I have toyed with healthier eating over the past six months, the results? Mixed. I still have a crazy addiction (or that’s what I try to convince myself) to sugary fizzy drinks, a habit I am not at all proud of at all! But hey, lets not get bogged down in the bad. The positives of me flirting with new culinary dishes has led me to join in with the growing craze that is Meatless Mondays, a moo-vement that attempts to cut out meat for one day of the week in order to increase your life expectancy, save the environment and keep those cows a little happier all at the same time! Maybe I’m milking it a little, but it did make me feel like I was steering in the right direction!
I thought I’d chicken-out and go straight back to eating more meat than I ever had before but I was mistaken. It was starting to make a little more sense to me and after a while I found that I was having more meatless days than I was eating meat. So I decided to go the whole hog and just cut meat entirely out of my diet, which I’ve successfully done for over a month now!
What have I gained?
- Weight loss – I found that one of the biggest contributors to my current body fat levels was down to the amount of meat I was eating, as well as the quality, especially from those awful fast food chains which also pump in a lot of salt and sugar in at the same time to make you coming back for more! Over this six month project I’ve found that I’ve lost about 1 and a half stone (or about 21 pounds to my American readers!)
- Spending less on my groceries - A common misconception was that I’d have to spend more on food than I would have normally, this can be the case if you rely on meat-replicas such as Quorn, but once I became more aware of vegetarian dishes and more confident of my culinary skills I found that my food bill actually decreased.
- Belief that change is possible - Going from being a big meat-eater to a lacto-vegetarian is a big lifestyle shift. Something I never thought I could possibly do. The amount of times I’ve told people how much I love chicken was testament to that. However, despite all doubts from myself and my parents, I found it was easy once I gave myself small methods (such as abstaining from eating meat for just one day) to achieve something that was engrained in my day-to-day since I can remember. If I can do this, why can’t I give up drinking those fizzy drinks? I can and I will. I’ll outline my plan of action at a later date, but I’m feeling positive that I can do this, and maybe that’s most of the work done already!
If you’ve got this far then I applaud you for putting up with my animal puns. Have you got any vices that you want to get rid of? Maybe you’ve got some great techniques for trying to change those bad habits? I’d love to hear about them!
I have been pondering lately how bad my food diet has been getting. 6 months ago my diet would have been considered a healthy, balanced one which ticked all the right boxes. Lately, however, I have turned to so much junk fast food, fizzy drinks and chocolate (yum!)… I suppose all of these are my weaknesses that I have turned to when facing such a huge lifestyle shift and none of these things are that bad, providing you eat them in moderation and really make them feel like a ‘treat’.
I keep wishing that I lived somewhere far away… where the culture of eating was much healthier; such as the Italy or Greece. I would think to myself that I would love to have a Mediterranean diet and that it would be so easy to keep healthy if I grew up there. In some part, I feel I’m right. However, even though it is harder to do so now (as I don’t buy my own groceries any more) it does not mean I shouldn’t try. I’ve been able to sustain a healthy diet before and it’s time for me to stop day dreaming about having a healthy diet and to just take the first step.
I am largely going to be adopting a pescetarian diet but will occasionally make room for a bit of chicken and the odd burger here and there (we can’t give up everything now can we?!). It’s going to be hard, especially since my knowledge of cooking fish is pretty limited so I’ll have to rustle up some tasty fish recipes to get my into the swing of things. I suppose the one thing I wish to change about my diet is the amount of fizzy drinks I consume. They have become such a habit and they are so costly – to my wallet and my body! This isn’t something I can really change over night as habits have already been engrained into my daily routine so small, incremental changes must be made until I reach my goal.
Turning to a less meat based diet not only improves the health of myself but also preserves the environment in which we live in. Too much land is needed to rear cattle and livestock and is generally considered an inefficient way of obtaining energy. Cattle farms today cannot rely on simple grass feeding but are fed an enormous amount of grains, oats and corn; which exceeds the amount of calories obtained through eating beef. Raising cattle also requires huge amounts of water and land – both of which are diminishing fast and are becoming increasingly valuable. Here’s some more info about the global benefits of eating less meat. It would make sense for future prosperity and global sustainability to move away from eating large quantities of beef and adopt diets held in places such as India or Japan – but this is very unlikely to happen any time soon! But I suppose I can do my bit to affect change in myself and pass on new, healthier habits to those around me; who will in turn pass them on to those around them.
Looking at my diet in a way of saving the world is a bit too heavy and thinking like that will just leave me feeling overwhelmed. So for the time being I’m going to focus on improving myself and my eating habits until eventually my habits will naturally affect others