Carnivore no more

It all comes down to one man, one week, no meat

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Carnivore no more

From burgers to ribeyes, hot dogs to chicken wings, meat is a big part of many unhealthy American diets, including mine. At this point for me, eating fatty foods is a little bit like smoking cigarettes; I know the health risks, but once I start, I can’t stop.

This love of all things greasy was what made me hesitant to remove all meat from my diet for a week. Surely, I thought, I couldn’t make it without any lapses.

For about one day, I was excited about eating a variety of healthy meat free options- like a parfait, apple slices, a bag of carrots and celery, and even a salad for dinner.

After the first day, the most difficult thing about the whole process was finding both the time and the motivation to eat a variety of healthy foods. While I ate some new, interesting salads, and even tried a surprisingly good veggie burger, too often I fell into the trap of eating nothing but high-carb, pre-cooked or reheated foods, like bagels, pizza, and, for three consecutive nights, macaroni and cheese.

final-piktochartMuch of this was due to a combination of laziness and time constraints. When going back and forth from work, school, and sports, it became easier to eat things like Pop Tarts, nuts, and yogurt, rather than spend time and energy trying new and exciting vegetarian options.

Another problem faced was deciding what was acceptable to eat and what wasn’t. Every vegetarian has their own opinions about whether eggs, fish, and milk are acceptable or not, and that’s without debating vegan and vegetarian. While anyone serious about maintaining a healthy diet will avoid fast food and calorie dense snacks, everyone has “cheat days”, and the last thing I wanted to worry about was whether a restaurant’s fries were cooked with animal fat or not.

Now, it’s undeniable that there are more varied, healthy, and tasty vegetarian options than just salads and bread-based food, but all of these options require more time and work to prepare, as well as buying more healthy food overall. Obviously, a health-conscious person would be remiss not to make these small investments, but in today’s busy world it becomes difficult to find time to have home-cooked meals, whether they’re meat free or not.

Really, the absence of meat did not have a huge impact on the healthiness of my diet. The biggest difference I noticed was that the variety in my meals went down significantly.

Because of this, I don’t believe that removing meat is the best course of action to improving a diet. After this week, I serve as living proof that a vegetarian can still have an unhealthy diet.

All the basic components of a healthy diet remain the same, meat or no meat: eat less of the greasy and fatty food that you enjoy, eat more of the healthy, natural food that some people pretend to enjoy.