I know what you’re thinking. These girls are mad! Only a few months ago we were spilling the beans on what we’d learned from a year off the booze…nek minute I’m here telling you all about the 8 things I wish I had know before going vegetarian!
Yes, last year was a year for making wild; some may say radical, life changes. This process has taught us a lot about who we are and what we want our lives to look like. A life without meat or alcohol? Sign us up! Ok, now we really do sound crazy.
As usual, we want to share the things that we’ve experienced with you guys. We had an overwhelmingly positive response to our post about quitting alcohol and we’re hoping that this will have the same impact…so here goes!
8 things I wish I had known before going vegetarian
#1 Eating out sucks balls
Starting with a negative here. It’s a crappy fact that all vegetarians have to deal with and one that meat eaters don’t really understand. I know, because I used to be one! When I was eating meat and had dinner plans with vego friends, I’d assume that one or two vegetarian options would be sufficient…meantime there I was with 20 things to choose from on the menu. #badfriend
We’ve found that the majority of restaurants have a very small vegetarian offering on their menus and I’ll hazard a guess that most consist of the following items.
Hot chips. Cheese pizza. Hot wet rice (aka risotto). And salad.
We all know, you don’t make friends with salad, especially in a pub! The standard offerings we tend to go for are carbs, carbs and more carbs…resulting in bloating and a bad mood because we’ve just paid $40 for a cheese pizza, hot chips and a sparkling water. I’m sorry to say, we’ve eaten out way less since we gave up meat because of the sorry state of most vego menu options.
The good news is though; we’ve been taking this opportunity to seek out some seriously awesome places that do cater for us veggie lovers. Check out our 8 best vegetarian restaurants that we’ve found in Sydney.
If all else fails, go out for brekkie! It’s a much more veggie friendly option and you know how much we love a good brekkie.
#2 You’ll become one of ‘those’ people
Before we gave up meat you could say that ignorance was bliss. You don’t know what you don’t know right?!
Apart from a brief dabble with vegetarianism when I was about 15 (read: I ate Linda McCartney sausages for 3 weeks), I’d never considered being vego. I mean, why on earth would we suddenly stop eating meat after eating it our whole lives?
Most of us make the decision to eat meat unknowingly at an early age. Usually as a result of what our parents do. It was only when we started educating ourselves on the food industry that we really started to wonder if the decision to eat meat was right for us now as adults.
I’d always thought of vegetarians and even more so vegans, as annoying, difficult people who just have to be different and especially hard to cater for. I’d never considered what had led them to make those choices. Let’s face it, they usually tell you before you even have chance to ask! That opinionated “I’m going to tell you why I’m vegan” thing, really turned me off which is probably why I didn’t care to look into it further…until we had to.
Some homework for a personal development course we did early last year got us thinking about our choice to eat meat, and it wasn’t what you may think. What first got us really thinking about this was a documentary about the link between nutrition and human biology and the fact that we are designed to be herbivores…not carnivores.
The way our intestines are designed and how our teeth are basically flat (for chewing plants) and not sharp (for tearing off chunks of meat) really struck a chord. I mean, how many people do you see running around biting into a cow with their bare teeth?! Yeah. Not many. Not to mention the serious health implications associated with eating animal products.
This really had us questioning the need for meat in our lives. Food for thought. Literally.
#3 You won’t miss meat
This has been a crazy one considering that for up until 8 months ago, we’d both eaten meat pretty much daily. I can hand on heart say; I don’t miss it at all.
The thing that really surprised us was how quickly we got used to not eating meat. We realised the main reasons we were eating it in the first place was convenience and choice. It’s so easy to continue eating meat because it’s everywhere. There’s an abundance of it. Which is part of the reason we quit altogether…cold turkey. Pardon the pun.
Ask any vegetarian or vegan and they will likely tell you that there was a tipping point when they drew a line in the sand and quit altogether. For us, it was watching one of a long list of docos called Cowspiracy, which just so happens to be produced by non other than Leonardo DiCaprio – fun fact!
The difference? This documentary wasn’t about human biology. It wasn’t about nutrition. It wasn’t even about animal cruelty. All of which were topics we’d researched. Cowspiracy put the spotlight on how the meat industry is having a serious impact on our environment. And nobody is talking about it.
We travel the world for a living and we are so grateful that we get to live our lives this way. However, for a long time we’d been thinking our carbon footprint was enormous due to all the flights we were taking and so we tried to offset that by using less water, recycling everything and buying eco friendly toilet paper. To then learn that animal agriculture accounts for a larger percentage of greenhouse gasses than entire transport industry was a shock!
