Hello! I want to address some questions that I frequently get asked regarding my vegetarian journey.
Do you eat any meat at all? What type of vegetarian are you?
Technically speaking (giggles), I am following a Lacto-Ovo-pescatarian diet. That’s a mouthful, and that is why it’s just deemed “vegetarian” unless someone is being a bit more specific. This means that I am eating some dairy, eggs, and fish.
How long have you been a vegetarian?
It’s been a fairly slow and steady process over the last few years. I cut out red meat and pork a couple of years ago, and I decided to cut out all other forms of meat 13 months ago.
Do you ever want to eat meat? Have you had any slip-ups or “surprise” meat dishes?
I have had chicken probably a total of 5 times over the last year. This was by choice, and not necessarily because I had a “meat craving,” but because my body felt extremely fatigued, and I was having excessive bruising. This led me to believe that I was lacking in iron, and unfortunately, spinach, seeds, and lentils (typically good sources of iron), weren’t doing the trick. I found, however, I didn’t enjoy the texture or the flavor of chicken once re-introduced. I did have a huge craving for red meat just about a month ago. I actually planned on eating a Five Guys burger for my birthday when on vacation but ended up passing.
Why did you decide to try a vegetarian diet?
Studying nutrition and writing nutrition programs for others has led me to trying all kinds of different approaches to eating, whether it be what I’m eating, how much I’m eating, or meal timing. First hand experience allows me to learn directly how each approach works.
Do you think that a vegetarian diet would work well for everyone?
You have to ask yourself the most important question when it comes to determining if this lifestyle would work for you, “do you love vegetables?” I mean really. love. vegetables. If you would have asked me this question 7 or 8 years ago my answer would have been completely different than what it is now. Personally, yes, I love vegetables! Broccoli, zucchini, cauliflower, eggplant, carrots, sprouts, asparagus, peppers, and the list goes on. All of it. I love all of it. I think people often get the misconception that vegetarians fill up on carbs in the forms of bread, fruits, and pasta. While yes, I do occasionally include these within my meals, people often take for granted that vegetables are carbs too.
What are your forms of protein? Do you find it hard to get in enough protein?
I mostly rely on eggs and fish, and I supplement with protein powder. I eat eggs almost every day, and I allow for salmon about three times a week. I eat a lot of rice and beans, which make for a complete, well-rounded protein. Many vegetables contain a lot of protein as well. If I were under the age of 30 I wouldn’t worry so much with adding in additional protein, but now that I am at an age where protein intake is extremely important, I typically have 1-2 protein shakes per day.
Do you find that you get bored with a vegetarian diet?
In fact, for me, it’s the complete opposite. I feel that my choices are endless; however, this leads back to the fact that I love vegetables.
Do you eat Tofu, veggie burgers, and imitation meat products?
I will occasionally eat Tofu if I order out, but I haven’t mastered cooking it myself quite yet. I recently saved some recipes on Pinterest for the air fryer, so fingers crossed I can find some tasty methods. I love Veggie Burgers! When I first transitioned into this way of eating, I did find myself eating frozen veggie patties, imitation chicken, and soy burgers all of the time; however, over the last few months, I try to limit the processed plant-based foods to one meal a day.
Is it hard to find vegetarian options when eating out?
Luckily, I live in Las Vegas where healthier options are available, compared to other locations across the map (for instance when I headed down south to Alabama). Dine-in restaurants sometimes offer some sort of vegetarian option, but I can almost always create a vegetable plate out of a menu’s side options. Unfortunately, fast food is where it gets tricky. A non-vegetarian diet is a bit easier for fast food. You can almost always find a grilled chicken sandwich on the menu, but a veggie burger isn’t usually an option. A lot of fast food joints offer salads, but more often than not, they are made up of Iceberg lettuce, and (if you’re lucky) will have a couple of grape tomatoes and a cucumber slice. Not my idea of a complete, well-balanced meal.
Is it hard to go to social gatherings that include eating or pot-lucks?
It can be, sure. I will usually take something that I feel everyone will like as well, but also something that I know I can depend on if there aren’t more options. You can almost always count on someone bringing a veggie tray or a fruit tray. Bottom line, this is a way of life that I have adopted and it works well for me. I am not the type of person that will put a damper on someone else’s plans because the menu doesn’t cater to my lifestyle. I really enjoy the foods that I eat. I feel satisfied, I feel adequately fueled, and I feel better than I have ever felt. Will I follow this approach to eating forever? I don’t know. It works well for me now and that’s what I have to go by.
Thanks for stopping in! If you have some banging veggie recipes, feel free to shoot them my way!