Going Back to a Meat Eating Lifestyle

Happy Easter everyone!

When I originally began the whole Vegetarian-For-Lent thingy, I intended on becoming vegetarian for 40 days, which was what I thought the time frame for Lent was. However, that’s not the case. Apparently according to this site, the 40 days of fasting doesn’t include Sundays, so Lent is actually 46 days long, to include Sundays. A couple days before I started, I counted out 40 days (including Sundays), and that was last Monday. Since I have no religious ties to Lent, I decided that this week I was going to wean myself off of a straight vegetarian diet back into a meat eating diet.

Surprisingly, my first meat was calamari, which I had never had before. My brother and I went to a fancy restaurant and he ordered it. I was intensely curious, so I stole a couple bites.

After that, I began switching between vegetarian or meat based meals. At that point, I was fully expecting to have gastrointestinal issues because of the meat. Besides feeling a bit queasy, I haven’t had any negative health issues from eating meat (note: I did have issues when I switched to a vegetarian diet).

Some of the things that I’ve had to eat this week are hot wings, chicken noodle soup, pepperoni pizza (I bet you could’ve guessed that one!), orange chicken, and of course, steak. I spent all week preparing myself to eat that steak (I had it earlier today). I figure that you haven’t truly broken a vegetarian diet without steak.

Emotionally, I still feel like a vegetarian. I still have this feeling of scarcity when I think about food. When I was vegetarian, I felt extremely limited in my food choices. Because of the limitations, sometimes I didn’t eat as much, or as often. Sometimes, especially when eating spaghetti, I’d get through a whole plate and my stomach was full, but I still felt hungry. This feeling of a lack of food, or of hunger, still is the predominant feeling that I get when I think about food.

This is not to say that everyone would feel this way. I think the only reason that I felt like that was that I didn’t get into a sustainable groove of cooking food that was satisfying to me. There were definitely foods that were much more satisfying (pretty much anything with beans or fresh vegetables) and those that were not (mainly spaghetti). If I was to do this again, I would make sure to prepare myself to be able to cook at least one meal at home everyday.

The most surprising thing to me was that when I did start to eat meat again, it was rather dull. I figured that after going without for so long, the taste of meat would be amazing. Instead, it was not really tasty, even less so before the vegetarian experiment. The reason behind this must be that my taste buds have changed. As I said earlier, I still feel vegetarian. I have to keep reminding myself that I can eat meat, and that I should eat meat, which isn’t a very exciting concept to me. Meat just doesn’t taste that great to me anymore. I love the fact that I have a lot more choices though. That was one of the biggest issues I had with vegetarianism.

Greasy, fatty meat is gross to me. A couple weeks in, I saw some ground beef at a Taco Bell and I started to gag. That hasn’t gone away since I started to eat meat. I don’t think I’m ever going to eat that stuff again. Even just the smell makes me borderline nauseous.

The biggest reason why I chose to quit before Easter is that I was getting REALLY sick of cheese pizza and bean burritos. A couple weeks ago, I saw the light at the end of the tunnel and was really demotivated to come up with anything new or creative. At the same time, my workload doubled, so I was eating fast food all-the-freaking-time. Like I said in my last post, you have to be able to cook quite a bit at home to make vegetarianism sustainable. Well, that went really out the window for me. By the time Monday rolled around, the thought of staying vegetarian for another week was gone.

I didn’t think that breaking the habit of vegetarianism was going to be tough. I thought it was going to be like when you quit exercising. After you quit for a couple days, you don’t really have the urge to go exercise again. It’s been a week of eating meat, and I still have the urge to pick the vegetarian choice. I’m sure that it will greatly diminish over time, but it’s still kinda odd to me.

I’m happy that I tried vegetarianism, and I could definitely see myself taking a shot at it again sometime in the future when my schedule is less intense. I’m definitely going to incorporate more vegetarian foods into my diet from now on. There was several veggie meals that I loved, and I plan on continuing to eat those. I think I like veggie pizzas more than meat pizzas, as well as bean burritos. I’m probably going to stay away from both of those for a while, because I had way too much last week. In a couple weeks though, I’ll probably go back to having those as a regular part of my diet.

Starting a new habit is hard, especially when you are feeling stressed. Stress is probably the number one habit killer. Fortunately for me, I was pretty deeply engrained into vegetarianism when I started experiencing a truckload more stress. At that point, stressing my body by switching back to a meat eating diet sounded much less appealing than sticking to vegetarianism. That being said, I feel as though I gained a lot of perseverance to have stuck with vegetarianism as long as I did. I know now that if I had to do something like this again, I’d be able to last quite a while.

Overall, my experience was good. I’m glad I did it. I’m also glad I’m back to eating meat. I hope you enjoyed the ride!

– Neal

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