Whaddup, party people? How’s everyone doing?
Today I decided to switch gears a lil bit from travel posts and military posts. It’s not that they aren’t super fun to write and reflect on, but I’ve got other stuff happening in my life too that a few have expressed interest in!
Today we’re talking food.
Food is a universal subject, isn’t it? Everyone eats. Everyone has to eat, otherwise you won’t survive, and I don’t know about you, but I want to stick around for
awhile as long as it takes to befriend Tina, Amy, and Retta.
*Side note: Have you guys ever watched Retta’s Instagram stories? Do it. Everyday.
As an overweight kid for most of my life, I struggled with food and a healthful mind + body balance for quite some time. As a matter of fact, I still do.
This is another subject for another time, but one that I definitely want to cover.
When Felix was away on TDY, I found myself cooking different kinds of meals, meals that appealed to me and me only. I was cooking for one, and if I wanted dinner to be a big ol’ bowl of beets with feta + walnuts (something Felix would probably reel at because “beets taste like the ground”), then that’s what it was. Alternatively, if I wanted dinner to be a big ol’ bowl of Talenti, then, again, that’s what it was.
I began purchasing and cooking less meat, partly because raw meat freaks me out, and partly because I was just tired of dealing with it. I didn’t really take note of it, until Felix and I were chatting one day about going meatless after he started learning the benefits of a more plant-based lifestyle from one of his colleagues overseas.
Initially, I was ecstatic. As a former vegetarian and as a balanced eater, my mind was blown that Felix was basically saying, “Hey, babe, let’s eat more vegetables.” This is coming from the dude who looks at broccoli, pokes it, and asks, “What’s this?” Can you blame him though? Broccoli is weird.
I immediately got to work researching a vegetarian/plant-based lifestyle, supplements, and more and got to work.
Felix and I both lead active lifestyles, so substantial nutrition are important for us. We roughly track things like macronutrients, supplement with protein, and recently hopped aboard the apple cider vinegar train.
(Macros, in a nutshell, are the three main nutrients found in foods: protein, carbs, and fats. In order to live a healthful and balanced life, you should have a balance of all three in your diet. Depending on your fitness goals, your percentages of each macronutrient can vary. For example, if a person is eating 2000 calories/day and wanting to maintain their weight, they may eat a ratio of 40% carbs, 30% protein, and 30% fat and blah blah blah boring stuff that you can certainly Google if you’re interested!)
Our main concern was ensuring we were getting quality and sufficient protein in our diets by saying adios to meat and most animal products. Isn’t this the first major question people ask when it comes to going meatless? For the record, no, we are not vegan. Yes, we still eat eggs and minimal dairy.
Cutting out meat was much easier for me than I thought it would be. I have eaten a mostly meatless diet (aside from chicken pad thai from my favorite Thai restaurant and a burger a few weeks back when I was in Baltimore) ever since our conversation in mid-April.
And the myth of not getting enough protein when eating a plant-based diet? False. I have been hitting my protein targets with ease. It’s doable. I still supplement with protein powders (this one is my current favorite), and I also eat a protein bar on days when I lift heavy (still loving these and these), but, in general, my protein sources have been coming from the following:
- black beans
- kidney beans
- chia seeds
Our reasoning behind transitioning away from eating meat involves a lot of reasons, which I won’t get into, but what I can say is that we’ve been satisfied with the transition thus far.
Eating colorful meals makes me happy, and focusing on filling our plates with mostly veggies and plants has been forcing me to broaden my horizons when it comes to cooking. It was getting so boring for us to sit down to grilled chicken, brown rice, and broccoli. Now we get yummy bowls of quinoa, beans, hummus, tortillas with avocado and chickpeas, and are still hitting our nutritional goals.
Do I miss cooking a steak in my cast iron pan, or having pulled pork tacos with margaritas at happy hour, or sinking my teeth into a piece of cheesy, BBQ chicken pizza?
But the way I’ve been feeling, both inside and out, since drifting from eating meat has been well worth the “sacrifice.”
Some things I’ve noticed since limiting animal-based products:
- My skin is clearer. I have pimples ALWAYS, but my skin has been clearer and brighter ever since I started loading up on the good stuff.
- I have more energy, and I don’t feel like I have a rock sitting in my stomach post-meal when I was eating meat and dairy.
- I’m getting creative in the kitchen instead of just baking chicken and roasting sweet potatoes. I still roast sweet potatoes (duh, they’re amazing), but now I’m experimenting with foods like tofu, tempeh, and various veggies and spices.
- I’m becoming more aware of processed foods, cruelty-free products, and even the treatment of animals. This isn’t to say I’m an animal activist, PETA supporter, or will berate you for eating an egg. I won’t. But focusing more on eating plants instead of eating animals has caused my eyes to open in other ways.
- I feel like I’m making a difference in my health, with the environment, and with my overall sense of wellness.
Making the decision to eat less meat was easy, but that’s not to say its sustainable forever. Will I eat chicken again? Probably. Will I have a hotdog at a baseball game or enjoy my uncle’s infamous smoked brisket at Christmas? Most likely.
But, for now, we’re eating less of it, and it’s been great so far, and that’s been our experience.
If this food post wasn’t your jam, I won’t be offended. You might see a few more here and there. If you totally hate it, feel free to skip it and we’ll just catch up next time.
I hope you all have a fantastic Friday and an excellent weekend ahead!
What are some of your favorite veggie-based meals to cook?
Have you ever dabbled with a plant-based diet and lifestyle?