat was that I tried new foods. Previously, whenever I would go to restaurants or even eat meals at home, I would typically stick with the same sort of stuff (chicken, tacos, burgers, meat-filled pastas, etc.). Now, I’m trying out things I never would have if I hadn’t switched to being vegetarian. I have definitely been pushed out of my comfort zones in terms of food, as normally when I see veggies or a plate filled with green and neutral-colored foods, a warning sign goes off in my head that reads, “DON’T EAT THIS!” But boy, was I wrong. The food I tried so hard to stay away from ended up being some of the best tasting food I’ve had to this day. I have also begun experimenting with new seasoning and sauces too.
THINGS TO WATCH FOR
- Protein Intake: Protein is one of the biggest supplements we need on a daily basis and your intake needs to be watched carefully when you first start out as vegetarian as protein can be harder to get when you don’t eat meat. The daily protein intake should be about 50-55 milligrams, but this also depends on the person. If you don’t get enough protein, this can leave you feeling tired and isn’t healthy. Foods like Greek Yogurt, nuts, peanut butter, beans, spinach, and hummus are great ways to get protein. Making sure you get enough protein is key as a vegetarian.
- Eating Enough: When I first started out, I was eating similar sized meals to what I normally ate. For the most part this is okay, but depending on what you’re eating, it’s important to remember that sometimes you may need to eat more servings of a veggie meal than you would of a meat meal. I think feeling completely full after you eat is key (this doesn’t mean you have to feel bloated or anything, just a content full). Then, this ensures you’re getting the proper nutrients and meal size you need. As a vegetarian, it is totally fine to eat more than you would on a normal diet.
Just because you don’t eat meat, doesn’t mean all you can eat is salads. A cookbook I love that has extremely yummy food is Everyday Vegetarian. Two of my favorite recipes from the book are the Mexican-Style Grilled Vegetable Sandwich (a delectable black bean spread was placed on the bun with zuchinni and red onions on top) and Stir Fried Chinese Egg Noodles (an oh-so delicious combination of veggies, eggs, and linguini noodles that makes a fantastic pasta).
Being vegetarian has been an exciting and enlightening journey so far and I hope this post helped you, whether you’re on a plant-based diet or thinking about it. Let me know in the comments if you would like to see more Vegetarian related content because I’d be happy to make it. 😊 Thanks for reading!
Check out my Instagram, @absolutelyolivia, for more of my life and style.
*Excuse the lack of pictures, ya girl is not very good at remembering to take pictures of her food before eating it! 😂