Plant-Based Babe

So let me tell y’all what I did. I cut all meat. Yep, I’ve been vegetarian for a little over a month.

(People, we are Southern, and by and large, Southern people like their meat. This may not seem weird to you, but it is to us. It sounds pretentious and uppity. Saying you’re “vegetarian” in these parts gets you some bless-her-heart looks and remarks of skepticism. I promise that three people turned their head slightly sideways when they read that first line.)

Anywho, I chucked it all and went with a mostly plant-based diet. Why? Well, (sorry this might be gross) I was throwing up a lot. At least twice a week, I had to go throw up whatever it was I ate, because it just wasn’t agreeing with me. My stomach hurt, I felt nauseated after a few hours of eating, and it had to come up. It wasn’t fun. I also had migraines…often. I was having 3-4 migraines a month minimum, and they had become pretty severe. They were the crying-on-the-floor kind that make you think it HAS to be a brain tumor. Also not fun. And finally, I was tired of being freaking fat. Fatty boombalatty. I needed my own zip code. Not. Fun.

I figured cutting everything and starting over was a plan…and it has worked wonders! I quit meat and stopped drinking cow milk. I have learned to find new sources of protein, yummy snacks, and plant-based meals that I really like. For instance…

Instead of cow milk, I switched to oat milk. There’s oat milk coffee creamer, too. Who knew it was so good?!

Instead of meat, I eat beans and lentils. I like nut butters. I have even tried vegan sausage, although that’s as far as I’ve gone with fake meat. I don’t want to get into that, plus it’s over-processed anyway.

I ditched bread, pizza crust, biscuits, starches. Haven’t missed ’em at all!

Since I had COVID, I actually crave veggies, so that has helped. I have always liked all vegetables, but to actually WANT them is new, and I can’t complain.

I have eaten eggs, some cheese, sour cream, and some butter, so I’m not “vegan”. I’m not giving those up but enjoying them in moderation.

And finally, I have LOVED researching and scouring the grocery store for plant-based alternatives. There is SO MUCH out there now! I have plant-based, no dairy, very tasty Ranch dressing. I found plant-based microwavable meals for lunch. There are plant-based crackers and chips. I have a new Pinterest board full of recipes, and I’ve been trying them (all so good!). I’m even figuring out how to order at restaurants.

It’s kind of fun and new, but most importantly, I feel better. I have no inflammation. It does not hurt to get up out of chair and walk across the room. It no longer hurts to bend over or step out of the bathtub. I have not had a migraine in over a month. I “go” everyday, my stomach is not distended, and I don’t feel bloated anymore. I have lost 16 lbs, and my clothes fit differently. I’m pretty happy with it!

Let me tell you this, though…on Saturday, just hanging out, I ate a soft pretzel and some french fries from a restaurant. Threw up AND had a migraine. Y’all, the crap I was eating plagued me. It caused problems. Eating that mess Saturday reminded me, and I won’t soon do it again. How much better I feel greatly outweighs the “comfort” of that pretzel or those fries. It was a kick in the pants, not to mention a physical reminder about how my body works, what it likes and doesn’t like, and what I should be feeding it.

I have never taken the time to examine the toll food takes on my body. I’ve been on diets, cut carbs, and tracked food, but only for the purpose of trying to lose a few pounds. I never really took time to carefully consider how my body reacts to food. I feel like I’m eating to live instead of living to eat, and I like what I’m learning.

Will I ever eat meat again? Probably. Will I never have a piece of cake again. Doubtful. But I can take it day by day, try new things, and keep learning.

A vegetarian. Who would have thought?!

Published by Amanda Herring, Writer

Practical wisdom, joys and pains, motivation and tough love, from the perspective of a Mississippi mom, traveler, business owner, goal crusher, substance seeker, and full-time dreamer

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