For 30 days I decided to give up beef, pork, chicken, and turkey. Basically become a pescatarian. My intention was only to do this for the month of January. After the first couple of weeks, I noticed how AMAZING I felt.
I toyed with the idea of going vegan but was already giving up bacon (my mouth is watering just thinking about some crispy bacon). Who doesn't love bacon for breakfast or a BLT sandwich? I love it! Not eating eggs and cheese at the same time would have been torcher for me; figured I'd just take it one step at a time.
Why I decided to go meatless
For 2017 my focus was healing emotionally and mentally (more on that later). For 2018 I decided it was time to start focusing on my health. I noticed how I would get bad stomach pains when I would eat beef. After eating a juicy burger I would have so much stomach discomfort that would last for a couple of days. Figured I might have a beef intolerance that was triggering inflammation in my stomach.
I have high blood pressure and was having a difficult time keeping it under control. Also, several years ago I was diagnosed with diverticulosis. A condition where small, bulging pouches develop in the digestive tract. This can be painful, especially if it becomes infected. I was told to incorporate more high fiber foods into my diet and to eat less rice, pasta, and dairy. I started doing all of those things and felt some relief.
Don't get me wrong, I love me some chicken, crispy bacon, and juicy hamburgers, but I'd rather feel healthy than sick to my stomach because of what I ate. Going meatless was an opportunity for me to see how much of a difference not eating meat would make and to start the year off healthy.
Homemade Mexican night using MorningStar Farms Chipotle Black Bean Crumbles Strips and Meal Starters Chik'n Strips.
How I prepared myself
I had to mentally prepare myself for going meatless and make sure everyone in the house was aware of my goal. Since I usually cook all the meals in the house I had to make sure everyone understood that I was not going to be cooking two different meals. If they didn’t eat what I cooked they would have to FFYS (Fend For Your Self). Was hoping this might be an opportunity to get the whole house to eat healthier. My husband and younger children were not having it, but my oldest daughter was with me. We have encouraged each other through this process.
Last year I had already started trying out different meatless recipes and incorporated eating more fish a couple of nights out of the week for dinner. So, in December I kept telling myself that for January 2018 I was going to give up chicken, turkey, pork, and beef. I wanted to see if I could actually do it and if I would feel better not eating any meat.
My first experience with dining out
I thought that the hardest part for me would be menu choices when dining out at restaurants. I love me some Mexican food and was surprised to see that they had vegetarian options to choose from. I ordered rice, refried beans, mushroom quesadilla and spinach quesadilla. My daughter ordered some vegetable fajitas (mushrooms, peppers, and unions). I was satisfied with my meal and felt proud that I conquered my first dining out meatless experience.
Meal Planning and Pinterest
Pinterest has been my go-to website for recipes and ideas on what to cook. Follow my Pinterest boards for some meatless and healthy recipes. I planned out my meals for the week as I knew this would help me stay on track. If I did not plan my meals, I don't think I would have been successful. I would search Pinterest for recipes, write down the ingredient and go food shopping. Then I would write down what I would cook for each day of the week.
What I ate - some of my meals
Since processed substitute meat products can be high in fat, calories and sodium I would turn to mushrooms and beans for some of my meals. Sautee some mushrooms with cream of mushroom soup, cauliflower fried rice, and spinach. Cajun red beans, rice, and broccoli. Sweet potato, broccoli and black beans (seasoned with chili powder).
My seafood nights - seafood casserole with crab meat, scallops, and shrimp. I used panko for the topping. Lemon butter scallops.
My go to lunch was caesar salad with my favorite dressing or stir-fry.
When I first started I didn't think I would make it two weeks without caving in, but I made it through the month of January and into February. I plan to continue this healthy habit because I love the way I feel. No more stomach pain and more energy.
One question that I keep asking myself is what am I going to do when the weather breaks and all the cook-outs start. Easter is right around the corner and then after that, it's
Thanksgiving and Christmas. I just have to remain focused on my goals of healthy eating and remember how good I feel without eating meat.
If you want to follow along with me on this journey, follow me on Instagram and Facebook.