I started being vegetarian a year ago for health reasons. It was a conscious decision on my end to treat my body better. I’m by no means perfect and it’s still a struggle from time to time.
I won’t want to delve much into persuading anyone of the benefits of being one or the science behind vegetarianism because Google and/or consulting a nutritionist can sort that out for anyone who is interested to really know.
Instead, I do want to share my testimony on the difference this new diet has done for me:
- My digestive system is working beautifully now. I used to get frequent tummy aches and easily suffer from indigestion but since my diet change; not even once. And extremely healthy bowel movements now #TMI
- Metabolic rate has increased although I have strong reasons to believe this has a lot to do with the 10x Cryotherapy sessions I did at Rev Publika Malaysia and for this reason combined with my new diet, I’m burning calories so much easier & faster. Let’s just say burning veggies & carbs is a whole lot easier for the body than meat & dairy!
- No more food comas! Body never feels lethargic even though I stuff my face silly. I don’t feel like I hate myself after over-eating!
- Due to limited food options, I cook so much more now and guess what, that allows me to not only have a well-rounded organic meal, but it does save money in the long run.
- In general, my body feels lighter in ways I can’t quite explain. Perhaps it’s the lack of rotten meat being left for days in my intestines……
On the flip side, it’s obvious being a vegetarian isn’t all fun and games. Yes, it brought a whole lot of positive results for my body and state of mind but it came along with some difficulties to boot. Among them are:
- Eating out became a challenge depending on the country/city I was in. The limited options definitely required more planning and preparation especially if you’re a foodie like me who really takes eating good food as a very sought-after activity to do on a daily basis. Also, prior planning is needed for when I jump on the plane (need to remember to pre-request for vegetarian meals), when I’m filming or on the job that provides meals, etc etc. But the travelling and working world is incredibly accommodating so it was more a matter of me pre-planning.
- The common misconception is, “How would you get your protein?” But that is a far cry from the REAL nutrient that goes amiss when turning vegetarian. Protein is easily found in soy, quinoa, eggs, barley, beans, wheat, spirulina, nuts… the list can get pretty hefty. So protein is really the least of the concerns.
But IRON… See, as women, we lose blood every month and our red blood cells get lost in the mix of that occurrence, which also means we need a fair bit of iron. My body was still adjusting to the diet and at the time I wasn’t aware (I was concerned about the wrong nutrient) that I would lack iron due to my diet change. After experiencing lousy stamina & fainting spells from outdoor activities with prolonged sun exposure and when I did circuit challenges, I went to do some blood work and figured out the problem. After my doctor & nutritionist consultations and with my own nifty research on the web, I’m all sorted now and better than ever! Just a matter of identifying the right kinds of foods I should consume more to ensure my iron intake is sufficient for me.
- Navigating social networks and peer pressure is not the simplest of things and must be heavily considered if you care a lot about what people think of you and what sort of image you stand for. You may come off as less approachable and even rigid and you have to be okay with those possible misconceptions.
As for me? I don’t mind at all people thinking I am both those things because perhaps I am. I like standing for my choices and being proud of the life choices I make and if that makes me look rigid, I’m really okay with that.
- Possibly the most annoying thing about being a vegetarian, being asked WHY I decided to be a vegetarian. But just like how it’s annoying when people eat with their mouth open or people who stand super close to you in a line-up or drivers who don’t signal or people who talk loudly on their mobile phones….. you find yourself getting annoyed but still putting up with it anyway.
- And the toughest thing was to wrap my mum’s head around cooking vegetarian friendly food for me. I had to endure months of complaining before she realized that it was a lot simpler and easier to cook meat-free dishes. That goes to say for anyone close to me… I am thankful I have so many supportive friends and family surrounding me so the change was generally taken well enough– with a lot of explanation on my end that I am really doing this for me and my body and for a healthy future.
So that about sums up my testimony of being a 1 year-old vegetarian!
A lot of people ask me if I miss meat and I can confidently say that I don’t miss meat as much as I miss the convenience of finding good food that happens to be made mostly out of meat. But just like how fast food is convenient and accessible and cheap, it’s really not good for you. And much of like how life works in general, great things take work!
Also important to note that even as a vegan/vegetarian, you still need to make healthy choices in general because there are indeed plenty of vegetarians who fill themselves up with carbs and empty calories to feel full instead of nutrient-filled choices which are plentiful if you just did the background work.
Just like any substantial change in lifestyle, it will be a tough few days/weeks/months. But just like any GOOD change, you will be rewarded with a better body & mind because being a vegetarian will not only change your physical body to be healthier, but your awareness of mind will improve as well!
A lifestyle change I strongly advocate!