My Opinion On The Vegan / Vegetarian Fad Diet
First of all, what is a vegetarian? I can’t get all these words straight? Vegan, Vegetarian, Lacto-Veg, Ovo-Veg, Lacto-Ovo Veg, OH MY! #lionsAndTigersANDbears
What is a fad diet? What is a diet? What is the purpose? IM SO CONFUSED!?!?
Meat was always a fun subject in the Wilson house hold. Here is why… As a very young girl, almost too young to remember, my weekly & monthly Dr. visits were a pretty regular thing. Not because I had a deadly illness, not because I was accident prone or because my immune system wasn’t strong, but because my parents couldn’t figure out why I wouldn’t eat meat.
The Dr.s had to give me iron shots to supplement my mac’n cheese diet.
Once when asked, I told my mother that I didn’t eat meat, “because it got stuck in my teeth”. (I’m not gonna lie, I’m a super flosser even to this day. But there’s more to the story).
There were on and off days for many years to come. I had sleep overs at my friends house in elementary school. Depending on the day, and how hungry I was, determined how desperate I was to eat what their families cooked.
I spent many days and evenings with one friend in particular. Her father was a very skilled hunter. He always had deer meat, different bird varieties, and many other varieties of food at dinner time. I remember going to bed hungry most nights I spent over there, but her mother was a smart and compassionate woman. She caught on to my eating patterns and started keeping grilled cheese supplies on hand for when I made my appearances.
I’m sure this was EXTREMELY frustrating for my own mother. Probably even a little bit embarrassing too.
It was in 6th grade when I first learned what a vegetarian was. I didn’t know there was a “category” I belonged in… I didn’t know there was a “label” to be placed on my forehead. There weren’t smartphones or easily accessible internet. Most homes didn’t have a computer, and if they did, “google” wasn’t made into a verb yet.
It was lunch hour at Durant Middle School. The sixth grade’s turn in the cafeteria and hot dogs were on the menu. On occasion, I would find loose change in our couch and buy snacks from the vending machine instead of eating form the lunch line. This particular day, I only had my lunch card and I was starving!
I never really liked hot dogs, but in desperate times, I would eat them. This is one of those days. I hopped in the lunch line, and waited my turn. Im going to be honest, I don’t remember a single other food that was on my plate. All I remember is that hot dog, staring me in the eye. I figured, if I put enough ketchup on it, maybe I wouldn’t notice that it was a hot dog.
I went back to my seat ready to dig in. My VERY BEST FRIEND sitting directly to my right decided that this was a GREAT day to explain to me, in great detail, what hot dogs were made out of.
Have you ever heard bad news, and got sick to your stomach IMMEDIATELY? Well… to a 6th grader, this was devastating. My lunch was ruined on the spot. I didn’t know if I wanted to cry, throw up or go on a mission to save all the pigs on planet earth.
Now this might sound silly to most of you… but my world came crashing down.
A few moments later, I heard the voice of an angle beam from a few seats down. I don’t remember her name, and I don’t remember her face, but she said in one dainty whisper, “thats why I’m a vegetarian”.
THIS GIRL WAS MY NEW BEST FRIEND!! But… we all know how middle schoolers are…. Then I was the “copy cat” because I wanted to be a “vegetarian” and the pivotal moment of my existence was with this girl telling me that she simply chooses not to eat it. LIKE SERIOUSLY?? YOU ARE ALLOWED TO DO THAT?
OK so lets take a moment think about the age 11. Do kids usually get to pick what they eat? Or does mom make meals (maybe with a small consensus) and they eat what she puts on the dang table?
I don’t know about you, but I grew up with 3 brothers and sisters. NOT eating meat at this point wasn’t an option. I was old enough to know the consequences (dreaded Iron shots) and I knew I had to eat what my mother placed on the table or this girl was going to bed hungry.
Still, in the back of my mind I wondered, how did that girl from school not have to eat meat AND not have to see a doctor.
As I’ve aged, I’ve gone through many internal battles on the subject. The typical American diet includes some sort of animal product with every single meal. MOST American diets include VERY FEW Whole Foods – and 90% of kids ONLY source of vegetable is the potato, in the form of a French fry!!! (Fun fact if you didn’t already know).
Eating veggies and WHOLE foods, is just as important as getting COMPLETE protein in your body for MANY MANY MANY reasons.
Yes, you can live a full life from eating meat. You are eating something, that ate the greens for you. BUT why not get the nutrients straight from the source? (just a thought)
Really… It is MUCH MUCH easier to let the cow eat the grass, and then we can just eat the cow.
Anyways, thats a-whole-nother topic I’ll save for a different day.
