365 Days, Veg Strong!

A year ago tonight, D & I sat down to watch “Food Inc”; I had no idea what I would think, but I certainly didn’t expect to tear up within 15 minutes.

There are plenty of scenes that are still vivid in my memory, but there was one in particular that did the trick. Imagine a drawer full of baby chicks, stuffed so full that they can barely move, someone opening and closing it.

No big deal, they’re just baby chicks, right?

I felt sick.

Hello, Veg-life, let’s be friends.

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We had already been eating less meat/poultry*, so the total knock-out didn’t seem very different. It was only as the days, weeks and then months went by that I started to notice the changes. I felt better all the time; I ate healthier, because the options were mainly plants, grains & dairy; I experimented with foods I had never tried, and foods I hadn’t enjoyed in way too long.

I also became obsessed with pizza, but that’s another post for another day.

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Becaue I think they deserve their spotlight moment, here’s a short list of foods I’ve completely embraced over the past year (our previous relationships were rocky): Avocado, Tomatoes, Squash, Oil-based dressings, fresh Herbs, CHEESE (even trying new types of cheese!) Nuts and Black Beans.

I’ve tried, created and tested more recipes in the past 365 days than I had in the previous 5+ years. I’ve learned how to really read and find the gems on a restaurant menu, and how to be even more picky when I order (only when necessary!).

I still have a whole list of things that haven’t made it on my plate yet; hopefully next year that list above will be even longer!

*I do still eat fish about once or twice a month, so technically it’s “pescetarian”. But I’m not one to be a stickler about labels, and don’t like fish enough for that one.

******

The golden question – do you eat enough protein?

There are ton of vegetarian, or vegan, athletes. Elites in almost every sport are speaking up and lending a voice to the debate. Yes, protein helps build and repair muscle tissue, which is even more important when you constantly work those muscles. But I can assure you, animals don’t need to be part of that equation.

For extra credit, ask Bart Yasso, Scott Jurek, Dave Shishkoff, Matt – NMA, or Ashley -  just to name a few (of many)!

On my end, these happened on a veg-friendly diet over the past 365 Days:
Two Marathons, Three Half-Marathons, a Lot of shorter Races (5 & 10Ks), Cross Fit Survival, New Yoga Poses/Classes/Challenges, and strength-defining Warrior Workouts. And I’m still here, getting stronger…

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My muscles haven’t complained so far.

********

Here’s to another 365 days of new foods, new recipes, and a lot of new tests to my strength and endurance!

This post is just a reflection of my own experiences, opinion and choices. As a Dietitian, athlete,and friend, my mind is open to all types of diets, and I would never “judge” either way.

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26 Comments

Filed under about me, vegetarian

26 responses to “365 Days, Veg Strong!

  1. Congrats! Going plant-based opened my eyes to SO many more foods. It was a change for the better!

  2. Awesome! My vegiversary is next month and I love it. I’m looking forward to embracing it even more in the 2nd year and being slightly more strict with myself. I know I have occasionally eaten things with beef extract, candy (gelatin) – or packaged gravy – in the last year and I would like to work towards cutting that stuff out completely for both my health and the environment. The idea of eating meat actually makes me feel sick now.

    I am also a “pescatarian” though because I can’t bare to give up my beloved sushi 😀

    • Heather C

      Ha, I actually can’t do Sushi – the “raw” factor grosses me out. But I do love Veg-sushi! We just enjoy a grilled salmon every now n’ then, but are careful about what type we buy and/or where we order it.

      “vegiversary” – Love it.

  3. Jamie

    Since cutting out meat recently- the “how do you get protein?” question is definitely the most frequent thing I am asked.

  4. Elizabeth

    The more I read about it, the more I think that I could try this whole vegetarian thing. Maybe for a month or so (when someone’s out of town).

    I also have a girlfriend who loves her burgers but went on a vegan kick for three weeks as a detox and she loved it. So maybe I am the one missing out here.

    • Heather C

      I’ve actually been surprised by how satisfying (taste & craving-wise) a good veggie burger is! Never store-bought, you gotta make them at home and it’s SO worth it.

