I once tried to go vegetarian in highschool, but as a highschooler with no income, I could not reliably make it as a vegetarian, so I just stopped trying for awhile. Then several years later, my boyfriend decided to post an idea on his Tumblr account saying that he would like to become a vegetarian. He later decided not to go through with it, but for me it stuck, and since April of this year I have been a vegetarian.
I did something when I started out vegetarian that I really should NOT have done. I drastically changed my diet overnight. I know many vegans don’t believe that veganism/vegetarianism is a drastic lifestyle change, but it is. I used to eat a fair amount of meat. I have no food logs from when I was not vegetarian, but I loved to eat Jerky, pepperoni, sausage, etc. That kind of change is pretty drastic to the lifestyles of most people.
Now that is not to say I went 100% vegetarian. For about a month and a half I did eat one meat product about once a week, and then once every 2 weeks, then never again starting in about June. But I ate so little meat that I am just classifying myself as a vegetarian at that time period. Eating 99% vegetarian over the course of 2 months is vegetarian enough for me.
But I also did one more thing: I changed everything else in my diet. I went from white bread to wheat bread. Ate a ton more vegetables, went from iceberg lettuce to romaine. Ranch dressing to Italian, and ate much more raw veggies. I also ate a lot of wheat thins. This drastically increased my fiber intake, causing considerable distress to my digestive system. Since I didn’t know what I was doing, I tried being a low carb vegetarian, and ate almost no grains, which caused severe and constant hunger and caused a lot of food to pass through my body almost completely undigested.
I tweaked my diet and now am not a low carb vegetarian. In fact, I eat about 50% of my calories from carbs, 20% from fat, and 30% from protein. I want to reduce my fat intake, but on average I only consume 119% of my DRV from fat. I can’t reduce it much without being deficient. I have been feeling healthier, my digestive system is back on track, I still get 120% of my DRV of fiber, and my nutrition on average have never looked better. I take a supplement only about once or twice a week if I eat a bunch of junk for the day, but that is all.
On average I only eat about 2000 calories a day, and I feel much healthier than I have been much before. I went from 222 pounds to 188 pounds in the course of 7 months. or about a pound a week. And my acid reflux has gone down drastically. I used to eat almost 3500 calories a day, so it is definitely a decrease.
Nowadays I mainly eat a wide variety of foods. From Morningstar meat substitutes to cooked black bean dishes. Salads, cereal, wheat thins with cheese, soymilk, almonds/cashews, Morningstar Chik Patty sandwiches, and a bit of vegetarian fast food, along with many other types of food, such as pizza, pasta, wraps, etc. Since I became vegetarian, I started cooking a lot more. I tried to cook tofu, but I found out that I really am not a huge fan of tofu.
I don’t use mayonaise anymore, I use avocado as a replacement. I have never really liked eggs, so I am abstaining from them as well. I have also got into the habit of loading my sandwiches with tons of vegetables. I also eat a lot more fruits and vegetables, such as peppers, kale, spinach, broccoli, bananas, oranges, etc.
So for me, a healthy-food-based vegetarian diet was easy enough to accomplish. I feel much better. I am thinner and healthier. so I definitely recommend this type of diet to others. As long as you don’t make the mistakes I did when I first started.