May 30, 2017
Growing up I don’t think I even knew a vegetarian…when I was a teenager I met a girl out clubbing that said she was a vegetarian based on the fact she loved animals so much and she couldn’t bare to eat them, although sometimes when she was drunk she’d eat a McDonalds…so she was known affectionately after that as the flexitarian of the group.
In the past it would have never occurred to me to stop eating meat, I mean why would I?
Even the prospect of giving up meat in an attempt to lose weight didn’t appeal to me. I enjoyed eating meat and it was easy.
Although I must admit in the past couple of years I had got into a bit of a rut with cooking and was bored of eating chicken or minced beef all the time, so I would on occasion eat a vegetarian meal just to switch things up a little. I figured though with all the running and now CrossFit that I do that I could never give up meat, as my body needs protein to help repair and restore my muscles and all of that.
At the beginning of April though I was approached by the company GoodLife a company that does vegetarian freezer foods, sausages and burgers and stuff. They asked if I would go meat free for a week and try it, sounded good to me. So I did, and absolutely loved it. The meals they provided only went so far and I had to do a bit of research to think of other meals to cook to make up the week.
One of the things I realised is that by cutting our meat it made the whole what to eat dilemma easier rather than harder, because it narrowed down the choice and in fact stopped me from eating the foods I often resorted to out of habit rather than actually liking them, like ordering a burger and chips or a roast dinner in a pub.
So for no other reason than to see if I could carry it on I have not eaten meat since.
It has been about 6 weeks, not that I am counting….and I can’t see myself reintroducing meat into my diet any time soon.
I am fascinated with how my thinking about food has changed and thought it might be useful to write some of my lessons down in a blog post for you all. So here are my top 5 lessons learned so far on my journey,
- Not eating meat helps me to think more about what I put in my body – I have to think a bit more carefully about what I am eating now. By default I am eating more vegetables but just cooking them differently than before, as now they are a significant part of the meal rather than a side act. I do also have to think about things like carb and protein levels, to ensure I am fuelling myself properly for my running and CrossFit sessions.
- I am not phased by other people eating meat – I have not all of a sudden become all evangelical about being meat free, and I don’t go around judging others that eat meat. I still prepare meat for my daughter (although not as much as before) and I can easily be around others eating meat and not feel like I am missing out or odd.
- I have needed a bit of help – My cooking repertoire is not great as it is, so after a couple of weeks I ran out of ideas so took on the services of HelloFresh, who now send me ingredients for 3 vegetarian meals a week. This has been a god send, because I don’t have to stress about what to eat and all of the meals have been delicious and filling.
- It is not been that difficult – I had all these fears around eating out and visiting friends, but so far there hasn’t been a single time where I haven’t found something to eat that doesn’t involve meat. I also worried that I would miss eating meat, or turn to it once I’d had a drink…I haven’t been tempted even once. It hasn’t been more expensive either, this was a big concern for me. I think actually I am spending less on food overall because I am meal planning and not wasting food.
- I am falling back in love with cooking and eating again – I am enjoying shopping for food each week, and I am enjoying being in the kitchen and cooking things from scratch. For a long time food has been a battle ground for me, I had lost any love for eating and it was all about striking a balance between fuelling for my training (and life) and not eating too much or the wrong things that would negatively affect my weight and/or fitness.
It has been a really enjoyable experiment, which I believe is likely to turn into a lifelong lifestyle.
My recent week in Greece on the Too Fat to Run Retreat was a perfect testing ground, while all the other ladies tucked into chicken kebabs, pork chops, and home made beef burgers, I enjoyed Hallumi cheese, bean burgers and salmon steaks and didn’t feel at all upset. In fact it felt empowering to ask for what I want, what I need.
It is another step towards prioritising my health and happiness.
I rarely talk about food or nutrition on this blog mainly because I’m not qualified to do so, and also I know it is not why people follow my stuff but let’s face it on a personal level with the amount of training I do, what I eat is obviously a big part of the reason my weight never really reflects the effort I put in.
I am not getting any younger, and after a recent fall (chasing after my daughter) I am starting to get a few issues with my joints, so my ambition is to become smaller over the next few months, so scrutinising and understanding what I am putting inside my body makes perfect sense to me.
Throughout June in The Clubhouse, our online running club (which now has 350 members), we have nutritionist Lauren Rutter from Rebalanced Nutrition joining us as our guest expert for the month,
As a registered nutritional therapist, I am uniquely trained to understand how food and nutrients influence bodily functions, restore or maintain health and protect against disease. I use a patient centered approach, rather than a disease centered one, we are all unique and so our nutrition should reflect this.
She is going to be blogging, providing recipes and advice to us all throughout the month, and with her focus on plant based foods I for one (as a new vegetarian) am really excited to have her on board.
You can join us in The Clubhouse for just £59 for the year, however on Thursday this goes up to £79 so it is a fabulous time to join.
I am really interested in how a plant based diet can help me with all of my health goals, and hearing this from someone who runs herself is going to be brilliant.
Fancy going meat free for a while????
If you would like to try HelloFresh (vegetarian or meat based) if you use this link you get £25 off your first order.