In 2011, I gave up meat for lent . My body has loved the change. I certainly missed meat for the first few months, and for about a year afte...

Giving It Up

In 2011, I gave up meat for lent. My body has loved the change. I certainly missed meat for the first few months, and for about a year after that, I continued to eat meat on rare occasions.

In the past six months or so, I have given up meat completely. Once we learned to cook without it, it has become so natural.

Dan requested chicken recently so we bought one and roasted it. Making meat-free meals is so habitual that I had to prompt him several times to use the meat before it went bad.

After some recent events, I'm ready to take the next step.

First, I read The Food Revolution by John Robbins. I definitely don't agree with everything he said, but I agree with the general message of the book. Since reading it, I've definitely thought twice about consuming non-organic animal products, including those used in commercial baked goods.

Second, we stopped buying most packaged foods. Dan and I had begun to rely on crackers and cookies to round out our diets. When hungry, I found myself reaching in the pantry and eating Triscuits by the fistful. I told myself it was ok, because I purchased generally healthy choices--graham crackers, Triscuits, and a very small selection of cold cereals. Still, I knew that wasn't how I wanted to eat.

Third, I travelled for a week. I didn't have any of my usual staples--cheese, milk, sugar, etc. I essentially got to create my diet from scratch and I made great choices. I ate a lot of nuts, fruits, vegetables and grains. What didn't I eat? Dairy. Sweeteners. Animal fats. What happened? My acne went away. No, seriously. I've had acne since I was 12, and while it's gotten better in the last few years, it's now 95% gone in a week. I'm convinced. And it really wasn't that difficult.

Fourth, it was happening slowly already. I've talked before about my reliance on dairy, and my desire to eliminate that. Well, I was having success. Recently, I've severely cut back on my cheese intake. Breakfasts now involve oats and PB&J's instead of cold cereal with milk every morning. I still eat eggs once a week or so, and I'm ok with that.

In light of these changes, I'm ready to really commit to a plant-based diet. I still plan to take fish oil supplements, because I believe they improve my training. I also still expect to eat eggs on occasion.

Overall, though, I'd like my diet to be at least 95% plant based.

It's going to be a lifestyle change, and it's going to have to change the way we cook and feed ourselves. Whole, single-ingredient foods are going to have to be the center of our meals--nuts, fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds. That's a great thing--these are the foods that make me feel best and keep me healthy for training.

Since I started eating more fruits and vegetables, as a result of eliminating meat, I've hardly gotten sick (even when the people around me do), I've solved a lot of digestive issues, and I've improved a lot of aspects of my life.

Please bear with me as we make these changes. I'm sure we will adjust the specifics of our diet several more times as we tweak it to figure out what foods work best for our bodies, schedules and needs. In return, I will try to be open and honest about the process of finding our own diet.

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