Hey guys! Jumping right into today’s post, 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 considered to be a lacto-ovo-pescatarian. That’s a mouthful, and that is why I just deem myself “vegetarian” unless someone wants specifics. This means that I eat some dairy (yogurt, cheese and the occasional chocolate milk following a workout), eggs, and fish.
- How long have you been 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 become a vegetarian?
I think people often assume it has to do with a love of animals. Don’t get me wrong, if I had a pasture of cows, or a yard full of chickens, I probably couldn’t feed them, see them everyday, and then turn around and serve them up for dinner; however cruelty to animals wasn’t my first deciding factor. I cut out pork years ago because of the mere fact that I think pigs are disgusting animals (I am absolutely certain that someone will DM me with lots of kind words over that one), but that is my truth. The real deciding factor for me came about when I was doing research for school. Most of my followers know, but if you’re new to my blog (hello, welcome, and thanks for stopping in), I am a dietetics student focusing on sports nutrition, and am obsessed with the power of food. After numerous studies, I decided that a vegetarian diet may be a good suit for me. I have had sensitivities to numerous foods over the years and once I adjusted to this way of eating, it seemed to work well for me.
- 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! I mean I really. 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 breads, fruits, and pastas. 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 (primarily egg whites), and fish. I eat eggs every single day, usually twice a day (at least), and I allow for fish about three times a week. I eat a lot of rice and beans, which most people don’t know 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! Again, this is when dining out though. I have found that most sit-down dining restaurants (at least in Vegas), offer a veggie burger of some kind. I typically choose this option if available on the menu, but I don’t usually prepare them at home. When I first transitioned into this way of eating, I did find myself eating frozen veggie patties, imitation chicken, and soy burgers; however, over the last few months I have cut these things out. The taste was great, but the sodium content was usually insane.
- Is it hard to find vegetarian options when eating out?
Luckily, I live in Las Vegas where more 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 vegetarian option, but I can almost always create 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!
Keep an eye out for my next post, “A full day of eating,”