I did it! I officially gave up eating meat for 40 whole days (click here to find out why)! While I didn’t chronicle this journey as much as I would have liked on the blog, I did want to offer up some final thoughts on my experience. Overall everything went well and I think I learned quite a bit, so let’s recap FAQ style.
Did you miss eating meat?
Honestly, not really. There were a few occasions where eating a meal would have been easier if I ate meat, but I can’t say I was too disappointed at any point. Dining out was a bit difficult because a lot of traditional restaurants don’t offer many vegetarian options — even soups and salads had meat.
As far as cooking at home, I didn’t miss meat at all. While I previously ate meat 4-5 times a week at dinner, I found it pretty easy to substitute vegetarian protein options. I’m not a big meat eater for lunch/breakfast, so those meals weren’t a problem for me at all.
Do you feel any different after the challenge?
I didn’t notice any huge changes, but at times I did feel lighter overall. I’d attribute that to the fresh, veggie-packed dishes I ate. However, there were plenty of times I didn’t feel that way. Not all vegetarian options are healthy, and I think that’s something important for people to note if they are considering eating in that way.
I never felt unhealthy or sick, but a few times I did feel low on energy and just overall tired. Nothing to be concerned about, but I did wonder if maybe my iron levels were a bit low. I did eat plenty of plant foods with iron in them and take a multivitamin, but our bodies typically absorb iron from animal sources better. If I were to continue eating vegetarian, I might take the time to track my iron levels just to make sure I was getting an adequate amount.
What did you eat?
Lots and lots of plants!! Beans, lentils and nuts made a constant rotation in my meals and I even learned how to bake tofu at home. I wouldn’t say I’ve mastered it, but it was fun to experiment with some new-to-me foods. Of course I made sure to fill my plate with lots of veggies, fruit and whole grains too. It’s also worth noting I kept seafood in my diet during this challenge, so if we’re being technical, I ate as a pescatarian.
If you want to see more of what I ate, check out these WIAW posts: one | two
Are you back to eating meat again?
Yes, but not as much as I used too. I’ve been trying to plan at least 2-3 meatless dinners a week as well as continuing to eat seafood a few times a week. Last week I made a batch of tofu and tossed it into meals throughout the week.
Right now, I see meat as more of a special occasion type of food. There are still plenty of meat dishes I enjoy, but I don’t feel the need to eat them on a regular basis. I also read The Flexitarian Diet which talks about a lot of these ideas and it’s a great resource for anyone who’s thinking about cutting back on their meat intake.
Well that’s about it for now — congrats to you if you made it all the way down to the end of the post. If you have any other questions for me, feel free to leave them in the comments.