To Ve’ or Not to Ve’

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photo credit: Alana Donovan

I am a meat eater. There’s nothing better in this world than a medium-rare rib eye. My mouth waters just thinking about slicing into that tender, juicy, pink meat. Delightful.

Yet I’m thinking of becoming a vegetarian for the month of January.

I asked my hubbie, “What do you think?”

“I think that’s my worst nightmare,” he replied. “The woman I fell in love with thinks the fat of the rib eye is the best part.”  Yes, I confess, I like to eat the gristle. I know, I know, that’s so unhealthy, but don’t knock it till ya try it.

But with that yummy, mouth-watering taste comes the high price of cholesterol, heart disease, and other aliments.  I’ve been reading Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s The China study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducting and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health.

I was drawn to the book because I’m trying to lose my dreaded “baby weight”. When I became pregnant with twins, I thought, “Woo-hoo! I can eat anything I want. I’m eating for three after all.”  I gained a staggering 40% of my pre-preggo weight and was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. A year later, it’s been a tough road to fit back into my skinny jeans. I’m now on a search for a more healthy lifestyle for me and my family.

The book’s results are eye-opening.  It compares the animal-based eating habits of America to low-animal based diets in towns in China.  Dr. Campbell found that,

“People who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease. Even relatively small intakes of animal-based food were associated with adverse effects. People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease” (Campbell, p. 7).

Where’s the Beef? I would call myself a fit and healthy person. I’ve run 2 marathons, and been a lifetime member of Weight Watchers for over 10 years. But, my love affair with red meat spurred me to follow the Atkins diet for the 2 years prior to my pregnancy. I could consume all the meat and veggies I wanted. I found my perfect diet.

Surprise, Surprise. As a new mom, I applied for a new life insurance policy. My blood work came back showing elevated cholesterol levels.  Really?  I’m a size 6, yet I have high cholesterol? That’s a surprise. It seems that my diet has kept my weight low but has not kept my heart healthy.

To be a Vegetarian or Not to Be a Vegetarian. Dr. Campbell’s book showed me that heart disease, diabetes and obesity can be reversed by a healthy diet. I can reduce my cholesterol just by changing my eating habits.

I’m thinking about giving this plant-based diet a shot. Can I last as a, gulp, vegetarian for a month?

If, and this is a big if. If, I do this, I’ll do it right. I’ll compare my cholesterol levels before and after to see if there’s a difference in my body. If I go through the torture of giving up my favorite dinner for a whole month, I want to know that I’m getting a benefit from this ordeal.

Questions to Consider:

  1. Am I ready to be the weird one? I’m in the deep South surrounded by steak and gravy dinners. Being a vegan is definitely an oddity. I only know of 2 people who are vegetarians, and I think they are weird. Now, everyone around me is going to think I’m weird.
  2. How much will this cost me? My local grocery store charges 5 bucks for a bag of  MorningStar soy crumbles. Ouch.
  3. How do I incorporate this new lifestyle while raising my 2 toddlers? They are now eating what the family eats, so how do I ensure that they get their proper nutrients while I try out my experiment?
  4. Can I actually do this? I love meat so much that I crave it. I just don’t know if this meat-lover has it in her.

Should I be vegetarian or not? This will be a tough one, but an interesting challenge. I’m curious to see if I have the guts to follow it through.

Happy Ve-ing!

References:

Related posts:  I was that Big?, December Health and Fitness Challenge Week 2

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20 thoughts on “To Ve’ or Not to Ve’

  1. Wow! That’s a huge step! Trust me I can completely relate! I love meat just as much as you described! As a matter of fact, my mouth was watering reading you describe your “love affair” with meat lol. I certainly can’t advise anyone against doing something healthy, but I definitely understand the challenges that go along with it. Good luck with this experiment. My only advice would be if you don’t succeed at going all the way vegan…maybe you can just cut back your meat intake. I think that some progress is better than none?! I’ll be praying for you! 🙂

    • So my husband asked me if I wanted a steak dinner for New Years Eve. I said definitely! Thanks for the prayers. My mom said she would try it with me. We’ll see how I do

  2. Hey Maya, Talk to Aida, and some folks who are into baby diets such as pediatricians, health workers, etc…..The main thing is to raise those babies as healthy as possible. Try a vegan diet on yourself before you put the twins on such a diet. I think eating eggs, milk, cheese etc is healthy when meats are left off, but maybe not so for babies. Protein is so important for healthy bodies. And, as a diabetic, I will pass out in 3 or 4 hours without protein in the AM if I do any hard work, but can go 12 hours with it. Best of luck on your efforts. (And, you can go on and off such a diet and have a treat-meat at times.) Tim

    • oh absolutely! The girls will get all the meat and diary they want! Ava loves meat. 😉 I appreciate you looking out for the kiddos.

  3. Well, you don’t have to go all vegan to lower your cholesterol (some meats and animal bi-products are worse than others). I was a vegetarian for years and even all through my pregnancy with Samuel, but now as a breastfeeding mama, I AM eating ground turkey as well as chicken because I have needed that added protein. Once he’s weaned I will most likely go back to full time vegetarian, but never vegan. We use Egg Beaters instead of eggs. Have you used those in baking/cooking? They are the same!

    • I had no idea you were a vegetarian. That’s cool, now I know 3 veggie eaters. 🙂 Don’t think I could go vegan either. The added health benefits are so much more than just lowered cholesterol, for me that was just a sign of going in the wrong direction. Yes, love egg beaters although I’ve only used them in omelets or breakfast casseroles. yum! I’d love any recipes that you really like.

  4. It is worth a try. I myself have twin girls!! My skinny jeans are sadly in the closet however I have lost 75 pounds since delivering my girls. I gained 65 while pregnant. You would think those stinking jeans would fit but nope!! Good luck!

    • Yes, I can relate! My body just didn’t bounce back into the shape it was before! 🙂 I gained 74 pounds in pregnancy. Thanks for stopping by!

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