Daily Life, Health & Wellbeing, Social Justice

Back to Vegetarian

January 19, 2016

Those of you who have known me for a long time would have know that I was vegetarian, or the more correct term is, pescetarian. No red meat, chicken or pork for seventeen years!  (I ate fish and seafood.) This all changed three years ago, when I started training for triathlon. I was soo, darn tired. Working full-time, completing a master’s degree and training 12 hours a week was a recipe for disaster. Some people can get on with things like this no worries, but I have always been a little bit sickly, even as a child.

Too many big nights on a weekend = guaranteed to get sick.

Someone has something in the office = guaranteed to get it.

Too much stress = a cold sore that takes over my face.

The increased training and stress load put my body into overdrive and depleted my iron and adrenal glands. I hit the wall. Big time. I was sick in bed for around ten days and sleeping for 13 hours a night waking up tired, I went off to the GP to have all my bloods done. I was eating right, having iron tablets, protein shakes, and all that jazz, but it wasn’t enough. My iron was too low.

Red meat is what the doctor ordered. And it did do the trick.

I got through my half-ironman no sickness or injury.

To The Ginger Hunks delight, I kept on eating meat. There were ribs, and pork, and all kinds of things. I did enjoy the taste, I am not going to lie. But I never felt right about it. I never ate chicken, because I feel that they are the most poorly treated out of the whole bunch. The sight of it and the smell, often put me off, and some nights I just couldn’t eat meat at all.

In December something naturally occurred when The Ginger Hunk went away and I stopped eating meat. By the time I went to Bali, it had been two weeks. I enjoyed the food so much in Bali that I continued this phase.

Almost a month into 2016, I am still going.

And after googling a few facts, I am determined to keep going.

Here is some information from The Guardian about the impacts of meat-eating:

  1. Climate change. In 2006, the UN calculated that the combined climate change emissions of animals bred for their meat were about 18% of the global total – more than cars, planes and all other forms of transport put together.
  2. Land use. Nearly 30% of the available ice-free surface area of the planet is now used by livestock. With the human population expected to grow by 3 billion, a shift in developing countries to eating more meat, and global consumption on track to double in 40 years points to the mother of all food crises down the road.
  3. Health impacts and cost. Meat eaters get increased chances of obesity, cancers, heart diseases and other illnesses as well as a hole in the pocket. A meat diet is generally considered twice as expensive as a vegetarian one.

But my main reason – has always been this, I just don’t eating meat enough to cause all that suffering and production.

What about you?

A meat lover or vegetarian? 

Ashleigh XXX

****Linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT ****

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  • Well done for making this change! I hope you’re still feeling great. I would definitely encourage you to go one better and give veganism a go. I used to think veganism was so extreme and was so worried I wouldn’t get all my nutrients but after trying it, and reading up a bit on how to get all my nutrients, I am healthier and feel happier than I ever have in my life. I actually hardly even get colds anymore. It’s amazing. 🙂

  • To be honest up until around month ago I had never considered being a vegetarian. When I would take my daughters to Dance class the lady there would push upon me heavily to become Vegan, to the point of even showing my older daughter disturbing images and telling her facts that I didn’t think she should hear. We left the dance school, but not for that reason, and didn’t think much more of it. Recently my husband has started running and we have both began eating healthier. My children don’t really like meat, they will eat some but really don’t like it, so we have always had lots of vegetables on the plate anyway. But just a couple of weeks ago we started talking about being vegetarian. We have been reading more about it and are excited by the thought of when we move out of our temporary accommodation in April (we live with heavy meat eaters now) that will begin a new way of cooking and eating. great post x

  • Jen Rose

    We try to go vegetarian on weekdays, but atm since I’m breastfeeding we’ve been eating a lot of meat, mainly because of low energy levels. Looking forward to the day when I can return to a mostly plant based diet!

  • I would like to eat more vegetarian meals but I find I get lost in the beans and lentils and it’s too carby or wrong types for my husband (a diabetic) so it’s just too hard.

  • My family is vegetarian so growing up, I mostly ate veg food. However, we had Muslim neighbours who made the best chicken biryani ever and I would eat chicken occasionally. Since coming to Aus, I have eaten red meat but wouldn’t eat it as often. Like you, I had significant iron deficiency back in 2012 and was asked to eat red meat. I got back on it but do prefer veg food. I haven’t given up on meat completely but would say I prefer fish and veg.

  • No not a vegetarian at all, but I’m not a big meat eater. I would happily eat meat free for most meals if everyone in the family liked it.
    I do prefer chicken to red meat though.

  • Good on you, Ashleigh. Stick with it. I never liked meat. As a child I would hide it under the table and throw it out later or ask to go to the toilet at meal times and spit it out there. My parents made me eat meat until I was 15 years old. I’m now 38 and never had one skerrit of meat since 15. I can’t bring myself to eat those poor animals.

    • That is funny, for me it was a conscious decision in my hippy stage in my teens. But I never felt right about it. Do you have a veggie household?

  • Tracy

    We are meat eaters in our house. But after doing two fasts in the past two years, in which we abstained from all animal products, white processed grains and all sweeteners for a period of time, I have gained a new appreciation for eating much less meat. We will probably never go vegetarian, for a number of valid reasons, but we happily eat a wide, varied diet which includes different cuisines and vegetarian meals. Like you say, Ashleigh, it’s such a personal decision and there isn’t a right or wrong. Just different.

  • I was vegetarian as a teen, for around 5 years. Like you, the iron was low and I just couldn’t change it. I eat meat now but I choose organic and free range products where possible as I believe they are better treated. I often wonder what would happen if the whole world went vegan- especially when you consider there are certain species that would not exist but for man- like merino sheep. Where would all the domestic animals go? We couldn’t loose them here- as non natives the damage they’d do would be horrendous. Good on you though, I do believe you can be very healthy as a veggie 🙂

    • I really think it is such a personal decision. It is such a great change all the free range products and transparency in the industry now. Still a long way to go now.