It is about a month now since I decided to stop eating meat and, in that time, I have had no red meat or chicken at all. I ate fish once, prawns on Christmas day and there have been minor amounts of dairy products in food I didn’t expect them to be in.
It hasn’t been all that big a change really. The most difficult thing to give up has been the cheese. I miss cheese, hawaiian pizza’s, sweet and sour fish, prawn cocktails and ice cream but not enough to stop being vegetarian.
The longer I stayed away from meat the more I found I was gravitating towards being completely vegan (no meat, seafood, dairy or eggs) rather than vegetarian (no meat) actually.
The first thing I noticed, within a week, was my farts didn’t smell as bad as usual but then, after a couple of weeks, things took a turn for the worse in that area. I did some research and the only thing that seemed to account for the symptoms I had at that point was that my body was detoxing!
That passed after about a week and I felt OK but then something else changed.
For a while there my body seemed to have become sensitive to toxins that never had any noticeable effect on me before. If I had too many cigarettes, I felt sick and too much diet coke gave me intense heartburn which never used to happen. If I let cheese or milk slip into my diet I got the runs too but those things also seem to have settled down now.
I’ve never seen an overweight vegetarian so I must admit I was hoping to lose weight as a side effect and I have but I can still eat a whole pizza even if it is topped with just veggies. I can also eat a whole box of BBQ shapes and I’m eating a lot of bread too so I very much doubt I will lose all my excess weight just through becoming vegan.
It might happen but losing weight is not the main reason I changed my diet so I am not going to count on it. The main reason I think it is possible that I might lose a fair bit of weight is another change in my eating habits that is gradually happening. I seem to be gradually switching my attitude to food away from a “live to eat” focus over to an “eat to live” one.
Take potato chips for example. I love cheese and onion crisps and they caught my eye when I was grocery shopping so I checked the ingredient list hoping they would contain cheese flavouring rather than actual cheese but no such luck. I put them back on the shelf and looked for a substitute. All the other flavours I liked had dairy in them too apart from plain crisps. Plain chips are not exactly a favourite but they are OK so I bought a packet and took them home to pig out on later.
When the time came I opened up the bag and began munching but it wasn’t the same.
When I eat cheese and onion crisps my stomach says “enough” half way through the bag but my taste buds say “more, more” and I will keep eating until they are all gone. With the plain chips my stomach said “enough” half way through the bag and my taste buds just shrugged and said “stop if you want to, we don’t care” so I stopped.
Next time I went shopping I considered getting another packet of plain chips but my taste buds said “why bother?” so I didn’t get them.
It isn’t that I don’t like the taste of the food I am eating now. I like the taste of fruit and vegetables. I always have so that isn’t what’s doing it. The other day I used a mince meat substitute to make my spaghetti bolognaise dish and it tasted every bit as good as the meat version to me. My son even said he thought it actually tasted better than the meat version!
The food I am eating now tastes good but none of it tastes so good it over-rides the signals from my stomach telling me I have eaten enough.
On the other hand, none of it fills me up for any great length of time either so I feel like I am always grazing these days.
I have lost about 3 kilos despite eating whole pizzas, boxes of savoury biscuits and a LOT of bread but will the weight loss continue? I have no idea.
Will my vegetarian diet continue? Definitely! I like myself much better as a vegan.
I even had a dream about a cave-in exposing an underground den in my back yard. Inside the den were a family (Mom, Dad and several babies) of wild geese. They looked at me and showed no fear. I went a bit closer and they still did not react to my presence at all. I looked away from them briefly and, when I looked back, the geese had been replaced with a family of wild pigs who also seemed to accept my presence without fear. Every time I looked away from the den a different type of animal appeared in it and they all had babies with them. All of them saw me and all of them accepted me as part of the scenery. In my dream I remember thinking they all knew they had nothing to fear from me any more and that was why they accepted me.
It felt good and I woke up knowing my subconscious was telling me I have made the right choice.