In August 2011 I read an article about badger culling and how it is common practise to protect cattle from TB. Then I had a bit of an argument with my friend about it as we both had very different view points on the subject, and I haven’t eaten meat since that afternoon! It was that quick a decision! I think everyone was a bit confused when I announced my decision because although everyone knows I care about animals and the environment I had not been very vocal on any thoughts of vegetarianism. My decision wasn’t about the badgers but instead it was the realisation that I was complacently eating meat without knowing all of the facts behind it. I decided that while I was learning the facts I would take myself completely out of the game and not risk eating anything which may upset me later on.
I didn’t give much thought to what I would need to eat differently or how it may affect my health later on in life. I thought the whole protein concerns were just carnivores trying to put me off and I had no intention of spending money on expensive whole food alternatives as I honestly just thought that the extra fruit and vegetables would keep me going. As many vegetarians will agree I think it is only since going vegetarian and taking responsibility for my food choices that I’ve begun to take a bigger interest in my health, in the background of my food and in the balance we need within our diets to stay healthy.
It’s not just vegetarians who need to be careful with their diet but everyone should be aiming for an overall better balance of health and a better understanding of what our bodies need. I started using an online programme called “My Fitness Pal” which tracks not only the calories but also the carbs and protein of your diet, and I was interested to see how I am reguarly low on my protein and high on my carb intake! I had swapped meat for carbs without even realising it – especially at the weekends! Even though I eat a lot of fruit and vegetables it doesn’t mean I’m the pinnacle of a healthy vegetarian and I am now realising this. I spoke to my mum at the weekend about my concerns as she was vegetarian for a long time and she told me she had been concerned about her protein levels – especially as she got very ill resulting in a life saving operation.
The only way I can think to describe what I thought about protein is to compare it to a conversation with my granddad the other day. We were driving through a deep puddle down a country lane and he kept saying “slow down, slow down you’ll flood the engine” and I had no idea what he meant. I said “oh I thought you just drive slowly through puddles so that you don’t swerve to one side” and he explained about the water splashing up under the car and how it could cut out the engine! Well similarly I thought not eating enough protein meant I might just be a bit tired or something but actually you could end up writing yourself off and shutting down your engine. Well ok that’s a silly comparison but you know what I mean!
So over this next month, and probably continually for the rest of my life, I want to learn more about what exactly it is that our body needs, why it needs it and how I can get it without breaking the bank! (I should probably learn a little bit about cars too!!). I like being someone who can share vegetarian ideas which are accessible and appealing to a mass market as I think some people look at the long list of ingredients in a lot of vegan/ vegetarian food and get put off. But I also want to be aware of providing the best balance of simplicity and vitality that I can.
I used to roll my eyes at the whole protein debate but now I’m jumping right in and making sure we are all aware of the vital part protein plays in our diet. I have come up with a few easy ways to get a bit of protein in our diets which I will be sharing over the next few weeks and also I will be sharing an evaluation on my own diet and any changes I may be making myself!
Any help/ opinions from my fellow bloggers is always welcome, I have found so many sources of inspiration since beginning to blog and I feel I have so many people to learn from. As Dr. Wayne W. Dyer said “The highest form of ignorance is to reject something you know nothing about” something we should all keep in our minds when making choices for our health.