So vegetarianism, its all the hype now right? It is almost as if it has become a fad. Now don't get me wrong, this article is not in any way intended to bash or offend vegetarians or vegans. However, I would like to share my experience, and give a fair warning to all of you aspiring herbivores. When I was younger, I was a dreamer. I had all these dreams of saving the earth one person at a time. I honestly believed I was somehow going to put an end to all that was wrong with the world. These faulty beliefs of mine went much, much deeper than just vegetarianism, but vegetarianism was kind of the foundation for many of my other beliefs.
I was just like so many vegans and vegetarians I know today, that are constantly fighting to change everyone's minds. Little did I know, I was hopelessly fighting a losing battle. I was doing everything I could to try and get everyone stop harming animals. Mostly, I tried to accomplish this by getting them to watch horrible documentaries that highlighted the brutality that is the animal production industry today. However, getting someone to put down their fried chicken, or rib eye, to watch a documentary that was going to guilt trip them into changing their ways, just didn't sound that appealing to them. At the time, I couldn't understand why, but now it has been made evidently clear. People would rather feel happy, and uplifted, rather than guilty, depressed, and sad. And lets be honest, can you really blame them?
I never was able to go full vegan. After all, dairy was at least 60% of my diet. It just didn't make any sense for me to cut out the remaining dominant food source in my life. As you'll soon discover, making up for the nutrients and caloric deficit you expose yourself to by leading this lifestyle, can have detrimental effects to your health if not replaced with proper nutrition. Granted it was a rough time in my life, and I was busy making some other completely unrelated poor health decisions (mostly smoking insane amounts of pot), I completely failed in the most crucial part in leading a plant based lifestyle, replacing lost nutrients. I wasn't eating enough, period. Not only was I eating significantly less than any human should, but the foods I were eating had little to no nutritional value. As you could probably guess my health started to decline dramatically.
Roughly two and a half years passed by with me never touching any meat. When I started this journey, I weighed roughly 200 pounds (I'm 6ft tall). By the end, I was barely even 150 pounds. I had no energy left. My body was severely malnourished, and I began to feel that on every level of my being. I could no longer think clearly, my sex drive was all but depleted, as well as a swarm of depression overtook me. Rather than listening to my body, I continued down the same path. After all, according to all those documentaries I was leading a "healthy lifestyle." Shortly after I had my first panic attack. I genuinely believed I was dying. Only someone who has ever experienced one of these horrendous fear attacks could ever understand what that feels like (check out some of my other posts for my info on anxiety). This was the final straw for me. I had never struggled with anxiety or any mental health disorder before in my life, but now, according to my doctor's and psychologist's they were telling my I had developed panic disorder. Not only that, they were also telling me that I was extremely malnourished and I needed to start eating meat again, because my blood pressure was dangerously low. As you can probably imagine, I was completely against this idea at first, but the more I looked back on the last 2 years, I could clearly attribute this sudden decline in my health to this dietary change.
You see the part they leave out, is the fact that if you are going to lead a plant based life style, you have to be incredibly strict in making sure you are receiving the proper nutrition. It is absolutely CRUCIAL. I'll agree with you all day that what the animal produce industry is doing to animals, and our planet in general, is just awful. However, it is hard to argue with the amount of macro nutrients we receive by the sacrifices these animals make.
It took me about 1 month of eating meat again to regain most of my weight, as well as my mental clarity and over all energy levels. I felt like whole new man (minus the crippling anxiety I still haven't shaken to this day). I can't express to you how incredible I felt after that first bite of salmon after having no meat for over 2 years. I think this picture below sums up how I felt before and after pretty well. The picture on the left is me as a vegetarian. The picture on the right is me only about a week into eat animal products again (as well as getting a well need grooming). The life is back in my eyes. I felt completely and utterly revitalized. But don't get me wrong. There are many people out there that live these types of lifestyles and are strict and regulated in there macro and micro nutrients, as well as there over all caloric intake. This is just my experience, and perhaps a warning to anyone who is thinking of becoming vegetarian or vegan.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF, OR YOU WILL REGRET IT.