It has officially been 15 full days now since I started going vegetarian. That means I’m halfway through this hellish nightmare….

Ok, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration.

Actually, that’s a really big exaggeration because it just hasn’t been that bad. The people who run into me and ask me about it generally say something to the effect of “so what’s it like not eating meat?”. To which my reply is “not that big of a deal. My grocery list has hardly changed.” And that’s the truth. I already bought a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, dairy (except for milk), oatmeal, rice, and beans, among other foods regularly. The only items left off of my normal list include deli turkey, chicken breasts, fish, and…. well that’s about it really. Although fish isn’t on there too often which is odd because…

That’s one of the foods I’ve missed the most in the past 15 days. And it’s really one thing in particular: crab cakes. Fresh Market has these amazing crab cakes that you take home and bake and I am really looking forward to having those soon. Those and coconut shrimp. Yes, coconut shrimp. I added that one on here because my 1 month of going vegetarian ends on the same day I leave for Miami, Florida. I’m headed down to do a triathlon in South Beach on April 3rd and then spending a few days on the beach just relaxing. And it’s kind of tradition that when I go to a warm beach I always have coconut shrimp. But I need to stop writing about that right now because it’s nearing lunch time and I still have 15 days to go before I can indulge so….

What I’ve noticed

  • For starters, FIBER. Oh man the fiber. And that makes sense when you think about it. So to go along with that I’ve also been drinking more water. It’s important that as ¬†your fiber intake goes up, your fluid intake should also increase to help keep things “normal”.
  • Vegetables are easier to get into your diet. Ok, ok I know what you’re thinking. “Dude, you went vegetarian. Of course your vegetable intake went up!” But as I was discussing with a friend the other day, that isn’t necessarily the case. Doughnuts, pasta, soda, and pop tarts are all vegetarian too. As I’ve said before, I went vegetarian a couple of years ago for a month, but I did it while eating a lot of processed fake meat type crap. This time around I’ve had none of that and instead am eating more real, whole foods. And it’s been going a lot better. But back to the “more vegetables in the diet” part. What I’ve noticed is that by going vegetarian and doing it the right way, vegetables are the main course, not a side. And I think that’s probably the biggest thing I’ve noticed so far. Typically I’ll have an animal protein taking up 1/4-1/2 of my plate and veggies take up about another 1/4 while a carb source takes up the last 1/4. But my plate looks a lot different without the animal protein. Which brings me to the last thing I’d like to talk about….
  • Protein. That’s the other question I get a lot. “But are you able to get enough protein?” Yes, it’s not that hard. Eggs, beans, nuts/nut butters, cheese (reduced fat usually), and protein powder make it really easy to meet my needs even with my increased activity level training for a triathlon. The RDA (what most of us should have in a day) for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. And although I think that is too low, that’s what it is. That translates to about 55 grams of protein for a 150 lb person. For someone who is active that number goes up to anywhere from about 1.2-2.0 grams of protein per kilogram. So for that same 150 lb person, that comes to 82-136 grams of protein per day. Now, this is dependent on a lot of factors, but I think that for most people we’d be good to set the RDA to a minimum of 1.2 grams per kilo. But that’s just my own personal opinion. Although I like to think that somewhere, Wayne Campbell is smiling at that last sentence.

So I think that’s a pretty solid roundup of what I’ve experienced so far on my vegetarian journey. Although I have to add a couple of sentences below:

I cheated… twice. I went out for sushi one night and couldn’t just get a veggie roll and edamame. That just wouldn’t have been right. I also had a few slices of pepperoni that were stuffed inside of some delicious bread sticks. But hey, I was at Kilroy’s on Kirkwood so again, I think that was warranted.

Til next time!