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VEGANGRANNY SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (90)
Posts: 1
4/7/14 8:41 A

Hi - I'd be very interested to know what sort of things you ate. Did you eat a lot of processed foods, like veggie burgers or meat/cheese substitutes? Fatty foods and oils? I've been vegan for more than 20 years, and I think I'm actually healthier! I am a bit overweight, but I love my food too much! What I have found recently is that if I eat mostly fresh fruits and vegetables, often raw, that I feel much lighter (don't know how else to describe it) and I actually have more energy.

SEPTEMBERGRL70 SparkPoints: (1,619)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 53
4/6/14 8:58 P

I was on a vegetarian diet for a year (ate nothing that came from a animal) and Gained Weight..after being off for some time and introducing meat both chicken,pork and beef back into my diet the weight started falling off again! So for me, it was a good thing, my energy level is up, my skin not as dry, and I feel better overall.

ALIAKAIS SparkPoints: (6,828)
Fitness Minutes: (10,141)
Posts: 97
4/6/14 4:25 P

I seem to have had a completely different experience from the rest of you. I remain vegetarian...and I actually noticed MASSIVE health improvements within a few weeks. For one thing, I manage to keep within my calories quite a bit easier now that I am veg, mostly because my protein sources are lower in calories because they are lower in fat. I don't eat a heck of a lot of pasta...I edged myself off of meat REALLY slowly (over a period of about 4 years), so I didn't miss it much after I dropped it. I did a bunch of research on how to eat a balanced diet, and I find that calorie wise it's a heck of a lot easier to get the majority of my nutrients from a plant based diet. I haven't had to worry to much about B12 and my iron hits around 86% dv each day, though my doctor has told me I don't show any signs of deficiency.

I stopped getting UTI's at all and my doctor told me that I'm nowhere near diabetes, though everyone else in my family has it. It's been helping with my aches, and this is the first time with hypothyroidism that the weight has actually begun to come off. I've gotten sick far less, have way more energy, can work out longer, and recover faster after workouts. My sleep quality is better too.

I think it's all about how you plan your diet, whether veg or omni. Honestly the exhaustion and sickness can come on any diet, but the most common thing I've seen with other vegetarians that report that is B12 deficiency. If you don't drink fortified soymilk or take a supplement it's hard as heck to get B12 in, and that can make you sick if you have a deficiency. Then again, most omnivores don't get enough either.

Good luck with your path. ^^

4/6/14 4:01 P

This is interesting for me to read, so thank you for posting. I have been a pescatarian (mostly vegetarian, very little fish) for 7 years and I'm currently thinking about adding chicken back into my diet. I feel like I've relied too much on cheese and starches to feel full when eating mostly vegetarian, which has caused me to gain weight, and I think if I could eat chicken I wouldn't do that. I've started to rely more on fish than I had been, but for both environmental and health reasons, I don't want to eat fish constantly.

I would never add red meat back -- I don't see the benefit -- but I have to admit, sometimes I think chicken could make life easier.

Edited by: NEWYORKCHICK at: 4/6/2014 (16:05)
APPRIL Posts: 2,239
4/6/14 12:36 P


Check out WFPB Lunch Salad 01 in sparkrecipes.
13 grams of protein and full of nutrients.

Meat as a protein source is ingrained in us since childhood. Unfortunately, meat does not contain all the cancer fighting and health building nutrients that plants do. You will lose these nutrients if you select meat over plants as your protein source.
Having said that, if you keep your meat intake to 5% of your total daily calories, then you will still be eating mostly veg.

Edited by: APPRIL at: 4/6/2014 (12:38)
4/5/14 3:53 A

I gave up meat for several months a few years ago. Was not worth it to me. It didn't change at all how I felt to be honest.

REBECANOLA Posts: 3,285
4/1/14 1:20 A

I was a vegetarian for over 10 years and I was actually less healthy than I am now. I didn't eat a lot of junk food or processed vegetarian products, either. I really just ate too many grains and legumes and those helped me put and keep weight on. I also got sick more often than I do including meat in my diet. But that's just my experience - in the end, I just couldn't make it work for me.

I eat mostly poultry and fish and now have a serving of meat or fish usually twice a day, if not with each meal . I do, however, eat a lot of vegetables and fruit. I have more energy now and my immune system is better than it was when I was a vegetarian. I don't remember having much of a transition period, but I didn't go from eating no meat to eating meat again every day, but my energy levels just soared. And now since I've moved to more of a Paleo diet, my energy, sleep, everything is even better.

