Personal experience: I was vegan for three years, and then I started eating meat again
MOh, the path to vegetarianism and then veganism was not the easiest one. It all started a few years ago, when, in high school, I watched the documentary Unadorned Hamburger, which showed all the horrors of animal abuse on farms. I remember how I wanted to immediately stop eating chicken and beef, but then it seemed like something unreal. Since childhood, I was given animal products, and my grandmother, a doctor, told me how important it is to eat a balanced diet. But then I started to get involved in yoga, read articles and books about the lifestyle of people who ate only vegetables and fruits, and still decided to try it. True, very gradually. I continued to eat meat in the presence of my family and at a party, when it seemed to me something shameful to refuse, but I did not eat it alone. Then everything happened by itself: I moved from my parents to my own apartment and started buying and preparing my own food on my own. From that moment my experiment began.
First, all types of meat and poultry were abruptly removed from my diet, then fish and eggs. After another year, I stopped consuming dairy products. That is, she became 100% vegan.
The new type of food came to me very easily. I remember how I felt very happy. I felt like I had achieved enlightenment and “Zen” (you may have heard about this from other vegans). It seemed to me that I was not only doing good in the whole world, but also being an example for others. In the company of friends, I emphasized in every possible way that I had given up food of animal origin and while everyone was eating a bloody steak, I ordered vegetable salad and pumpkin soup. And she also advised interviews of scientists who assure that with such a lifestyle you can live to be a hundred years old and never get sick.
As a vegan, I didn’t sit on leaves and green smoothies. I looked for healthy recipes, read a lot of literature about the benefits of certain products (many of them, according to experts, were many times more useful than any type of meat).
Usually my diet was like this: breakfast – porridge on water (oatmeal, corn or pearl barley) with pieces of fruit or dried fruit or muesli in water or juice, sometimes – a piece of black bread;
lunch – vegetable salad, vegan soup (my favorites are lentil or pumpkin soup) and / or buckwheat with vegan (vegetable) cutlet;
dinner – rice, buckwheat or buckwheat noodles with stewed vegetables and mushrooms.
And always as snacks with me were bitter chocolate, nuts, dried fruits, fruits, seeds.
On weekends, I cooked myself raw desserts – sweets with honey and coconut, or even pies.
I have never experienced the feeling of hunger. And no, I never dreamed of grilled chicken or salmon baked in foil, omelets and cottage cheese with berries. I felt great with vegan dishes and, getting tested, delighted the doctors. Everything was perfect. And if you add to this, the lightness during the rise in the morning and vigor during the day with a busy work schedule and sports, everything turned out as well as possible. Moreover, at that moment I was sure that I would live like this all my life, and any persuasion to eat any product of meat origin began to be taken with hostility. All my relatives at that moment stopped proving something to me.
The first not the most pleasant changes in the body began about six months later – I began to freeze, even if everyone around was warm, and I immediately lost about 7 kg (with my initial weight, this was too much). But then it did not cause me any concern. Serious “calls” began a year later …
At one point, I started to get sick often. The blood tests, which I boasted at the very beginning, failed. A lack of iron was found in the body, in this regard, there was no question of any lightness and vigor either.
For reference: iron deficiency or iron deficiency anemia (this was the diagnosis I was given) manifests itself in symptoms such as increased fatigue, weakness, and dizziness. In women, this can lead to dry hair, brittle nails, and hormonal problems.
But I didn’t listen to the therapist’s advice “eat more meat”, I just drank vitamins and … after three weeks of ARVI I switched to antibiotics. This continued for about a year.
Then my work increased and my strength decreased even more. I felt that something was wrong with my body. And when the XS clothes got big, she decided to change the diet anyway. Honestly, when I saw my painfully thin legs and bruises under my eyes, I was no longer up to saving the planet. I started eating cottage cheese and yoghurts in the morning, and after a week there was no trace of my veganism. I included fish and chicken in my diet. The first week I ate food of animal origin in small portions (a spoonful of cottage cheese and a small piece of poultry). And after two weeks she ate fully. The first days were psychologically difficult. I didn’t even like the taste of the food. And, perhaps, my breakdown could have ended in self-criticism, if there were no positive changes. Alas. Having started to eat again, “like everyone else”, I really began not only to feel stronger, but also to look like a healthy person. Then all the taste buds woke up, I began to enjoy food again.
Now I can afford everything except pork, the taste of which I hate since childhood. I also try not to drink milk, but also not because of any expert opinions. I just like soy better. In general, I adhere to an intuitive diet: I do not count calories and do not look at how many vitamins are in one or another product. I listen to my body and choose in stores or establishments only what I want at a given second. Now I am happy that I consider myself free in my choice. And no more diets!
PS Despite my experience, I still sincerely admire and support people who have given up meat and have no health problems. Also, I do not want to impose my opinion on anyone and assure that no one should be vegetarian and vegan. I respect the decisions and actions of each person and just accept the fact that this lifestyle did not suit me. Perhaps this is due to too much activity and the rhythm of the big city, or maybe my vegan recipes were not as healthy and substitute for meat as I thought.
Leonid Elkin, doctor of the highest category and author of his own weight loss method:
In my opinion, vegetarianism and veganism are an unnatural way of eating. Whether you like it or not, it is very difficult for us to live without animal protein. All types of products must be present in the diet, especially meat, fish, eggs, dairy products.
When you’re just starting to ditch animal foods, things can go great. The body keeps on old stocks, so it can easily exist on lettuce leaves. However, then, each term is individual, due to the lack of building protein, which is extremely difficult to obtain on vegetarian and vegan dishes, health problems may begin. First of all, there will be a lack of iron and phosphorus in the blood, which are responsible for our entire body. The immune system will also suffer and it will be very difficult to restore it.
In my experience, I was able to meet a huge number of people who strictly adhered to a vegetarian or vegan diet, but then began to eat all the foods again, because their body required it. And this is an absolutely natural situation.
Another thing is when you eat food of animal origin in moderation. Not three times a day, for example, but one. Or even every other day is considered normal. Although eggs, which contain the amount of protein we need, should be consumed regularly. And this has long been proven by scientists, nutritionists, therapists, surgeons and other specialists.
Of course, I do not exclude that among us there are those who “sit” on food of plant origin and at the same time feel great. Still, this is extremely rare.
Text: Christina Semina