Friday, December 13, 2013

New Things: Veggin' Out

This past summer was definitely one of the craziest yet for us, but I'm happy to report things are finally settling down and we're getting back into a good rhythm again (well, as much as possible, at least).

As has always been the case in the past for me, when things get crazy, I gain weight. I know it's a factor of three things: 1) stress, 2) eating larger portions and being extra indulgent (not holding back, "you've had a long day, eat a whole pan of brownies" kinds of things), and 3) not training. Luckily I haven't put on many extra pounds this time around, but I was definitely feeling sluggish and just blah after we finally got settled in the new house.

I'm the kind of person who believes that certain things happen for a reason. Fast forward to Jennifer's birthday at the end of October where the boys and I gave her the new No Meat Athlete book that had just been released:

Click to learn more
As you may or may not know, Jennifer has been a vegetarian for almost 3 years now, and has been following the No Meat Athlete blog for about as long.

I was excited to read the book, but I didn't realize it would strike such a chord with me.

As you probably guessed from the title, I'm going vegetarian. For how long? I'm not sure.

The Back Story

Three years ago was sort of a defining time for Jennifer and I. We had been running for a couple years and were starting to branch off into other sports (well, she was, at least). We were making a concerted effort to get healthier and eat better.

And then we watched Forks Over Knives.

Same thing, click to learn more
I think Jennifer went vegetarian immediately, but even though I was blown away by the film, I just couldn't commit.

I think I was afraid. Of what? Of not being able to stick to it, I guess. Or starving, because I'm not really a fruit and veggie kind of person (at least I didn't think so).

However, I did want to greatly reduce the amount of meat I ate, which was pretty easy since we stopped buying meat at the grocery. And so the next few years went on like that - I was basically vegetarian during the week, but if we went out on the weekends I wouldn't hesitate to order a burger.

So what's different now?

Something has changed in these last few months (or rather I have, I guess). It's probably easiest to summarize with a list:

  • I felt like I was in a rut with food, tired of eating the same things and not really enjoying what I was eating.
  • I felt like my diet was way out of balance, and I felt it -- I had gained weight, and I felt sluggish and cloudy-headed. My portion sizes definitely had something to do with that, too.
  • Jennifer and I both completely agree on raising baby G as a vegetarian, at least until he's old enough to make his own choices. It's hard to not feel like a big ol' hypocrite if I were to eat something we didn't want him to.
  • I'm curious to see what effect it will have on my training and racing. The No Meat Athlete book talks about elite athletes who have gone vegetarian or vegan in order to be more competitive... I'm willing to be my own guinea pig and see for myself.
  • I have a (nearly debilitating) fear of hospitals and needles and those kinds of things; if this helps me avoid that stuff longer than I would have otherwise, it's worth it in my book.
  • While I do think it's completely acceptable for humans to eat meat, I don't agree with what the big companies in that industry are doing. (I just don't think they have our health in mind; they're just out to make money.) Also, I know I could never kill and clean an animal to eat it, so I would be a vegetarian if I had to do that part of it.
Side note: I hope I'm not coming across as preachy or anything like that. I don't intend to be. My guess is that you're reading this (and have read this far) because you're curious as to why I've decided to do it. While I have many reasons, I can't put them into words as eloquently as others. Ultimately, this just feels right to me at this point in my life.
Like I said before, I'm not sure where this is going for me. In some ways, it was a decision I made overnight, but really it's been in the works almost 3 years now.

And I'm honestly not sure how long it's going to last.

I've been hesitant to call myself a vegetarian -- mostly because I'm only a month and a half into it (although I have successfully made it through Thanksgiving!). I'm still just taking it day by day, meal by meal.

For me, it's more about trying to make better choices than it is strictly avoiding meat.

So Far

I have absolutely noticed positive changes in my energy levels and attitude over the last few weeks. This could be a placebo effect, but I don't think so. (Note that the fact that I'm training again definitely factors into this as well.)

Do I miss meat?

Sometimes. There have been times where I'll smell something someone is cooking and I'll want it. Or I'll think of something with meat in it that sounds good (like the chicken salad we've had on hand for B, which happens to be something I used to love). But I think it's just because I'm hungry and my body was conditioned to eating those things for so long.

In short, the reasons for not eating meat still outweigh the reasons to eat it, which is something I was curious about when I first started. To me that confirms that I'm doing the right thing.

Next Steps

Now that I feel like this is something I can continue without much effort, my next step is to make sure I'm eating the right things to fuel my body appropriately for my training.

I'm bad about getting on a kick and eating the same things over and over, so I need to make sure I eat enough of a variety of things so I don't become deficient in any nutrients (although I'm pretty sure I'm eating more of a variety now than I did before).

So that's one big change I've been making recently. Of course I'll keep you posted as to how it's going as I progress through my training.

As always, thanks for reading and for the support!

2 comments:

  1. awesome! forks over knives changed the way i ate as well. i am where you were - vegetarian 95% of the time, i'll eat meat if we go out or i'm being super lazy. its an eye opener. it even made KC alter his diet, which let's face it - who saw that coming?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yeah, I didn't see that one coming at all, but that's awesome!

    ReplyDelete

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