30 Days without meat

My answer to plants vs meat debate

There are 3 general rules for healthy nutrition:

  • Don’t eat too much fat or sugar
  • Eat as many vegetables and fruits as possible
  • 2L of water per day

I also have a sort of genetically inherited stomach disease and my doctor added a few more conditions:

  • Don’t eat raw fruits and vegetables. The only exceptions are bananas
  • Don’t eat fried food
  • Avoid chocolate and every food that’s made of it

What the F**K am I suppose to eat then?!, I asked.

No one answered.

I have friends that are vegetarians, vegans, and strong meat consumers. I talked to all of them, asked them why they eat as they do and how they feel.

Those that still are vegetarians or vegans gave me the feeling that the only reason they quit meat is because they love animals. Only one of them truly convinced me that he quit eating meat because, after a period of time of eating plant-based, he felt much better in his own body.

It’s worse with meat consumers: most of them don’t even consider quitting meat. Why? Traditions, fear of change, and all stores of arguments that, even though are powerful, are not powerful enough when it comes to health.

I couldn’t identify with any of them. So I had to try everything I’ve learned just to reach my own conclusions.

Plants vs Meats

I went 30 days without meat, then 30 with.

The first week without meat was kind of strange. It wasn't hard quitting meat, but I kept expecting myself to get weaker and weaker. I didn’t.

Cons of a plant-based diet:

  • I needed to eat more often and a little bit more every meal
  • I had to look more carefully for my proteins
  • Low intake of vitamin B12

Pros:

  • It challenged my creativity. I found all these plants I never knew they are out there. Cooking became more of a creative process.
  • That heavy, sleepy feeling we all feel after a meal vanished. I could start doing stuff almost right away
  • My energy got boosted throughout the day
  • Muscle pain while working out wasn’t that bad anymore. I could bear it much easier
  • I was sleeping way better
  • My brain could focus much more and recover much faster
  • I didn’t lose weight, even gain 1kg of muscle

Initially, I expected that all these plants will start triggering my disease like my doctor said it would. It didn’t. The only explanation I have it’s that I mixed cooked food with not so many raw fruits.

Going back to meat

I don’t want to convince you to go vegetarian. I am not. I still eat meat, even if in smaller quantities, but that first week after my plant-based month was awful.

Pros of eating meat:

  • Got my proteins and necessary calories much faster
  • Great taste

Cons:

  • The heavy feeling after every meal
  • You can actually feel that food is digested for much longer
  • My brain felt like was getting tired much faster, my muscles felt sorer after a good workout and surely recovered much harder
  • I could feel much clearer the fats in my sweats
  • I felt this strong need to sleep in the afternoon and my night sleep felt much lighter

Those 2 months combine helped me understood that I need both of these ingredients in my alimentation

I have no clear solution. I now plan my meal accordingly to my daily routines, but I always try to have these rations: 60–80% plants, 40–20% meat.

My life quality is much higher when I eat more plant-based foods. For that reason, I still take months or random weeks when I avoid any type of meat.

The thing that worked for me was experimenting and not being afraid of trying something new. I also kept in mind that the body is always changing, and so its needs. What works today might not work tomorrow so, as one of my coaches said, don’t get married to your meals.

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