I’m about six months into my vegetarian nutritional plan. Yesterday I recorded and published a more definitive YouTube video (see below) that explains my experience transitioning from a diet comprised largely of meat and other animal-based products to on that’s plant based.
Here’s the video. If you don’t have 11 minutes, just skip it and read the narrative below that summarizes what in the video.
Why I Decided to Stop Consuming Animals
There were two main reasons for this decision.
Health Concerns Firstly, I’ve been eating meat for well over 50 years. That’s a lot of accumulated cholesterol, triglycerides, and fats. Their presence in my body played a part in my diagnosis of essential hypertension a few years ago. I remain on medication today that I take just once daily to help control it.
About two years ago I started transitioning to a plant-based dietary plan. I stopped eating beef and pork since it always made me feel heavy afterward. I didn’t like feeling this way so I cut these meats out first. Then I focused on consuming only poultry and seafood. Chicken is a favorite with turkey running a distant second. But I absolutely love Swordfish, Cod, Ahi, Mahi Mahi, and Calamari.
I wasn’t sure if I could live without these tasty creatures, but a book, and two films caught my attention and, over time, I decided to let go of even these favorites.
Compassion Animals that give their lives for our dinner plates aren;t humanely killed. Slaughter is a word we use to describe the most heinous crimes attributed to mankind. However, hundreds of thousands of animals are slaughtered each day in the most cruel and painful manner jus so we can order a Big Mac (yuk) or an Ahi Salad (one of my favorite things).
Two documentary films were particularly instrumental in helping to with this, Vegucated, a film and book by Marisa Miller Wolfson, a writer and filmmaker…also a vegan. The other film was Forks Over Knives, a film by Brian Wendel. Both of these films showed only a small portion of graphic film clips of animal slaughter. Reading about it or hearing of it is on thing, but to see it is another. Both documentaries are on Netflix.
These films helped me get in touch with my own sense of compassion regarding the violence I was causing, albeit indirectly, by continuing to buy meat and seafood thereby rewarding the industries that did such great harm. Now, before you get your knickers in a twist, let me state the obvious.
- Of course, I realize that if everyone was vegetarian, we’d have an animal overpopulation problem – but it’s one that we unnaturally created in the first place with our desire for chill con carne and chicken tacos.
- Yes, there are cage free poultry farms, but not on the grand scale of agribusiness giants like Foster Farms where thousands of birds spend their entire lives in cages that prevent their free movement, often knee deep in bird shit. No thanks, I don’t want that chicken taco after all.
- No, my single decision won’t affect the farming and ranching industry, however, I can choose to act on my sense of compassion and honor the lives of those birds, cows, and sea creatures that might have been spared by it and millions of others who made similar decisions.
There is another side to this coin that is also just as obvious:
- Overfishing of the Eastern Seaboard and West Coast waters has resulted in decreased habitats for both fresh and salt water creatures. We’ve created a shortage of the very populations we love to consume.
- There is no question about whether a plant-based diet is more healthy. Meat and animal product consumption has been linked to increased incidence of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes, as well as inflammatory diseases, diabetes, and obesity.
- The practice of inhumane farming techniques such as pumping animals full of hormones and antibiotics are more harmful to consumers who eat such foods.
Does Eating a Plant-based Diet Make Any Difference?
Other than citing the facts and figures again, I can tell you that I feel a definite difference in my mental clarity and in my overall feelings of well being. After six months of eating plants I’m starting to lose a few pounds and my body shape is changing. I don’t miss eating meat for the most part, but I do miss having fish.
I make a point in the video that the readily available supply of tasty meat substitutes helped me in the beginning when I felt I needed more meat-like texture in my food. Tempeh, a wheat-based product comes pre-seasoned as does textured vegetable protein for substituting for ground beef. Tempeh burgers are rally good and contain none of the animal fats of a hamburger.
Tofu is a also a favorite although most non-vegetarians form the wrong impressions about this versitle food. It’s absorbs the flavor of whatever you combine it with and provides a great source of protein. I like simmering it in salsa or black beans and onions as well as with egg whites and a bit of teriyaki sauce.
I included some links to some online resources in the video notes on my YouTube channel for this video, if you’re interested. Just click on here to see the notes under the video on YouTube.