With the new school year starting I have been busier than ever! I work as a faculty assistant so it’s my job to support numerous professors that are prepping for their classes. Despite all the chaos, I decided to make some big changes a few weeks ago and that was to switch to a meat-free diet. In this post I will discuss the 10 reasons I stopped eating meat. Keep in mind that this is all from a personal viewpoint and in no way am I dictating that everyone should go meat-free. While I do believe it’s a positive change, I also believe that everyone has the right to choose what’s right for their own bodies. My thoughts below are my personal reasons for making this lifestyle change.
This one is a HUGE reason for me. All my life I have struggled with a sluggish digestive system which makes me feel weighed down and disgustingly bloated. I grew up in rural Pennsylvania where the most common meal is meat and some variation of potatoes. It wasn’t until I went away to college that I started to change up my diet, but still wasn’t totally meat-free. When I went to South Korea it wasn’t so practical to be meat-free as I had no idea half the time what I was eating plus I wanted to experience everything. However, my priorities now have changed 2 years later and after just one week of switching to a meatless diet there was a big difference in my digestive system. Research shows that meat such as beef for example is simply more difficult for the body to digest than plant-based foods. With such a big difference in my body’s response to this new way of eating I truly wish I would have made this dietary change years ago.
Eating fresh veggies and fruits gives your body the fuel it needs. Plus they are typically easier to break down than meat thus leaving you with lots of energy. I find that vegan or plant-based friendly meals leave me feeling full without feeling sick or sluggish. I am able to make it through my day without consuming excess amounts of coffee and sugary drinks like I used to.
- Skin Issues:
After doing a lot of research and hearing YouTubers talk about their own skin issues I was encouraged to this lifestyle change a try. Many people who go vegetarian, plant-based or vegan frequently say that this has helped improve their skin. Personally I have always suffered from painful cystic acne along the sides of my face so I welcome change! As I am three weeks into my new diet I will say I have begun to notice that my acne has become far less frequent than it was before.
Of course this is a given, as I am a total animal lover and I am always the one that makes inhumane cutesy noises every time I see one. > < Can’t help myself! Becoming less of a participant in an industry that profits off of the deaths of animals and pollutes the planet makes me feel like I am doing something positive.
- Weight Loss:
I have made it no secret that it’s my personal goal to lose a little bit of weight, but more than that I just want to lead a healthier lifestyle. I am on the shorter side so any bit of extra weight makes me feel super uncomfortable mainly because I carry weight in my hips and thighs and believe me its super annoying to try to find jeans that are small enough in the waist but large enough in the thighs for my body type (thank goodness for belts). Because I won’t be consuming meat, my meals will naturally consist of more vegetables, tofu, and more. In addition to a healthier diet I have become motivated to work out more. My workout of choice is Blogilates (Check it out on YouTube). I really love Cassey’s quick workouts that are fun and positive plus you can do them in your own home which is always a plus for me.
- Motivation to Cook:
Going meat-free gives me the opportunity to cook and become more creative with my meals. If you follow me on Instagram you can see the various types of meals I prepare for myself. I also do quite a bit of meal prep as I am quite busy during the week. I have a full-time job at a university so it’s crucial that I eat healthy since my job is quite sedentary. I try my best to prepare healthy and tasty meals that will get me through my busy week.
Eating out becomes less convenient when you are a vegan or vegetarian which is a good thing, because it makes it less convenient to eat out excessively thus keeping both my budget and diet in check.
- Consuming Less Processed Foods:
No one can deny that most meat is heavily processed. That’s just the world we live in today. Processed foods are known to wreak havoc on our skin and overall health so knowing I won’t have that in my body is okay by me.
Before going meat-free I did a lot of research and continue to do so as I am still learning. By doing this I have found many fun blogs and YouTube vloggers I otherwise would have never discovered. I really enjoy hearing their perspectives and experiences going meat-free. My personal favorite vloggers so far at Lisa Lorles and Kalel. Both are very positive and offer plenty of fun recipes to try.
- It’s Fun:
Sometimes it’s true that when you tell someone about your choice to go meat-free some people can react negatively. That’s to be expected when it’s not the typical diet for majority, but I see no reason to mold yourself to fit what other people think is right for your own body. You know your body best so do what you feel is right for you. As for myself, going meat-free has been quite fun and I don’t feel like I have given up anything. I am enjoying experimenting and discovering different ways to prepare my favorite dishes with healthier ingredients. If you choose to make a change definitely don’t feel like you’ll be missing out. You will simply be discovering new things.
As of now I am more than happy with my decision to switch to a meatless diet and have never felt better. I have ceased using dairy products as my body reacts badly to them and have begun using cruelty-free substitutions. For cheese I now use Daiya Cheddar Cheese Shreds and they are amazing! For milk, my boyfriend and I used either unsweetened almond milk, cashew, or coconut milk. For yogurt I eat either So-Delicious Yogurt or Silk dairy-free yogurt. When I bake I use ground flax seed or applesauce to substitute the eggs in my recipes. For butter there is Earth Balance Butter which tastes exactly the same. There are a million little ways you can make changes based on what’s best for your body.
People frequently ask me how I would label my diet, but to be honest I don’t really feel the need to label myself at all, because I feel it’s all about listening to your own body’s needs. It is true that the vast majority of my meals are plant-based or vegan friendly, because that’s really all I eat. Yet, I don’t call myself vegan, because I don’t feel fully knowledgeable about all of the lifestyle bits that go along with being vegan. Despite a common misconception veganism and plant-based are very different. Veganism is an entire lifestyle while eating plant-based is more limited to what you eat. As for myself, I do on a rare occasion consume salmon sashimi, but this is so rare and random that I don’t want to call myself pescatarian either. So for now I am just sticking to saying I am eating healthy and doing what’s good for my body. I hope that gave you a little insight on why someone would choose to go meat-free in this day and age. It’s not always the most popular choice, however I feel it has changed my life for the better. In the coming days I will be posting more healthy meat-free recipes so look out for those!