We thought we were helping the environment the best we could when all the time the biggest impact we could make was to swap our beef burger for a lentil burger. The facts are scary and we’ve seen first hand how deforestation can have a devastating effect on our world. Watching Cowspiracy made giving up meat an easy decision for us. We decided that the future of our planet was more important than our tastebuds.
#4 Your health will improve
We’d definitely heard that eating a plant-based diet would improve our health but we also knew that being vegetarian doesn’t automatically make you healthy. There are lots of unhealthy vegetarians out there so it’s definitely not the only answer to perfect health.
Personally, we’ve seen an improvement in a few areas. Firstly, you feel weirdly lighter. That heaviness after a meal just isn’t there when you don’t eat meat. Our skin has also improved a lot too. We have far less breakouts and we’re guessing it’s down to having less hormones floating around in our bodies from eating meat.
There were also a few changes initially that we weren’t expecting. Our digestion was definitely out of whack for a few weeks and this may be TMI, but there was definitely an earthy difference to our number twos for sure! We even had to consult the Google machine to check this was normal. Self-diagnosis at its best!
When you tell people that you’re a vegetarian, one of the first things they will ask is, “but you need meat for protein right?” Wrong. There are so many plant-based protein alternatives that are seriously awesome, taste great and are way cheaper than meat. Check out this clip, which shows you 10 ways to get protein without eating meat. Our fave? Broccoli! Yummo.
#5 You will consider becoming a vegan
We’d experimented with being vegan for about a month early last year, but convenience and our travel plans made it ‘too hard’ to keep it up. After 8 months of being vegetarian though, we’ve definitely adopted a more plant-based lifestyle.
The majority of what we cook at home is all vegan thanks to the legends at Thug Kitchen. Their recipes are the bomb! The only thing stopping us from being full time vegans is our own laziness and the convenience factor when we travel.
More and more we’re able to get around this as we always travel with our own superfood vegan shakes and supplements which means when there’s nothing decent on the menu, we have all bases covered.
One thing we have realized is that in order to live a plant-based lifestyle, you need to be organized! This is especially important when travelling to places like China where they will serve you up things like a chicken in a bowl of soup…even though you’ve told them you don’t eat meat. Convenience isn’t always a luxury when you want to eat healthy and avoid animal products so our advice is to come prepared and think ahead, especially when travelling!
#6 You will save money…and then spend it!
Eating no meat, or even less meat, will definitely save you some money. Take dairy out of the equation and you’ll save even more!
The thing is, when you have extra cash to spend and you’re experimenting with a new lifestyle, if you’re anything like us, you’ll probably blow it on organic veggies and raw vegan treats. We have been known to spend $12 on one slice of vegan banoffee pie from Sadhana Kitchen! Eeeek! Expensive but so, so worth it.
If you’re reading this and you’re not quite ready to go the whole hog (bad pun!) and give up meat and dairy just yet, why not road test it with Meat Free Monday which is a great introduction. This non-profit initiative means you can do your bit to help slow climate change and improve your health at the same time. Winning.
#7 You’ll become addicted to docos…or maybe that’s just us!
Education is the real reason we made this decision. As I said before, ignorance is bliss and for me that was definitely the case.
If you’re reading this and thinking “You know what, I’m happy not knowing stuff”, that’s totally cool. Each to their own. However, if you’re thinking you do want to go down the rabbit hole and investigate this topic further, there are some documentaries that we’d definitely recommend watching.
Everyone is different, that’s what makes life so interesting, so there’s no guarantee you’ll feel the same way we did when we watched these. We’re all about learning, growing and empowering others to do the same. There’s no right or wrong here, we’re simply sharing what we’ve learned and hoping that it has a positive impact…the best kind of ripple effect!
As Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
Interested in why we chose to go vegetarian? Here are the documentaries and Ted Talks we’d recommend watching:
That Sugar Film Disclaimer: We still eat gelato! 😉
#8 You’ll wish you’d done it sooner
I can honestly speak for both of us when I say that this switch to vegetarianism has been a great decision for us. Going vegetarian and experimenting with going vegan has been surprisingly easy but I have a feeling that’s down to how we made the decision in the first place. We got educated; we started phasing meat out and then quit altogether. Simple.
Knowing what I know now, I definitely wish I’d done it sooner. There’s been nothing really negative about making this choice, apart from the lack of vegetarian options on most menus, but I can live with that. 🙂
Are you a vegetarian or vegan? What led you to make that choice? Has reading this post made you want to look into meat-free living a little further? Comment below and let us know!
Peace, love and mung beans peeps!
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