I am a meat eater. There’s nothing better in this world than a medium-rare rib eye. My mouth waters just thinking about slicing into that tender, juicy, pink meat. Delightful.
Yet I’m thinking of becoming a vegetarian for the month of January.
I asked my hubbie, “What do you think?”
“I think that’s my worst nightmare,” he replied. “The woman I fell in love with thinks the fat of the rib eye is the best part.” Yes, I confess, I like to eat the gristle. I know, I know, that’s so unhealthy, but don’t knock it till ya try it.
But with that yummy, mouth-watering taste comes the high price of cholesterol, heart disease, and other aliments. I’ve been reading Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s The China study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducting and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health.
I was drawn to the book because I’m trying to lose my dreaded “baby weight”. When I became pregnant with twins, I thought, “Woo-hoo! I can eat anything I want. I’m eating for three after all.” I gained a staggering 40% of my pre-preggo weight and was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. A year later, it’s been a tough road to fit back into my skinny jeans. I’m now on a search for a more healthy lifestyle for me and my family.
The book’s results are eye-opening. It compares the animal-based eating habits of America to low-animal based diets in towns in China. Dr. Campbell found that,
“People who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease. Even relatively small intakes of animal-based food were associated with adverse effects. People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease” (Campbell, p. 7).
Where’s the Beef? I would call myself a fit and healthy person. I’ve run 2 marathons, and been a lifetime member of Weight Watchers for over 10 years. But, my love affair with red meat spurred me to follow the Atkins diet for the 2 years prior to my pregnancy. I could consume all the meat and veggies I wanted. I found my perfect diet.
Surprise, Surprise. As a new mom, I applied for a new life insurance policy. My blood work came back showing elevated cholesterol levels. Really? I’m a size 6, yet I have high cholesterol? That’s a surprise. It seems that my diet has kept my weight low but has not kept my heart healthy.
To be a Vegetarian or Not to Be a Vegetarian. Dr. Campbell’s book showed me that heart disease, diabetes and obesity can be reversed by a healthy diet. I can reduce my cholesterol just by changing my eating habits.
I’m thinking about giving this plant-based diet a shot. Can I last as a, gulp, vegetarian for a month?
If, and this is a big if. If, I do this, I’ll do it right. I’ll compare my cholesterol levels before and after to see if there’s a difference in my body. If I go through the torture of giving up my favorite dinner for a whole month, I want to know that I’m getting a benefit from this ordeal.
Questions to Consider:
- Am I ready to be the weird one? I’m in the deep South surrounded by steak and gravy dinners. Being a vegan is definitely an oddity. I only know of 2 people who are vegetarians, and I think they are weird. Now, everyone around me is going to think I’m weird.
- How much will this cost me? My local grocery store charges 5 bucks for a bag of MorningStar soy crumbles. Ouch.
- How do I incorporate this new lifestyle while raising my 2 toddlers? They are now eating what the family eats, so how do I ensure that they get their proper nutrients while I try out my experiment?
- Can I actually do this? I love meat so much that I crave it. I just don’t know if this meat-lover has it in her.
Should I be vegetarian or not? This will be a tough one, but an interesting challenge. I’m curious to see if I have the guts to follow it through.
- Campbell, T. Colin; Thomas M. Campbell II (2006-06-01). The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health (p. 7). Perseus Books Group. Kindle Edition.