The Wrong Way To Be A Vegetarian!

Stories… I believe they are there to help people see pieces of their life in a different way and hopefully use the information to making their health goals just a little more achievable!  

This story of my vegetarian days isn’t for or against vegetarians.   I fully believe there are some people that can and should be vegetarian and there are others that can and should include healthy animal protein.  


In my early 20’s I was a vegetarian or at least tried to be a vegetarian…. I wasn’t a good one for sure!   My diet consisted of lots of dairy (my not-so good protein source), some celery and carrots for veggies, maybe a spinach salad every couple days with honey mustard dressing.  I would also eat french fries because that was a potato and helped keep me full longer than the veggies.   Breakfast was cereal with milk… a little bit healthier one than lucky charms, but that isn’t saying much or maybe a yogurt with some toast.  I did eat eggs, but scrambled with milk and cheese.   


Let me tell you what my body looked like…  I was bloated with IBS, very rounded face, swollen eye lids, allergies flared up with stuffy nose constantly, regular cystic acne on my face, despite using topical medicine and when I got pregnant with my first child, my acne on my back (not to mention my face, increased 10 fold)!   My husband was mortified to help me put anything on my back to try and help the acne.   My pregnancy brought on cravings for daily milkshakes because I thought my body was needing protein and fat…. probably more like sugar to keep my energy up.  Then I nixed the vegetarian lifestyle, while baby was inside, for bacon and salami!    My body was starving for different foods and I wasn’t seeing it!   


I look back on these days and can see exactly what I was doing to myself and why all the problems with my skin and body.  My body was full of inflammation!    Doctors thought my IBS was stress, (which did aggravate it), my acne was hormonal (which diary contributes to) and my constant stuffy/drippy nose sent me to an allergist finally (positive for allergens in 3 out of 4 seasons).  


Over the years I have learned so much from those days of trying to be a vegetarian.   If I were to go back to being a vegetarian I would do it much differently… like eat real vegetables!  haha!

But I also know that my body doesn’t do very well on just vegetables.   My body was craving protein and healthy fats!   It was needing these nutrients to help with my digestion, help with my low energy levels, help me lose some weight (which was the excess inflammation), and to help tone my muscles.     


 Grazing cow in pasture


   An important piece of information, protein doesn’t have to be in the form of meat, but I now know my body needed the healthy fat, like found in grass fed beef.   The dairy I was consuming was full of hormones and heavy proteins that my body couldn’t break down.   The cows milk is meant for cows, to grow a baby calf to a cow in 18 months.   We as humans don’t grow that fast, nor do we need to!   But I’m thinking this could explain the trend of bigger people and obesity in the United States.   Of course there is sugar too.   That’s a whole other topic!   


During my vegetarian days, it was also a time that Low-Fat was in style!   It was everywhere!    Snack wells were my favorites!  I remember telling friends spend the money on low fat now or pay for your health bills later.  Wow!   I still believe we should spend money on the good food or we pay later with our health, but science has now come through and showing us how we need good fats in our diet.  My body was missing this entirely!   And while I was growing a baby inside me, the baby was taking whatever it needed and I was left with the inflammation.    My daughter, now at 18, has found out herself that she also has trouble with dairy.    Acne will flare up if she has ice cream and pizza in the same day and stomach aches appear.   I know that my poor gut bacteria that I created in me was passed on to her while I was pregnant.  So, together, we work on finding ways to do dairy free options and incorporating vegetables into every meal!    She still does pizza on occasion and I do gluten free pizza with goat or feta cheese.  We use organic, grass fed butter and raw cheese versus a fermented/aged cheese.    

Everyone is different when it comes to cheese and dairy.   Experiment what works for you!


There is so much of information in this blog today, dairy, meat, vegetables, sugar…. where does it all fit in for me, you ask?  First, sharing experiences with others is important, so maybe each person can relate and find a piece of the puzzle that may help them break through their own health blocks!  Do this today…. Be more mindful of what you are eating daily!  Think of how much dairy you eat each day, or how you can get more vegetables on your plate and what sources of protein are you giving your body?  

  This all takes time, but the sooner we start to be mindful, the sooner we can make lasting changes.  Feeding our body the nutrients it needs each day is the key for a healthy body and brain!

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