When I posted the recipe for my vegetarian “meatball” and mozzarella sliders, I mentioned that I wanted to write a post about why I chose to be a vegetarian. I had one original reason, but once I started, the benefits started pouring in, and the more research I did, the more certain I felt in my decision.
I decided to cut meat from my diet because, simply put, I wanted to feel better.
That was it. I wanted my body to feel better.
I credit my lifelong friend Meagan with my ability to do it in the beginning. She’s been a vegetarian for years, and she was one of the first people I contacted when I started. She set me up with some recipes, and when we all went to the lake together with our carnivorous families, she and her boyfriend made sure we had really good alternatives. Honestly, her help in the first month is immeasurable ❤️
After the first two months, I really noticed a change. It’s hard in the beginning, making the mistakes that rookies make. Why am I gaining weight?? Oh, because I replaced meat with pasta and cheese. You laugh, but it happens. Happened to me!
Now that I have a better grasp of cooking veggies, though, I’m set. I think that’s a mistake that many veggie newbies make. If you simply replace meat with overly processed quotation meat (you know … “chicken”) and boxed snackys that are meat-free, your health won’t get any better. Substituting one bad thing for another just runs you in circles.
I know it will sound silly, but I feel bouncier, and my blood sugar as stabilized considerably.
Like I said, the desire to simply feel better was my catalyst. There are lots of different reasons from many people, but few stop eating meat and regret it. Let me describe five good reasons to go vegetarian.
one. You will feel better and be healthier.
Consuming saturated fats, which are primarily found in meat and dairy, raises the cholesterol in your blood, and higher cholesterol levels increase your risk for heart disease. Vegetarians have been shown to have a 24% lower risk of dying of heart disease than non-vegetarians. Some research even shows that those who follow a vegetarian diet may even reverse coronary heart disease. Vegetarians are less likely to suffer from hypertension (because of overall lower body weight and eating more fruits and vegetables). Vegetarians have a lower risk of developing type II diabetes. Plus, eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains leads to both an overall slimmer body (hello, lots of fiber :)) and glowy skin (from the abundance of antioxidants).
And you’ll feel bouncy. Trust me, you’ll know it when it happens.
two. You’ll save some money.
Both in diet-related diseases and grocery store trips. Like I described above, meat can do some gnarly things to your body, especially mass-market meat full of hormones and disease. You don’t have to spend the money for cholesterol meds if you don’t have a cholesterol problem.* And at the store? Whew. Much cheaper to buy a stalk of broccoli and a pound (pound!) of black beans than some slimy chicken. Once you get in your groove with cooking, you’ll find that veggie eats are delicious, and you can save your money for something you really want.
three. You’re doing a solid for the planet.
This was something that truly sat on my heart once I started doing some reading. Aquanet kills the ozone, deforestation is terrible, oil spills are bad, but slaughterhouses? I never thought of the environmental/global impact of the meat industry.
Humans eat 230 million tons(!!) of meat each year. My tiny brain doesn’t even compute numbers that large. That amount of animal life needs an extraordinary volume of food and water, and the methane gas released from animals bred for mass consumption makes up a good deal of emissions. Depending on the report (studies vary), livestock’s contribution to climate change can be calculated as low as 5-10% of global emissions or as high as 50%. It eats up land, poisons the earth, and contributes to deforestation.
I don’t want to sound like a judgy-veggy. I promise, I don’t. But these are reasons, scientific, factual reasons, that the mass livestock market is contributing to the erosion of the environment. Were it 1950 livestockers, this would be different, but we all know how much time has changed food production. Just another thing to think about.
four. Your heart swells up with a love for animals like you’ve never felt.
I’ve always loved animals. L-O-V-E. Dogs and cats and horses and birds and everything in between. For some reason, though, until I stopped eating meat, I had an almost total disconnect between the big, pretty cow eyes I loved so much and the burger I’d eat on the weekend. You know where your burger comes from, but we’ve made it so easy to be disconnected from the food we eat. What I’ve been telling myself is that if I can’t stand to watch how it’s prepared, I shouldn’t be eating it. If you can’t go to YouTube and watch how bacon becomes bacon from start to finish, that may be a reason to reconsider bacon.
five. You have both an excuse to eat junk food or a way out of crap food.
No vegetarian friendly entrees on the menu? Helloooo, mashed potatoes. Shared app look skanky and greasy? I think that has beef broth/shared fryer oil, so I’ll just have another glass of wine. It’s amazing. No matter where you go, everywhere has something you can eat, even if it’s just a plain side salad. Being vegetarian, though, you don’t get guilted into trying food you don’t want to eat.
And there you have it.
A couple of reasons to give it a whirl. Even if you don’t want to go full veggy, going meat free a couple of times a week is a great place to start.
Later this week, I’m putting up a huge vegetarian resources post, from definitions to places to find recipes to books and documentaries. Come back and check it out!