So about 8 months ago I decided to give up meat (though I am eating fish so am technically a pescatarian not a vegetarian). I’ve found it really easy, Australia is surprisingly great for non-meaty options contrary to popular belief!
A lot of people are completely misinformed about a meat free diet. Most think you can’t get enough protein- but they are wrong. My lifesavers have been tofu, legumes, eggs, nuts (and fish as I’m not a full vegetarian). Iron deficiency is also another concern people have- but iron is present in tofu, mushrooms, spinach, beans, lentils…etc!
Not that I’m pro killing innocent animals, but animal rights was not my primary motivator for giving up meat- health was. I definitely feel much healthier since I made the move. Processed meats were previously featuring in my diet. They have been linked to very bad things for your body including a direct link to bowel cancer. There is nothing unhealthy about good quality meat in your diet but for me I’ve eaten so much better since making the switch. As I can’t take the easy option of grabbing some meaty choice, I’m planning my meals more and when I do eat out making much healthier choices. So as a bonus my skin is clearer and I’ve lost a few pounds too. Oh and did I mention it’s much cheaper not buying meat?
There are some serious health benefits associated with vegetarianism- a report published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition stated “Recent scientific advances seem to have resulted in a paradigm shift: diets largely based on plant foods, such as well-balanced vegetarian diets, are viewed more as improving health than as causing disease, in contrast with meat-based diets.”
This has been backed up in numerous studies. However all of these studies involve healthy, well rounded vegetarian diets, simply giving up meat and not otherwise changing your diet won’t work.
The biggest issue I’ve had is eating out. My old favourite Italian is pretty useless for vegetarian options that don’t involve loads of cheese and carbs. I’ve found Asian food the best as there are always so many veggie options, and Sydney is awash with Asian cuisine. Sushi has to be the all-time most convenient, delicious, cheap snack!
Cooking is as easy as ever once you grasp a few recipes- Stonesoup has some amazing vegetarian recipes with 5 ingredients or under. I’ve been eating a lot of vegan meals too, it’s quite fun coming up with vegan recipes as you have to be really creative. Healthybitchdaily (from the writer of the book Skinny Bitch) is a really cool website, and their newsletter is always informative and fun. But simply stir frying some tofu, beans, veggies and adding a tin of tomatoes and some spices is literally the easiest thing I’ve ever cooked and tastes delicious.
Overall I definitely recommend giving up meat, try it for a month and see how creative you can get with your diet-you’ll be eating more vegetables, less fat, and more variety!