      Clearly I’m a little biased as to whether/not you’re “missing out”, 🙂 but maybe I can convince you to try it for even a few weeks or so…

  5. runyogarepeat

    Congrats on the veg anniversary! I stopped eating chicken/turkey after watching that movie, and now I’m vegetarian except for the occasional fish as well. I seriously think my running/fitness/health have all improved since then.

  6. happy anniversary! i can’t believe it’s been a year!

  7. Vegiversary ~ I love it. Congratulations, and keep it up! I guess this winter was my 15th vegiversary (with a few lapses while living abroad) – more than half my life spent as a veggie! Think of all the animals & environmental pollution we’ve spared.

    Even after all this time I’m inspired by your recipes and willingness to experiment. BTW, I’ve tried to find your post where you link to the delicious Beety Burgers – craving them again – but I can’t find it. If it’s easy, could you send me the link?

  8. I’m the same. I got sick after watching that movie. Fish and eggs and tempeh are my main sources protein as well. Love all those veggies, pizza is the best way to pile them high!

  9. My reaction to that stuff was to just eat leass meat and eat it from a known place – kinda like you do with your eggs. Avoid factory farmed meat, etc. Ideally I’d go get my own from a local farm like they showed in that movie… but I don’t always do that. Maybe someday I’ll go veg, we’ll see. But I admire your dedication and changes! 🙂

    • Heather C

      I think that’s great! If I hadn’t completely lost my appetite for it, I would’ve just transitioned to organic-farmed and/or local choices. In both DC and Denver there are a lot of options for both, so I would’ve been all set! 🙂

  10. That’s awesome! And so cool that avoiding some foods can lead one to discover how much they love other foods. Ah, cheeeeeese! And pizza…I think that’s what’s for din din tonight.

    I still really want to go veg. Kind of afraid what the manfriend would do, but not too much. I’ve mentioned it and we don’t eat much meat anyway. That could be a fun 30 day summer experiment along with the yoga challenge. Hmm…

    Yes, Food, inc. and Lisa Ling’s Oprah story on factory farming = frightening that is for sure!

  11. I once didn’t eat hamburgers for a month after seeing a secret video of a slaughterhouse. It was truly disturbing.

    • Heather C

      Well the practices probably haven’t changed much 😉 This gives me hope that you could survive a totally meat-free Month…maybe….just maybe…

  12. Lauren

    I’m proud of you!! I think I could do it for awhile, buuuut not gonna lie I don’t know how long I would last. However, I will never watch FoodInc. I can only imagine how disturbing it is… 😦 Poor little bebe chickies. See you TOMORROW!!! Maybe you can whip up some good veggies for Easter 😀 I got the cake covered, just don’t look at how much butter is in the recipe mmmmk? 😉 nom nom nom

  13. Abby

    I haven’t seen the movie Food, Inc. but I really want to watch it! I will have to pick it up one of these days! Can’t wait to keep seeing new experiments and ideas so I can try them too!

  14. Love this! I’ve had a similar experience, but it’s been just a bit longer. One thing that really stuck out to me is that you’ve created more recipes with this eating style than you ever did before. It’s not about eliminating meat, it’s about getting creative with plant-based wholesome, delicious, nutritious, satisfying meals. And you are a perfect example of that! 🙂

  15. So very cool! 🙂 Good for you girlfriend! ❤

  16. You totally read my mind!!!! I’ve been slowly getting away from the meat and feel great!! I thought it would be harder, but seriously, it’s only been a week that I’ve majorly cut back and I’m finding new creative ways and things to eat instead. I’m still learning, but love the possibilities out there with food! Good work with the 365!!!

  17. I have been a lacto-ovo veggie since May of 2002. I try cut out eggs and dairy at times but it is hard with a hubby that is not a veggie (though he loves veggies). I was anemic before (even passing out) and am not now. So many possibilities out there with food. I have never felt bored or deprived.

    As for pizza, I also have an obsession with it. No worries…it is normal.

  18. Pingback: 2011: The Loud Year | Dietitian on the Run

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