I went Veg about two-and-a-half years ago. It was a bit of a back pedal from trying out Veganism for 3-4 months, but I still wanted to hang on to some type of positive lifestyle change. I was never that big of a meat eater. Mostly poultry, no red meat – the occasional ballpark frank, but after marrying into a family of vegetarians (My sister-in-law Menna is a total vegan goddess and as much as I wanted to be just like her, I couldn’t hang with the big dogs.) I felt it was time to kick the meat habit for good.
I started small. Veggie burgers, Tofurkey sandwiches, lots and lots of humus – the usual fare. But soon I discovered the joy (and, I’ll admit, smug sense of satisfaction) I experienced when cooking delicious vegetarian meals for my family and friends. It’s titillating to set a plate of quinoa, yes quinoa, meatballs down in front of somebody and not have them fighting the urge to vomit.
This might all be in my imagination, but recently I feel like I’ve overheard a lot of people discussing the idea of transitioning away from meat. And by overheard, I kind of mean I’ve read a bunch of Facebook and Instagram posts about it…
Anyway, I thought back to when I made the switch from meat-to-meatless and about what I wish I would have known at the time. So, if you’re one of those Facebook and Instagram folks I’ve been stalking, perhaps you might benefit from this list of my top 10 Veg inspirations and resources.
1. Fun Fact! Making the switch to “meatless” decreases your CO2 footprint as much as making the switch to driving a hybrid car. And it’s like $50,000 less expensive!
3. The China Study. This book is intensely interesting (and also, like, really intense) Not a quick read, but chock-full of awesome information to throw in people’s faces. If you’re into that sort of thing. Which I am totally not… One thing I really dig about this book is that its author, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, doesn’t use the words “vegan” or “vegetarian”. I do, because again, I like that little smug sense of satisfaction it gives, but that’s besides the point. Dr. Campbell refers to his suggested diet as a “plant-based” lifestyle. He says that his research has concluded that eating a diet primarily consisting of fruits and vegetables is fundamentally better for you than eating a diet made up of animal products. He is interested in human health. He doesn’t give two sh*ts about the animals.
4. Factory Farms. Oh man you guys, these are just the worst places on the earth. I wouldn’t even really call myself a “dog person”, but you just can’t keep living, breathing creatures penned up in cages so small they can’t even turn around! It would make a world of difference if these “farmers” would try – just a little. Yeah, I’m talking to you Tyson Chicken.
5. Vegucated. You’ve probably scrolled passed it on Netflix, but this is the documentary that acted as my tipping point. It follows three meat-eaters as they try out a vegan lifestyle. Some make the switch permanently, some don’t. It’s a real-life look at the challenges and benefits of eating a plant-based diet. At the end of the six week trial-period, the three “Vegutated” participants all experienced weight loss, a decrease in their blood pressure and levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol. Now the jury is still out on whether or not your “total high cholesterol” can predict anything about your actual risk level for heart disease, BUT if your cholesterol is an a good place, you won’t have to have that awkward conversation with your doctor about how she is not, under any circumstances, going to put you on Lipitor.
6. Menna. I mean, just look at her!
7. The more plants you eat, the less likely you are to develop cardiovascular disease. Now, I’m a teensy bit of a research snob and I hate these correlative declarations of grandeur, BUT with that said, Harvard researchers tracked the health habits of over 100,000 people for 14 years (dang, that’s some serious dedication) and found that those who ate more greenie greens (8+ servings per day) were 30% less likely than their low-fruit and vegetable eating counterparts to have a stroke or heart attack. If I were the type of person who says “Just saying’.”, here is where I would say it.
8. I feel like I’ve been all up in Pinterest‘s junk lately, but hand to God, it is one of the best functional tools I have to keep me eating Veg. I have some terrific plant-based cookbooks (like this one, from Martha Stewart), but when I really get down to it – a good ol’ Pinterest recipe just can’t be beat. Like this lasagna, or these sweet potato cakes, or these burgers with sriracha aioli, that even He loves. I am actively beginning to salivate…
9. The little men. Because of these Veg journey I’m a-takin’, I’m hoping O and A will have much wider palates than I did as a kid. Par example, when I was eight, I was eating dinner at my friend Emma’s house (What’s up Emma!?) Emma’s grandparents were also staying for dinner and her mother had made a beautiful baked chicken for us all to enjoy. Because, even at that young age, I was a complete narcissist, I asked if I could make myself a cheese sandwich, in place of this succulent meal she had prepared. She said ‘Yes.” and so I did. As we all sat down to eat, I began guzzling my tall glass of milk like a baby calf at a teat. During the midst of a rather large gulp, someone said something that tickled my funny bone and I responded by spitting an entire mouthful of milk onto the baked chicken. Everyone’s dinner was ruined. My cheese sandwich remained unharmed.
10. I’m never tempted by fast food anymore. Back in the day, it was all I could do to resist a Burger King chicken sandwich. These days, I can cruise on past a drive-thru without so much as a second glance. It’s good to be better than everyone else! Okay, I’m so sorry. #10 is a total, flat-out lie. Fast food is amazing and I want it all the time. I would eat french fries and basically any condiment for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This is a constant battle that wages on within my soul, with no end in sight.
If these 10 (Okay, nine…) reasons haven’t convinced you yet – that’s totally okay! Different strokes for different folks. But if you would like more deets about being a Veg Mama, hit a sister up or check out any of the links above for more information. Or use Google. It works real good.
If you want to split hairs, I’m technically a “pescatarian” because I do occasionally eat fish. GOTTA GET THOSE OMEGA 3’s YA’LL! I also let my kids eat meat if they want. I try to present healthy choices and let them decide from there. I’ve learned there are only so many places you can hide kale before they start to catch on…