My point? I knew there had to be a way to make this vegetarian life style work, but I just didn’t fully know how. I tried several times and failed due to lack of nutrients. I just didn’t feel right. (I also had a undiscovered gluten intolerance which made eating very hard for YEARS) For example… Veggie burgers made me SO SO SICK. It turns out… they bind some of them with wheat products… humm….
It wants until 6 years ago (age 22), when I took the initiative to research what nutrients your body needs to thrive and survive.
I have notebooks and notebooks full of information that ultimately gave me the freedom to choose what lifestyle I wanted to lead, and how it would affect my future.
So now let me answer some of the crazy questions I promoted you with in the beginning.
First of all, what is a vegetarian?
By Google definition: a vegetarian is a person who does not eat meat, and sometimes other animal products, especially for moral, religious, or health reasons.
I can’t get all these words straight?
Let me help you
Vegan – a person who does not eat or use animal products.
Lacto-Veg -do not eat red or white meat, fish, fowl or eggs. However, lacto-vegetarians do consume dairy products such as cheese, milk and yogurt.
Ovo-Veg – do not eat red or white meat, fish, fowl or dairy products. However, ovo-vegetarians do consume egg products.
Lacto-Ovo Veg – Lacto-ovo vegetarians do not consume red meat, white meat, fish or fowl. However, lacto-ovo vegetarians do consume dairy products and egg products. This is the most common type of vegetarian.
OH MY! #lionsAndTigersANDbears
So now, if you’ve made it this far, you’re probably wondering… WHAT CATEGORY DO I CLASSIFY MYSELF WITH?
I don’t put a label on it. I don’t claim to be a vegetarian, a vegan or an animal activist.
I live my life to best of my ability. I act on the things that I feel led to stand for, spend a lot of time in prayer, and trust that God made me who I am for a very specific reason.
Something that we have to realize as humans, is that everyones convictions are different. Everyones purpose on earth is very very different. Compassion is never a bad thing. Especially when it is gifted from God! I would never judge someone for eating meat, and I expect the same respect when I choose not to. God changes our hearts one moment at a time for a reason.
We all have a different purpose, and a different section of this earth that our lives need to impact.
With that being said… my personal choice to not eat meat, especially when I don’t know where it came from, is a conviction that I’ve struggled with since I was a very young child. It is imbedded in who I am. If I had all day, I could tell you story upon story about moments in time when I was almost in tears over having to eat meat… or the first time I was served a rotisserie chicken. But I do know, that nobody cares LOL.
Through rational conversations, extended research, and many many hours of biblical intervention, I have discovered that the food I put in my body is MY choice. So, I choose to be specific on the quality, quantity and morality. I choose to not support the mass meat market. I choose a plant based life style I have the resources to supply. This life style is 100% about the resources available to the person!! I would highly advise against a plant based diet to someone who does not have the proper variety needed to thrive!
SO MOVING ON….
What is a fad diet?
A fad diet is a diet that promises quick weight loss through what is usually an unhealthy and unbalanced diet.
What is a diet?
The kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats.
What is the purpose?
YES, veganism, or vegetarianism can be used in a bad way. It can be used as a “fad diet” to loose weight quick. Basically the idea is, if you FULLY restrict your diet to only lettuce and carrots, you’re going to lose weight. DUH… you’re starving yourself! Try restricting your diet to only potato chips and ketchup… same results.
WHEN I SAY DIET —- I just mean your lifestyle choice. People who eat fast food every day… they have a “fast food diet”… Its as simple as that. Diet doesn’t declare restriction or determine weight loss, it simply describes what you put in you body regularly weather it be good or bad.
I want to make this one last statement before I say goodnight. If you are eating “vegetarian” to solely lose weight. I would HIGHLY suggest to reconsider. This is why: If you restrict your diet just to simply lose weight, it might work. Then what happens when you get sick of eating that way, and go back to eating how you used to. YOU GUESSED IT… you will pack the lbs right back on.
What I would suggest for you instead, is to start being mindful about what you eat and when. Take a moment to think, “is food controlling me?”. There is a chance, if you try to give up… say… refined sugar for only a day or two… and you cant do it. Food probably has a controlling factor on you, which is the source of your problem. NOT the fact that you’re eating meat.
When food starts to control your brain, you can easily eat an extra 1,000 calories a day, that your body doesn’t need… with out you even noticing! Quick breakfast through the drive through, Snacks at work, take out for lunch, rich sugary drinks and extra large dinners (maybe even a midnight snack). It all adds up.
To wrap this thing up… Keep in mind, there are many other reason to seek a vegetarian diet other than conviction and fad dieting… most very valid and purposeful reasons.
This is in NO way a message to put anyone down. My hope is to share, and inform.
I wanted to share my own personal testimony, and encourage those who feel lost, confused or curious.
From one simple human being to another,
I hope you have a spectacular night… and never forget to keep smiling =)