Hi! My name is Lena. I’m a university student from Russia. I love playing sports and writing articles. I recently decided to quit eating meat. In this article, I’d like to tell you why I made such a decision, what happened to me during my experiment, and how I ended up feeling afterward.
My attempt started in October 2016, but the results of the experiment still influence my body and life today. I want to tell Bright Side and all of you that it’s really important to listen to your body and not to blindly follow popular Internet bloggers’ tips and trends.
How did everything start?
I didn’t like meat. I didn’t care whether the meat was served hot or not. But as a rule, most dishes in restaurants and at friends’ houses contained meat, so I used to consume meat regularly without even thinking about it.
One day I noticed a girl’s blog online. She was so skinny and happy and talked about her diet where animal products were prohibited and herbs were allowed. I was interested. The main takeaways were that she had plenty of energy, a lightness of body, a clear head, healthy and smooth skin, and a slim, fit body. Most vegetarians will tell you the same.
I wanted to get fit and improve my athleticism so I started a 9-month experiment.
My diet consisted of fish, pasta, cheese, and cereal products.
Was it difficult? No. In my city, there are lots of restaurants and cafés that replace meat with other products. I ate Caesar salads with salmon, pasta with mushrooms, and so on. Even my friends couldn’t tempt me! Eating fish delicacies, champignons, and grilled vegetables also helped a lot.
Losses and profits
Let’s get back to remembering why I started this experiment, and learn what was true and what was false about it.
Plenty of energy
I didn’t sleep like a baby. My nights’ rest statistics didn’t change. In the morning, I felt like a zombie, hated my alarm clock, mornings, and going to class. It was so naive of me to think that the diet would magically make me a morning person.
Lightness of body
Many runners are sure that meat influences their performance and causes a tightness in their stomachs.
A medal for taking part in competitions
When I stopped eating meat, my heart rate increased and my pace got slower. I used to run a half marathon (13 miles) without any difficulty. But now I felt awful and my results were worse. I started experiencing shortness of breath and dizziness. I wasn’t able to participate in some competitions and was even withdrawn from a marathon because I felt so bad.
This was my heart rate during a competition — at the finish line, my heart rate was over 200 beats per minute.
A fit body
My body mass index is quite average which is why it’s rather difficult for me to lose weight. In 9 months, my waist got smaller and all my skirts and pants were too big for me. I had to buy lots of new clothes. But as most girls would say, that wasn’t a problem.
What about healthy skin and a clear head?
I don’t have any skin issues, so it’s rather complicated to trace any difference. The sun gives me tanned skin and freckles, making me look healthy and fresh, no matter what I eat.
As for a clear head, it was quite a problem. I always felt dizzy and became a different person. The best idea I came up with was to visit a doctor.
What is anemia?
Only pills could restore the level of iron in my blood.
A doctor listened to me carefully and asked that I submit a blood test. My hemoglobin, ferritin, and serum iron levels were too low. The doctor said that I had anemia.
Iron-deficiency anemia is defined by a decrease in the number of red blood cells or the amount of hemoglobin in the blood caused by a lack of iron. The main causes are blood loss and a lack of food enriched with heme.
So my new diet consisted of a meal containing meat and 2 pills containing iron.
Now I can’t imagine my life without meat!
Advantages and disadvantages
Besides losing weight, I’ve noticed some more benefits:
- My body didn’t smell. I could save money on deodorant.
- I became more creative with dishes and found incredibly tasty alternatives to meat. I also realized that beans tasted just like meat.
- It’s not cheap. As a rule, fish costs more than meat.
- You get fed up with people constantly asking why you’re on the diet.
Lots of people still argue about meat’s benefits and drawbacks. If you decide to stop eating meat, listen to your body first, consult your doctor, and think twice about whether you really need it or not. Keep in mind that all people are different and an individual approach to such a serious decision is best.
Are you a vegetarian or not? What is your opinion on this matter?