I’ve never been a serious carnivore; red meat stopped making its way into my diet by the time I was seven years old, and white meat only made up a small portion after that. But when I finally disciplined myself into what has now become five ongoing years of vegetarianism, I suddenly noticed some major changes. Here are five things I witnessed just a few months after making the switch:
5) Clearer skin – Like most people, I dealt with acne from time to time. I often found myself staring in the mirror and discovering two or three new blemishes to go with whatever outfit I was wearing that day. Since rediscovering my love for vegetables, my breakouts have practically stopped altogether. The unwanted additives, hormones, and other unwelcome guests found in meat products today simply don’t work for “ye old epidermis,” especially if you’re eating something deep fried. If you’re tired of dealing with acne, turn your back on beef and give yams, carrots or avocadoes a chance. All contain heavy amounts of vitamin A, to ensure that clearer, brighter look you’re aiming for.
4) More energy – This may seem strange, but by saying no to meat, I found myself invigorated and feeling like I could accomplish physical feats never before attempted. I was staying longer in the gym, running greater distances, and feeling strong and energetic enough to go beyond my previous limitations. During my days as a meat-eater, I often felt tired easily, likely because meat is heavy and hard to digest. Think of steak as a lead weight around your shoulders. No matter where you go, it’s going to slow you down.
3) Stronger, toned physique – Here’s the real conundrum. Having worked with personal trainers before, I was often told that eating meat was the perfect way to stock up on protein after the gym. The funny thing was that I didn’t start to notice real results until giving up meat for good! Yes, meat does carry a lot of protein. We’ll give it that, but it also carries a lot of fat, and while you may be building your pecks and deltoids, you’re adding layers onto your abs and thighs. By eating protein alternatives like whey, beans and nuts, I was able to limit my fat intake, while also getting the muscle-building proteins I needed to stay toned and sleek.
2) Whiter teeth – I suddenly noticed that my teeth began to appear more “pearly.” While this was never a huge problem before, sometimes meat and its contents are so dark and strong that they can leave a nasty residue on whatever surface they tread. Meat is like a venti cup of coffee at the wrong hour; it may get you through the day, but the aftermath isn’t always pleasant.
1) A sense of accomplishment – Okay, here’s where I get a bit corny… Making a major transition in one’s lifestyle is never easy, and in surpassing something that was hard, I’ve now been doing it for so long that it almost feels natural, and my pre-vegetarian days feel like odd, distant times. This feeling alone was worth the journey, and gives me the idea that I can accomplish more than I ever thought possible.
With all this in mind, maybe a life of greens and berries isn’t so bad. The health benefits are there, and you’ll be doing more for your body, mind and soul than any certified trainer or health professional could ever give you.