‘Coming a Veg’ is a monthly series which highlights vegetarian and vegan “coming of age” stories. This July, Sue’s is well into her 6th year of vegetarianism and we find her the healthiest and happiest she has ever been. You can enjoy her recipes, writing and inspirational running stories on her blog, Sue in Training.
About five and a half years ago, I stopped eating meat and fish. In other words, I became a vegetarian. At the beginning, nobody believed this would last, not even myself! But today I’m convinced it’s one of the best decisions of my entire life.
My initial reason to ditch the meat was quite selfish. I have a very sensitive stomach, and someday I noticed that I often felt nauseous and got stomach cramps after eating meat or fish. I also found out, that I feel much better after eating plain rice, veggie stir-fries, salads, or cooked vegetables. So I started a little experiment. I decided to try a vegetarian diet, only for a short while, to see how my body would respond.
Originally, I had planned to consume no meat or fish, until I started to crave it. Apparently, the cravings never came. From the very beginning, I haven’t missed eating meat at all! Quite the opposite, my stomach issues disappeared completely, and I felt absolutely fantastic.
As I wanted to do this ‘vegetarian thing’ the right way, I did a lot of research, mostly online. That’s when I found a large and active vegan forum. In short, these passionate vegans had quite an impact on my believes. I became an ethical vegetarian. And I even tried to be vegan for a while, but I found it to be too difficult and too restrictive, so went back to consuming eggs and dairy.
Just like most of my friends, I grew up eating lots of processed junk food, and next to no vegetables. As I had changed my diet mostly for health reasons, I researched how to be a healthy vegetarian/vegan. For the first time, I focused on getting all the nutrients I need, trying to get in lots of plant-based protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. I found some awesome recipes online, and started to cook most of my meals from scratch.
Can you already see where this is going? Not only did my new vegetarian/vegan diet cure my stomach problems, I also lost 20 lbs within 5 months! The weight was literally melting off, and none of my clothes fit me anymore.
I have to admit, though, that this sudden and drastic transition from junk food omnivore to health conscious vegetarian was quite hard on my digestive system, if you know what I mean. So I would rather recommend slowly phasing out some not-so-healthy foods, and gradually replacing them with healthier options.
The past five years have probably been the healthiest and happiest of my entire life. I’ve finally learned how to reach and maintain a healthy weight without dieting and deprivation. Most people I know believe that a vegetarian diet is boring and restrictive, but I totally disagree! I’ve learned to love lots of new foods that I had never tried before, like lentils, chickpeas, tofu, quinoa, and many more. Whenever I’m asked, “If you don’t eat meat or fish, what CAN you eat?”, I usually answer, “A lot! Just look at my colorful, delicious, and filling lunch/dinner/snack!”.
Today I’m still enjoying my plant-heavy diet to the fullest, and I’m trying to show the people around me, that you can be healthy, fit, and happy without consuming meat.
The first Monday of every month I feature a new ‘Coming a Veg’ story and would I love to include yours! If you are feeling shy, your story can be posted under a creative screen name, anonymous or at least pass this request along to any other groups or individuals who may be interested. Find more information at this link or send submissions to my email: Pennsyltucky Veggie.