Becoming & Being Vegetarian

Image result for vegetable clipart

(no credit to any photos used)

Being a consumer of plant based foods has not been an identity of mine for all that long, but rather an on-going journey of achieving a healthy diet. For me, excluding meat from my diet has allowed me to make conscious choices about what I am putting into my body. It’s helped expand my knowledge with not only food but also our planet and human biology. I’ve had successes and failures. However, being vegetarian allows me to be free, to continue learning and growing, as well as connect with like-minded beings!

As far as the failures and successes are concerned.. by no means am I perfect! There are days that I “cheat,” because I do not completely restrict myself (that’s border lining an eating disorder!) Now by “cheating” I mean if there’s a dish that’s in front of me that’s made with a meat product- for example chili- and the meat is Turkey- sometimes I will make an exception to eat the chili, because it contains other vegetables and spices that still are beneficial to my health. In other words, I make a conscious decision as to wake I ingest.

A common question that I get is “So what do you eat?” That, to me, has been one of my biggest successes along the Vegetarian journey.  It’s been exhilarating and excitingImage result for falafelfinding new alternatives to meat, as well as finding new ways to cook with fruits and vegetables! Some of my favorite alternatives are falafel & quinoa burgers. One of the many reasons I love them is because of the crunchy texture (I’ll admit, I’m picky and person who doesn’t like mushy things!) Another favorite thing I’ve learned is the different vitamins and minerals plants contain, and how to substitute. For example, Vegetarians often struggle with their protein intake. One way I’ve found to make sure I’m getting my protein is by consuming avocados– which contains about 3 grams of protein. Another way is by eating nuts such as edamame & almonds.

With any new changes come the falls & hiccups. But what I’ve learned through making mistakes is that its all about balance- finding a way that benefits your mind, body, and spirit. Let’s face it, we are all relearning & expanding. One day, I hope to be 100% meat free, with no “cheat days,” more alternatives, more creative recipes. I’ve found success in meal prepping and grocery shopping for myself. Another goal I have is to shop-local & organic! Although I’ve been getting better at purchasing organic items, I know I am guilty of the “convenience” factor, especially when on-the- go. But I remain hopeful that one day I’ll be better at healthy eating, and maintaining good health. Cheers to the journey- to those either starting or are already on the Vegetarian path!

-Katelyn Sjoquist

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