Over the course of my life I’ve wanted to be a vegetarian numerous times. I remember I was a strong-willed vegetarian 10 year old for about 5 days until my mum made her amazing spaghetti bolognese and I turned omnivore again. It happen again a few times and every time something delicious tempted me back to eating meat. I tried vegetarianism again a few months ago and ended up feeling tired and sick all the time (probably because I was just eating vegetarian junk all the time). So I gave up again.
But now I’ve decided to try vegetarianism and stick to it.
Why? A number of reasons.
Firstly, I went for a walk and met this cow along the way. Now, you may be asking yourself how on earth this could change my perception on meat consumption so here is the truth. I sat there looking at the cow for a while (and it sat there looking at me too). I began to think about all the times I had eaten hamburgers and steaks. And then I looked at the cow and thought to myself “it doesn’t even look delicious… it just looks cute”. And that cuteness and the trusting nature of the cow just changed something inside me; I can’t really explain it and I don’t expect people to understand. And it happened again when I met this cute little goat on my hike on the weekend.
Secondly, meat is so expensive here in Switzerland and I was not really eating much of it anyway. You might think I’m exaggerating but a good quality beef fillet here costs between CHF 7.00 and 9.00 per 100g. As a comparison, a kilogram of steak in Australia costs $26.00. Take into account the weight and currency differences and you’ll realise the price is actually ridiculous. It isn’t really affordable for a student to eat meat here. For the price of about 300 grams of steak I can buy a whole basket full of fruit and vegetables that will last me over a week. Again, might not make sense to you but this is what is going on in my head…. econonically speaking, vegetarianism makes sense.
Finally, I realised that I don’t even really enjoy the taste of meat most of the time. Sure, I cover it with sauce and seasoning and only then is its more appetizing but a plain piece of cooked meat on its own honestly does not appeal to me now.
So, two weeks ago I decided to try out vegetarianism again.
And this time I decided to do it right. I researched protein sources. I drew up a basic meal plan that I could base my days on. I cycled to the grocery store and stocked up on a heap of fruits and vegetables. I also bought an iron supplement (I have low iron levels so need to watch my intake is high enough).
Throughout the past two weeks I have tracked my food to make sure I was eating enough of each macronutrient. I experimented on recipes, tried out new things and all in all had a delicious two weeks of eating.
How do I feel?
After my first two weeks on a vegetarian diet I can honestly say I feel great! I have not missed eating meat at all and I never felt hungry or disadvantaged by my food choices.
The only thing I’m unsure about it whether I feel so good and healthy because I stopped eating meat or because I filled that gap in my diet with fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and other nutrient dense foods. As much as I’d like to say that the lack of meat has made all the difference, the truth is that it is probably the latter. I have focused more on food quality, vitamin content and fruit/vegetable intake this week than I have in a long time. Every day I ate some lettuce, carrot, cucumber, capsicum, avocado, almonds, peanuts, berries, banana and an apple. Before this week, I would not have eaten nearly as many nutrient dense foods and I’m glad that this vegetarianism trial helped me focus on health again.
Where to now with my vegetarianism?
I’ve decided I’m going to continue with the vegetarianism. The reasons behind my initial choice for trying vegetarianism are still relevant and on my mind. Choosing to eat no meat for two weeks has shown me how sustainable it can be and how many food choices are available to me even when I have no meat on my plate. And the fact that I focused so much on my health was a big bonus and one that I will be taking advantage of for as long as possible.
I’ll try and continue this for as long as possible and perhaps the ‘possible’ will become ‘forever.’ We will see and as usual I will share any discoveries, changes or new ideas with you!
Are you a vegetarian? Do you have any tips or tricks for me? I have been doing heaps of research but hearing the experiences of others is the most useful thing to me.