Hey! By the way… TheEdibleTerrace is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission and as an Amazon affiliate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Thanks in advance for your support!
In 2012, I stopped eating meat. Why? I wanted to feel better. I was just entering my 40’s and I felt like cr@p all the time. Itscaredme!
First, I was SO tired! I mean, barely functioning tired. I had just recently gotten my Master’s and was trying to start my own business. I very clearly remember getting to a client’s business one morning and already feeling like a bus had run me over. My eyes stung. I had serious brain fuzz. I could barely add one plus one. It was not pretty.
And my skin. It had turned this grey pallor. Now, at the time I lived in Phoenix and have always been a sun baby so cannot blame sitting indoors too much. I was outside all the time.
Hot flashes had begun. #NotNice
Constipation. I had started using Miralax.
My memory was shot. I was doing scary things like leaving the stove on or forgetting to lock the house up at night.
A small sidetrack–In 2009, I was diagnosed with Adult Onset Asthma. This didn’t help things at all. (After years of it being totally out of control, I figured out the culprit. Now I am medicine free. More on that below.)
One night, I sat down with my laptop and started Googling my various list of symptoms. What kept showing up was references to nutrition and vitamins.
Now, I should back up a little and tell you that vegetables were not really on my repertoire when cooking. Not unless it was potatoes, corn, or peas. In fact, my diet consisted mainly of chicken breast and some type of bread. Now I did eat vegetables – they were just severely limited.
At the time, I was somewhat of a gym rat so ate a ton of chicken to get in my protein but in my ignorance, the limited calories left after eating all that meat was not going anywhere healthy and nutritious.
In my searching, I came across a movie called Forks Over Knives. Found it on Netflix and watched. To say the least, I was blown away. Mortified. Embarrassed. Here, all these years I thought I was doing it so right!
After scouring the Internet for more backup, that night I decided I was going to learn how to eat vegetables AND I was going to completely cut out meat. Now that was hard for a girl who not only did not eat green things but is also the world’s pickiest person (It’s not pretty. I do not brag.)
However, I was determined to make a change. I cut out the meat pretty quickly but struggled with what to replace it with. Like every other new veggie out there, I ate a ton of bread and cheese. Which was not friendly to my waistline.
Luckily for me, my husband Kevin is the most flexible guy in the world so when I told him I wanted to go vegetarian, he immediately agreed to do it with me. (He ate fish until last year though.)
I continued to research nutrition, plant based eating, diseases, etc which fueled and motivated me to continue fighting for this. To force myself to stop going back to meat, I watched some of the movies on factory farming. Thatworked!
In 2015, I was lucky enough to pick up a freelance job in the medical tourism industry. My task was to write reports and case studies on disease rates in various countries. I did some serious analysis in this work and came to one conclusion. Our Western diet is killing us all.
Now I have to stop for one small sidetrack. It was at this point I started to list out here all of my research data. Fortunately for you, I had to stop for dinner which is when I realized you are not here to read a government report. LOL.
So, I will not subject you to that but instead will shelve it for another post in the near future.
Our Mostly Plant Based Diet
In 2016, Kevin discovered the Slow Food Movement. It advocates eating whole foods and preparing meals from scratch. That really resonated with us so we started making a bigger effort to make our own foods.
Kevin was making bread for us every week (I puffed up like a marshmallow as a result of all that wonderful bread!). We were making our pasta sauce. I was making our bean dishes from dried beans I had cooked, etc.
Fast forward to now, and here is where we stand. I accidentally discovered that gluten sets off my asthma. If I am very careful about my gluten intake, I do not need my medicine. Another happy discovery of eliminating the gluten was my brain fog has almost completely disappeared and my hot flashes are totally gone <Oh, middle aged womanhood, how I love thee!>.
Kevin and I still do not eat meat at home ever. When we go out, we do not order a meat dish but if my side order of beans has some pork in it (we live in the South now-it’s a thing here), I eat around it. Previously, I was incredibly rigid and it made for un-fun dinners out for me so I relaxed my rule.
(*We actually can have some animal protein – it’s our Western love affair with those 22oz steaks that are killing us! Meat should not be the main course. Instead, it should be considered a side dish with healthy vegetables, grains and legumes as the main course.)
Am I eating more vegetables? I am, but still pretty picky (I grow up a little more every day!). I am not crazy about broccoli or cauliflower but will eat it if you make me. My argument for that is, I do eat other cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, kale and arugula so in essence, I am getting the same nutrients.
I don’t like raw tomatoes or onions. I grow a ton of Swiss Chard so eat that several times a week. There is so much more but I won’t torture you with a list.
For protein, we eat a ton of beans and lentils. We also put nuts in our oatmeal every morning and salad at lunch every day. Dinners vary. I work very hard to incorporate some kind of protein into every meal. So very important!
In regards to animal protein, I do eat a little cheese, some sour cream and the occasional butter when dining out. I stopped drinking cow’s milk back when I was diagnosed with asthma. Instead, I drink up to 1 cup of soy milk every day.
Although I am not as diligent as I should be, I try to follow Dr Greger’s Daily Dozen model.
Do I feel better?
Oh geez. I didn’t even mention that I do feel better! I still have fatigue but its not the mind numbing fatigue I had back in 2012. Don’t need Miralax anymore. The color is back in my face.
I don’t leave the stove on anywhere near as often (just keepin’ it real) and I frequently catch it pretty quickly.
My stats are really good. I am 47 and medicine free (I do take some herbal supplements). I could lose 15 lbs though.
My latest blood work is below – from June 2018. In 2008, my total cholesterol was 199 and the doc was threatening to put me on statins. Kevin was able to get off his statins as a result of going completely meat free (including fish) last year.
My decision to go almost purely plant based was not one I took lightly. The initial reaction from family was that my choice seemed “too extreme.” My friends made fun of me because they knew I did not eat vegetables. I still get a lot of grief from many – including one man who told me I was the worst vegetarian he had ever met – because I don’t eat every vegetable (that is on his radar anyway).
However, even with all the skeptics, I have stuck to it because I can see and feel the difference. I am turning 47 soon and want to go into my middle and later years as healthy as I possibly can. Who wouldn’t want to do the same?