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10 Things I learned going from Paleo to Vegetarian!

10 Things I learned going from Paleo to Vegetarian!

I don’t know if it is just my own community and social media, but I have seen an uptick in people eating Vegan. A few friends attribute it to the recent Netflix Documentary, What The Health, while others are just playing with their diet to cure a health concern.

My initial reaction to ditching meat is summed up in this photo:

Recently, I met a women who had been Vegan for a year. She said to me, “I know you are Paleo, so we are the exact opposite.” I can’t say this offended me, but it did give me something to think about.

Paleo, Vegan, Pescatarian, Vegetarian? What’s the difference?

It’s no surprise when people tell me that they are trying to eat better, but don’t know where to start! Google clean eating and you’ll get a massive amount of options.

The search can be overwhelming and drive people to just sit and cry into their pint of ice cream instead. 

Image Credit: http://freefromharm.org/common-justifications-for-eating-animals/do-different-people-really-need-radically-different-diets/

The Vegetarian Challenge

Little did the women I met earlier know, I was already 5 days into my vegetarian journey! After hosting clean eating challenges every month, I decided that this month, I’d create some vegan and vegetarian meal plans to challenge myself.

I told myself to give it 7 full days and then I could quit. I completed 2 full weeks!

If you have been following me for any amount of time, you know that I have been Paleo for almost 6 years. I won’t go into details of my journey, but you can read it here on Marks Daily Apple.

I feel that too often, we find a diet or a belief and we dive in without doing our own research. I didn’t want to follow something blindly! With that said, we as humans, tend to shut out other opinions when we believe we already have the right answers. I didn’t want to be one of those close minded people either.

So this month, I decided to launch my 14 day group and challenge my diet by going totally Vegetarian. I let up on my paleo lifestyle a little. While I maintained 100% gluten- free and soy free, I wasn’t as strict in all areas. 

Paleo to Vegetarian, What Did I Learn? 

  1. Going Vegetarian Wasn’t That Hard. Going from a Standard American Diet to a Paleo Diet, was a harder transition than going from Paleo to Vegetarian.
  2. Going Vegetarian helped me to focus on making sure the bulk of my diet is plant based. Sometimes, even as vegans or vegetarians, we can forget to eat more vegetables. Breakfasts can consist of a baked good rather than vegetables. Our lunches can be sandwiches, rather than a big veggie filled plate. We often fall into that old lifestyle of veggies are for dinner! This was a good kick in the pants to eat vegetables with every single meal!
  3. I can survive a vegetarian diet! I was hungry for the first 3 days and my body was craving meat. Once I got past the cravings, my body really didn’t feel any different. My energy remained the same and I was reaching my workout goals with no issues. I always thought I needed meat every day, now I know, I can be pickier about the meat I eat.
  4. Not all meat is equal. While I already knew this from being paleo for almost 6 years, we sometimes fall back into the habit of just eating any meat. At home, we eat organic, grass- fed meats. When we are out, we don’t always follow that rule. I want to really maintain a focus on the quality of meat that I consume because I feel that is important. Now that I know I don’t need meat with every single meal, that will be easier to accomplish.
  5. Oreos are vegan! Just because someone is vegan, it doesn’t mean it is the healthiest diet. Just like with any diet, we need to be careful we aren’t consuming processed foods and junk. Vegetarian and vegan diets always sounded so healthy to me, until I tried this challenge. That had me researching and reading labels like crazy!It amazes me the things that are vegan and vegetarian!
  6. Vegan is a lot more strict than vegetarian. I met some vegans on my journey and found out way more about the lifestyle than I had previously known. Vegan is such a personal lifestyle that goes way beyond just food. Vegan are super passionate. One girl I spoke with said, “There are times I am on the phone with clothing companies before I buy a shirt I like, because I need to see if they are vegan friendly!” I get sick of reading food labels, I can’t imagine having to read food, clothing, furniture and labels for every product I own. I give vegans props!
  7. I like meat. I enjoy a good burger now and then. My second day as a vegetarian, my husband decided to take me to my favorite burger joint! I had to order a vegetarian burger. While I loved the vegetarian burger, I missed my red meat!
  8. Will I go vegetarian forever? No, I believe there are some benefits to eating high quality meat. With that said, I will probably make the bulk of my meals plant based and eat meat a couple times a week. I no longer feel the need to pack my plate with mostly meat.
  9.  Vegetarian, Vegan and Paleo aren’t that different. Yes, one eats meat, two eat eggs and some dairy products, one avoids all animal products. However, when we get down to it, the goal of all 3 diets is to focus on plants as a main source of nutrients. Many of the Paleo meals I eat, are also vegetarian or vegan approved.
  10. I Love a challenge! Taking time to push myself with food gives me time to think and reflect on how I live and feed my family. I found some incredible delicious recipes that I can incorporate into my weekly meals. My son discovered a love for eggplant! I encourage you to break down your food barriers and mindset, give a plant based diet a try for just a few days.

After doing a ton of research on Vegetarian diets, I decided that Dr. Hyman’s article resonated with me more than any other article I’ve read about food. I absolutely love his vision of food freedom and balancing our diets. More plants is the way to go!

I got asked if I was going to try full Vegan next, I am not sure thats on the menu right now but I am not against it. I love finding what works for me and I love trying new things. Will you give Vegetarian a try? What scares you about trying new diets? How can I help?

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