How I gave up red meat

I just realized that I’m coming into my two-year beef free anniversary and I really wanted to get in touch with you guys about my journey so far.

It’s been great! Let me take you back for a second to when I first decided to stop eating beef.

First of all I thought I could never give up red meat. I mean I grew up eating meat it was always around and being Mexican well, most of our most delicious plates involve meat. So there was that.

As much as I enjoyed eating meat the digestive process was always so… painful? No, it was frustrating! One of my friends mentioned that she would get constipated after she ate meat and asked me if the same happened to me.

I didn’t realize it at the time but when I started to pay attention yes the same thing happened to me. I’d spent quite a while sitting on the toilet trying to do my thang but didn’t really end up doing anything.

I then started to limit my intake by consuming it only once a week, if that. I was really trying to put my digestive system to the test to see how much red meat was affecting it. I spoke to a friend who is pesco vegetarian.

He mentioned that your energy is different when you don’t eat meat and I thought to myself,  how?? How can something like meat change your energy that much???

I was ignorant to the whole feeling so I didn’t understand it but I was intrigued by the information I was given.

I really wanted to try this no meat thing and find out for myself about this energy nonsense he was talking about.

It was lent time and although I never really participate in things like this I thought to myself, “what a perfect time to give meat up.”

The first couple of weeks I didn’t notice much of a difference because let me remind you that I had limited my meat intake to once a week but I wasn’t forcing myself to consume it once a week either.

Anyway, I think about a month into the process I started to feel a change in my energy. He was right, my friend was right! I could be tired if I didn’t get enough rest but it was a different type of tired.

It wasn’t a groggy tired. In fact, I felt like I could just get up and go after only sleeping a few hours.

Some days while I was still consuming meat I felt like I couldn’t get up and if i went to work really tired, i almost craved the floor because I wanted to lay on it SO BAD!

When I first gave up meat people would ask me if I craved it, and to be honest at first the smell of carne asada on the grill made me scared that I would give in but it actually wasn’t that hard to avoid eating it.

I thought I would have a hard time being around people who consumed it but no, even then I was strong enough to not eat it.

It became really rewarding to have that extra boost of energy from not eating meat, and that’s what convinced me continue not to eat meat after lent was over.

I did it! I gave up red meat for good and no I don’t miss In & Out or tacos de asada. Sure sometimes the chicken tacos aren’t the same but for me it was so worth it to stop eating red meat and have more energy.

Oh yeah,  you feel so much lighter when you don’t eat meat. I know it may sound a little odd at first but think about it. Red meat stays in your body for about a week more or less. Yuck right?!

Fast forward to two years later; I average like six hours of sleep on the weekend. I’m usually very busy on the weekends with work and my daughter’s church activities so my sleep is much limited over the weekend.

Anyway, I sleep like three hours on Friday night after being up for almost 24 hours or sometimes I’m actually up the 24 hours.

Somehow I can get up and drop my daughter off at church, drive to the park and run four miles. I don’t think I would be able to do stuff like that if I was still eating meat.

Or maybe I’m exaggerating this energy thing? I don’t know but what I do know is that I feel so good without meat. I don’t crave it, in fact now looking at it or people eating it, it grosses me out.

I taught myself how to eat alternatives to meat but I still eat chicken, turkey and at one point I was eating bacon.

I don’t usually consume pork but bacon was my favorite and it took me a while to give that up. But I did, I gave up the bacon and no I don’t miss it either.

I’ve learned to try different stuff like tofu, and I really enjoy it.

I know sometimes it can be plain but you have to do some research and learn how to cook it to be able to enjoy it.

I also really enjoy black bean burgers (I made some once and they were amazing!) veggie burgers and tofurkey.

Sometimes I think we are so used to what we eat already that we are scared to try new things. I have made a lot of changes to my diet now that I am in my 30’s and not really because of my age but because I want to feel good, I want to have energy, and of course I want to LOOK good!

So my advice to you if you are thinking about making these type of changes in your diet like I did, is take it slow.

Take it one step at a time and be patient. I once tried to become a vegetarian cold turkey and no, it didn’t work out.

So, if you think it will be hard for you just take it slow and do your research on how to cook tofu etc. Don’t be afraid to try new things.

Some other things I have given up or don’t eat too often are fat milk, cheese and processed food.

As far as milk I don’t buy fat milk anymore for me nor my daughter. We drink soy milk or almond milk.

I don’t add cheese to anything but every now and then I will have a slice of cheese or nachos, or something like that.

What really helped me with making all these changes at home with a kid was that since she was smaller I was cooking light, I wasn’t always cooking meat and eating all these terrible things that aren’t really good for us.

My daughter enjoys eating salads, she enjoys tofu, and whatever I meal prep for myself I prep for her and she will eat it, except I add carbs to her meals and not mine, most of the time.

I think for me that made it much easier when making these changes. As a parent you feel concerned about these things because you don’t know if your kids will adjust with you or reject it and you’ll have to end up cooking separate meals for them.

For some reason lately fish has been grossing me out so I haven’t really craved fish. Oh, and before I even gave up red meat chicken would gross me out.

I couldn’t even finish eating it, that’s how much it grossed me out. I think I prefer my chicken fried but to be honest I think that’s the next thing I will be giving up.

Now, I have been thinking how could I give up hot wings I love them so much! But if anything I will probably have them every now and then, although the last few times I’ve had them they haven’t convinced me to stick around. (Lol)

So yeah, I think chicken is next and then turkey, we will see how this all works out for me.

Anyway, it’s been a great journey… not as hard as I thought it would be, so I think everyone can do it.

I will be writing about mine so if you have any questions or if you need support please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

UPDATE:

March 31, 2016

I have given up chicken (I’m a few weeks in) and I don’t really miss it although I am experiencing a few difficulties here and there but I will tell you all about them in my next blog post so make sure you stick around. 😉

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