It was on my 30 before 30 but even before that, it's always been a goal of mine to go without meat for a month or more. I don't know why, I think I wanted to prove to myself that I could, and that I didn't need meat.
The main reason I decided to try being a vegetarian for a month was watching Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. It is such an interesting documentary, I highly recommend it. The guy is into juicing, but it's so much more than that. It goes into the science of why a plant based diet is good for you, rather than trying to shame you away from meat like other documentaries might. It made my 'meat and potatoes' husband open to the idea of less meat in his diet, which was a win for me. We watched this a long time ago and it's always stayed in my head.
So, January. Vegetarian for one whole month.
I don't eat meat all that often, so it wasn't a hard adjustment at first. Until KC wanted chik fil a for dinner and I went through the drive thru and accidentally ordered myself a meal.. I realised before I got home, and just put it in the fridge for KC to eat later, and I had cereal. I ate a lot of cereal for dinner in January – mainly because I was sick and didn’t feel like cooking. But I also made some great meals (quick curried chickpeas with spinach, black bean burgers) and KC ate most of them with me. Things like risotto don't fill him up, so I would make some chicken on the side but as long as there was enough fat, fibre, protein etc in the meal, KC couldn't care less if it was vegetarian or not.
As for the benefits, or any changes? Vegetarian doesn't necessarily mean healthy, and I definitely ate my fair share of fries and milkshakes, so I didn't lose any weight. I have an iron problem, and I didn't prepare for that as well as I should have, and I definitely felt the consequences. My skin was clearer, I slept better and I was, er, regular. However, these are all things that happen when I respect my disease and don't eat gluten, so I don't think they were connected. Obviously, 31 days is not long enough to really determine anything though.
So if there were no visible benefits, why should I keep going? To me, eating less meat or being a vegetarian isn't about the visible benefits. I'm not trying to convince anyone to become a vegetarian or eat less meat but there is so much information out there to support a more plant based diet. You don't have to eat meat in every single meal, but it doesn't need to be all vegetarian either. I’m not going to talk about all of that because I think there is so much information out there and so many people that say it better than I ever could.
Now, after I’ve gone on and on and on and on about why I went vegetarian for a month.. I want to say, as of right now, I am not and have no plans to be a vegetarian full time.
One of the biggest is because.. it's hard. I don't want to put myself in a box I can't get out of. I already have a disease that means I can't eat a lot of things and if I add meat to the restrictions, it makes my life even harder. Plus, sometimes I like meat. Simple as that.
So, no. I'm not going to be a vegetarian, but I will be more vegetarian than I was before. I might even try and go another month (or more) but with better planning this time. Like with most things in life, it doesn't have to be all or nothing. I am not trying to convert anyone and I am not saying meat is evil. The overall lesson from my month: I can survive perfectly well without meat. I want to make better choices. Whether you want to eat less meat, more ethical meat, more plants or go paleo or vegan.. I think we can all make better choices, and leave everyone else's alone, don't you agree? At the end of the day, whatever you eat – food isn't something we should make others feel guilty about. There is no one size fits all, you do you and I’ll do me. If what you are eating is good for your heart, happiness and wallet – good for you. Can’t I do the same?