Since the January 1st, I’ve been seeing posts everywhere about creating healthier habits. It’s all the buzz every new year! I’m nowhere near 100% as far as clean eating but I’ve gotten much better over time. One question I always get is “Why don’t you eat meat?” My black card is automatically revoked when I say I don’t eat chicken. And I’m assumed to be Muslim when I say I don’t do pork.
But lately I’ve been getting questions from people who want to eat less meat. If you’re on the fence about making a similar change, maybe my experience will help.
In May 2010 (roughly) I decided to stop eating pork for a month. I was living at home and my family ate a lot of fried pork chops. After the month was over my grandma baked some chops. I thought to myself “Oh good, it’s baked, much healthier.” So I packed one for work and when lunchtime came I was ready to chow down on the little piggy. But once I was done eating, I didn’t feel good. My stomach felt weird and all of a sudden I felt slowful and tired. And no it wasn’t the itis! I knew it was the pork so right then and there I stopped eating it.
I continued eating beef, chicken and turkey. In March 2013 I was curious about how my body would feel if I stopped eating meat. So I did another 30 day experiment. At the end of it, I felt the same so I tried easing back into eating meat by making myself a turkey sandwich. You already know what happened. My stomach was messed up. So that night I cut meat and poultry completely from my life.
A few months ago I found out that I had uterine fibroids and needed surgery to have them removed. You can read more about that and see photos here, if your stomach can handle it. During my healing process I learned that meat is one of the main causes of fibroids in women because of how the animals are raised with hormones. Even if you get meats organic or fresh, it’s hard to digest. I’m thinking that one day I’ll even cut fish and seafood from my diet as well.
Over the years there have been so many recalls on meats, plants and even VEGETABLES! What?! It feels like the best thing to do is go in the backyard and eat grass. This change wasn’t easy to adjust to. I didn’t ease into it, I did it cold turkey. Unless your will power is iron clad, it will be a challenge. But here are a few positives for me…
It forces me to be healthier. You can easily find “chicken” or “beef” (because really, we don’t know what the heck is in food these days) while you’re on the go and for a decent price. Try finding shrimp or fish. If you do, it’s likely fried or expensive. Because of this I cook a lot more. I know exactly what’s in my food and control how much salt I’m eating.
It makes me more creative. Fish, seafood, vegetables. You see how that can get repetitive? I’ve tried things that I might not have if I still had meat in my diet. Brussel sprouts, butternut squash, pancakes from scratch, split peas – I could go on and on about all the new things I’ve eaten since becoming pescatarian. My diet is more whole now.
It strengthened my mind. “I don’t know how you do it, I just gotta have chicken.” No, you don’t. You’ve trained your body to believe that you need chicken. After cutting out meat and poultry I started to learn more about how powerful the mind is. And how we create unhealthy lifestyles without realizing the damage we’re doing. Eat to live, don’t live to eat. #goals.
Of course I know we’re human and there’s nothing wrong with indulging sometimes. It’s all about moderation and doing what’s best for YOUR body. Now…if only I could cut out ice cream and cake…
Are you making healthier food choices in 2016? What methods have been successful for you?
Until next time…