Sarah and I have reached one year today being meat-free. This sparked an unimaginable desire to sit and write a blog post about how amazing the year has been and what good it does to begin a meat-free diet.
If you’re on the brink of considering it…maybe just try it. And hopefully this helps…
One year ago today, I had just had my 21st birthday (yay, now I’m 22!) and we just finished celebrating in the best way all Americans know how: with food. I begged everyone to take me to The Cheesecake Factory (still one of my favorite restaurants) and that’s exactly where we went. I remember getting fettuccine alfredo and Sarah got a large bacon cheeseburger. I remember being kind of jealous at her dinner pick and looking at it so longingly when it was brought to her. However, I ate my fettuccine alfredo and loved it. As dinner progressed, I received such a cute-birthday-ice-cream-cheesecake dessert and had my first alcoholic beverage ordered all by myself. The night was great, but it was clear that Sarah and I were internally thinking the same thing. Why do we eat meat? Why do we see a cheeseburger and think it looks delicious? Why did I want her meal instead of my own?
I really didn’t. I thought that I wanted that, but I really didn’t. The pain and suffering that it caused my stomach after I ate such a meal just wasn’t worth it. We left dinner that night and something changed the day after…we made a random decision to become vegetarian.
Let’s rewind back to May of that same year, just about 4 months before we cut meat out cold turkey (please excuse the pun). Now you see, Sarah and I are big fans of diet fads. Okay…okay…let me explain. We really like trying and experiencing new things. This does NOT mean we advocate for strict diets or severe weight loss or weight gains to only deplete your health. We really like to keep up with the times (in more ways than one) and we enjoy trying out new things that our peers are. During this time, we saw more and more YouTubers begin diets like this and we were so intrigued. Thus “Meatless May” was born. It went really well as a whole. We missed pepperoni on our pizza and we clearly didn’t continue it when April began. But as you can see, something stuck with us. Something inside of us really just wanted it to happen again.
I’m sure most of you have watched the iconic documentary on Netflix called Cowspiracy, all about the effects that cattle has on our environment. There are definitely some negatives about this documentary, but in general, we really enjoyed how much it opened our minds to such a terrible industry. We HATE the meat industry and the fact that animals are being treated so horribly, but isn’t it just such a waste of money? The United States government alone spends about $38 billion in subsidizing the meat and dairy industry versus the very small $17 million on fruits and vegetables. Something isn’t adding up here, right? Something so easy to grow on our beautiful planet, something so delicious and healthy, and something that doesn’t hurt an animal is getting a TINY fraction of the government’s attention? This is wrong and it needs to stop.
So what do you need? If you need a push in the right direction, how about we give you some of our best tips about going into Vegetarianism?!
1. Start yourself off with a Meatless Month
Do yourself a favor and allow your body to have a break for one month. Do your best to eat a lot of plant based meals and prep beforehand so you don’t get tired of it. It’s so easy to grab a box of meatless hot dogs instead of your classic Oscar Mayers and to ask for your salad without chicken on it. You’ll not only feel so healthy and light, but you’ll give yourself the best feeling of accomplishment.
2. Maybe a “Meatless Monday”?
If you can’t quit so quickly, try just one day a week. Get a group of friends or coworkers to do it with you and make recipes together once a week! It’s so rewarding and fun, I promise.
3. Start off with eliminating one meat.
Chicken is probably the easiest to imitate. We love meatless chicken patties, nuggets or grilled pieces for salads. There’s really nothing better than finding a healthier alternative to something and if you can settle on a nice meat substitute, you’ll be golden. We LOVE Gardein, Morning Star, and Beyond Meat brands for all your meatless needs!
4. Make sure you remember: Protein is NOT just in meat.
The biggest things vegetarians hear is “Make sure you get enough protein!” or “How do you get protein if you aren’t eating steaks?” Well let me tell you, it’s so easy. You’re probably eating more protein than you think you are. Our favorite protein foods are: peanut butter (excuse to eat a spoonful?), sugar snap peas, any kind of bean, tofu, nuts and seeds. The possibilities are endless (and no guilt).
One year without meat hasn’t changed my life in any way except for the positives. Sarah and I probably will never go back to meat, because our world is making such amazing substitutes. For any of you that are thinking about taking the plunge, please keep in touch with us! We would love to hear about your journeys and swap recipes.
If you guys would like to see more blog posts about food, veganism, vegetarianism, and recipes hit the little heart down below!
Sarah & Rachel