I live to eat and Food has in fact played a huge role in my existence (no pun intended). I am a non-vegetarian by choice and love to eat/ experiment with all kinds of cuisines and meat. However, today the aspect I want to cover here is Vegetarianism or converting to be one.
Plant based diets … A fad or a reality. For me it has been a mix of both. This is totally my personal experience and a take on this meatless diet which has been taking the world by storm, more so after the famous Netlix documentary, The Game Changers.
I have seen close friends and athletes converting to Veganism or vegetarianism at the drop of the hat. There has been a lot of talk about Vegetarianism, though in our country, Vegan is still feel is a far cry. Still some individuals are still trying to adapt to it religiously and quite effectively. In most of our households with kids and parents, it is not only tough, but hardly any options available in the regular food we eat.
On the other hand extreme changes are always unpredictable and in diets like ours, where milk, paneer and if you are a non-vegetarian, chicken and meat are staple, turning to a vegan diet, alternatively can spell DISASTER.
I see a lot of people changing to it after seeing THE online documentary or reading about its benefits, PEER pressure or watching strangers achieve better bodies. My request to people would be, to try out stuff and then take a decision to what suits them best. What a dietitian says or what a friend posts or what Schwarzenegger says doesn’t matter unless your body and mind both accept it.
Now, I would not say this had I not tried it, but I had taken a decision to be Vegetarian (not VEGAN) for approximately 3 weeks. I wanted to try it out to see the results, on my body and my working out/ running performances. Plus, the good or bad part is that I gave up drinking also ‘coz I do not enjoy a beer without meat.
My observations after 25 days have been …
- I did feel less guilty about eating only a veg diet … which for me is clearly a psychological benefit.
- I started looking for more nutrition consciously … which I did not when eating meat and eggs, because I automatically presumed I was getting what is required from the meat I ate if not more.
- The metabolism did improve to an extent along with gastric issues.
- I stopped eating out and when a non-vegetarian I used to eat out 4-5 meals in a week. Even if I went out during these days, to a wedding or party, I ate a big bowl of salad or veggies, to satiate myself.
- Running and workout wise I have a feeling I am lighter on the feet, but I am not sure if it was in the mind or actually happening ‘coz of my diet. It wavered, to tell you frankly.
- My muscles used to heal fast previously after a workout, and though I did see a marginal improvement there, mostly it seemed the same to me.
- Did officially a speed 10 km race at the end of 25 days, and the performance was better. Practice or diet or both … will figure it out eventually.
- I did miss a good a meal, and though I have explored a lot more Vegetarian stuff and enjoyed it too, I still want meat and eggs. Not the craving but I believe the food you eat must make you feel good and then only do you benefit from it.
- The part which I don’t agree with is when it comes to food is, that it should be only for nutrition. I believe that I Live to Eat, and not Eat to Live.
Lastly, the documentary called Game Changers. It shows a lot of Non-vegetarian athletes converting to Plant Based diet, but the important part for me was the catchment of people in this were majorly from the western world. That is a world, where meat is part of every meal for Non-vegetarians and veggies are used sparingly. The food habits and portion sizes are large too and eating out is much more than us. As Indians, even if we are non-vegetarian we already include a lot of veggies and greens in our diet. One of the main reasons I feel, the studies and comparisons, shown there are a little to preachy and over the top.
Now the question, what am I doing after 25 days? I have started Eggs regularly and meat in a more balanced and planned form. Balancing out the meat and vegetables for me is the prime goal, and to use my learnings from this experiment to keep looking for nutrition in all kinds of things.
To sum it up, I tried it and these are my inferences. They might or might not work for others, but then, that was the whole idea of writing this. Maybe you can experiment too and see what works for you. In the end what works for you is “what you believe in”.