FLORADITA SparkPoints: (63,888)
Fitness Minutes: (41,058)
Posts: 541
3/31/14 1:31 P

When I eat meat I feel sluggish and tired, I feel my best when I eat a plant based diet. I will eat wild pacific salmon as I live on the West Coast and get it fresh off the boats. I eat whole grains, oats for breakfast, some rice, quinoa, the occasional tortilla and a bit of pasta but not really a big bread eater. I eat to fuel my body and I find a mostly plant based diet gives me energy and plenty to eat without excess in calories. But most importantly I don't make a big fuss over what I eat, if I am invited to dinner, I eat what is served but in smaller portions. I find the bigger fuss I make about my diet the more my life is focused on food and not living.

LEC358 SparkPoints: (11,135)
Fitness Minutes: (6,555)
Posts: 2,744
3/31/14 1:23 P

Feeding animals meant for the food supply with animal byproduct isn't really done any more (thanks Mad Cow disease). But yeah finding meat that is hormone/anti-biotic free is a challenge. Trader Joe's and Whole Foods are my main sources when the farmers' markets aren't open. Here's a link with some labels to look for:

Edited by: LEC358 at: 3/31/2014 (13:23)
NICOLEH92LEE1 Posts: 125
3/31/14 1:12 P

I am currently 8 months pregnant and I was anemic my first pregnancy, this is my second. And I started to get the shakes/light headed feeling.. thin nails, signs of a problem. So, that was what motivated me to add some meat back in. I do eat spinach daily in my drinks/juices. I'm hoping to see an improvement in how I am feeling with the meat after a few weeks.

I do think grains are good for you, especially whole grains like oats and quinoa like you said. My main concern in meat is the possible hormones that animals are treated with and the animals well being, so I have tried to look for good sources. Ones that are vegetarian fed and no antibiotics or hormones, which has actually been a challenge.

RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
Fitness Minutes: (2,155)
Posts: 1,379
3/31/14 12:23 P

I might not be the best person to respond as I've never been a strict vegetarian, though my meat intake at times has been almost nil for months on end while at other times I've eaten 3 or 4 servings per week.

I don't notice any difference in how I feel, beyond that when my meals have meat in them it's easier for me to eat more calories at a sitting and go a longer stretch from one meal to the next. Without meat most of my foods are not especially calorie dense, and since I don't like the feeling of being stuffed, I don't usually consume a lot of calories at one go; I eat smaller amounts more often instead.

I did used to be anemic, but since that was also the case before I vastly dropped my meat intake and since it has stopped being the case over the last year despite that my meat intake has not on average increased, I am blaming that on poor nutrition in general rather than on lack of heme iron.

I don't worry about grains personally, not at all, though I don't consider bread to be the best possible grain source since most of it is very highly processed these days. I eat some bread, a little bit of pasta (I adore Israeli couscous, though I don't get it often), some oats (my breakfast most mornings includes a serving of granola), lots of rice; and once my in-laws finally leave and I can cook more again I'd like to experiment with some other things too. The thing is, when you take meat out of your diet (especially if you don't increase dairy and eggs correspondingly, which just about no one does), you need something to replace those calories and to replace at least some of protein. Grains, being relatively high in both those things -- and including amino acids you can't find in legumes, for instance -- fit the bill better than most other foods. It might be possible to get complete nutrition as a vegetarian without them (quinoa is a complete protein for instance), but it would certainly be a lot trickier.

ECKYLS Posts: 176
3/31/14 10:20 A

I'm eat mostly vegetarian, but will occasionally eat poultry or fish. Some days the thought of eating meat is just yucky to me, and other days it sounds more appealing. I was a complete vegetarian for a couple of years maybe a decade ago, but added limited meat back in. I don't eat meat at home, but will when dining at friends or in restaurants. Health wise I don't notice any real differences. It does make it easier to get some more protein in my diet, but even on my meatless days, that isn't too much of an issue.

I'm also gluten free, so I don't eat wheat at all. And I try to stay away from the gluten free replacements for breads and pasta for the most part since they are mainly empty calories. Just try to stick with stuff that isn't overly refined. Grains aren't bad - whole grains like oats, brown rice and quinoa are good to have in your diet. I'll substitute vegetables for pasta - I'll use cauliflower for mac & cheese and zucchini sliced thin instead of noodles to make a veggie lasagna.

NICOLEH92LEE1 Posts: 125
3/31/14 9:08 A

I was a vegetarian for a year and a half and this last week I started eating meat again, mainly chicken. I was wondering if anyone has had experience with this and how they felt eating meat vs being vegetarian felt and affected their weight/health.

Im trying to buy Greenwise meat (no hormones, grass fed) so far. I've even been doing some research into setting up my own chicken coop to have fresh, "humane" food right outside our door. So my question is..

How did you feel differently health wise with the different diets?

What kind of meats do you eat during the week? One of each class (pork/chicken/fish) ?

Did eating meat help you reduce your flour intake? I noticed as a vegetarian I was eating too much bread, which obviously can be done on any diet but I noticed Istarted using it as a meat replacer.. Pasta, breads, grains..

Let me know!

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