Is a vegetarian diet for me?
It’s been just over a week of my vegetarian diet so I thought I’d share my experience so far! I mentioned from the start that this was not a diet that I planned to continue long term but that I just wanted to see how my body responded to fueling it differently. For this experiment I did allow myself to eat eggs and various protein powders but removed meat sources. I have seen more and more people go vegetarian or vegan as of late and hear/read about the benefits but wanted to personally give it a trial. Whether the vegetarian or vegan diet is right for me or not, it’s important for me to understand it and continue to educate myself so that I not only stay in tune with what makes me feel best but also so that I can best help my clients that follow this nutritional approach. I know 10 days isn’t very long but I feel like I have gathered enough pros and cons to share. With that said, below is what I got for you:
Overall body response:
On the plus side, I definitely got more micronutrients into my diet as I compensated for the lack of meat sources. The more micronutrients led to more fiber which led to a better digestive system. The better digestive system led to better energy. I also felt “detoxed” and less bloated. With that said, some of the seasonings I typically use on my meat are higher in sodium which hold onto more water. I also have to admit I don’t always buy the very best protein sources so the sodium in the meat alone could have been part of my water retention.
On the down side, I didn’t feel as full as I normally do. My body is used to more protein and while I tried to maintain a higher protein diet without meat it wasn’t as easy for me. Also, I consumed a lot more fats than usual which slow down your digestion and should leave you feeling fuller for longer but I still felt hungrier than usual. Additionally, while this diet focus was to eliminate meat, I also ended up minimizing dairy and gluten (unintentially) so all of the above symptoms might not even be from meat elimination but from dairy and gluten limitation. I didn’t even realize this until I made an egg white wrap the other day and instantly got a stomach ache from the wrap or cheese I used. So after all is said and done did I discover a gluten and/or diary allergy? Or did elimination actually create an intolerance?
This isn’t something that I monitored but if I had to guess I probably lost a little bit of water weight. As far as fat loss my body usually responds well to higher protein and carbs and lower fat so I would imagine the higher fat this week kept me at about maintenance.
Exercise performance and recovery:
My performance with my workouts stayed about the same. No noticeable difference in intra workout performance or post workout recovery. With that said, I would be willing to experiment with this more since I used protein powder post workout as I always do since it’s a quick digesting protein.
I haven’t been craving chicken, turkey, or red meat but I have been craving seafood. I actually got haddock at the grocery store for dinner tonight. Spoiler alert: eating fish now. Pescatarian would actually be a realistic diet for me.
I think at the end of the day while there is still more to look into here there were a few things that stood out to me that I will be implementing or staying alert of with my diet going forward:
Pay closer attention to the quality of meat that I buy as in, don’t just buy what’s on sale.
Explore more plant based protein sources that will keep me full and at a satiated state.
Keep an eye on dairy and gluten consumption. If it isn’t broke, I am not going to try and fix it. My body has always been gluten and dairy tolerant and it only reacts negatively if it’s been removed from my diet for a while. Keeping in mine our bodies do change over time.
If you have recently gone vegan or vegatarian, I would love to hear about your experience so far in the comments below!