How does going vegetarian accept your health?
I decided to go vegetarian just before the summer of last year. After seeing one too many horrific videos on social media I decided enough was enough. I knew I had a holiday to Cyprus coming up so I planned to start after that. I had always toyed with the idea in the past, but some quite severe stomach problems meant that sometimes, for weeks at a time, the only thing I could eat without becoming seriously unwell was chicken and rice. I’m not kidding you when I say I have been through points of my life where I have had to have rice for breakfast as everything else made me sick.
The first month of being vegetarian passed uneventfully. I didn’t really think I ate that much meat anyway so I didn’t really notice a difference. At the time, I worked in London, which was quite a long day for me, but after a few weeks some things changed and I was working on a freelance basis from home. As you can imagine, not much energy was required to sit in bed watching Gossip Girl and cracking out a few advertising campaigns. At this point in life I found being vegetarian a breeze. I neither missed nor craved meat, I was losing weight and I felt perfectly healthy. Then in November my situation changed, and I started working back up in the city. Again, at first, I didn’t notice much change to my lifestyle. But by December something was seriously wrong.
I’d started to become tired, and I don’t just mean tired as in a few swans at my desk, I mean tired as being so physically exhausted I could come home on a Friday, go straight to bed and wake up at 2pm on the Saturday. My skin was breaking out. My anxiety was getting bad and I was just feeling genuinely run down. I agreed with myself that I would treat myself to eating some meat over Christmas and then get back on the wagon in January. After eating meat occasionally for two weeks over Christmas, I felt much better. I put it down to the fact I had spent two weeks off resting.
Come two weeks into January, and I was even more exhausted and run down than before. I looked at my diet. Because I suffer from certain medical conditions, there really isn’t a lot I can eat. Most of the foods vegetarians and vegans get protein from are things that I simply can’t have. I was living on mugshots and vegetable curries. My health took an absolute nosedive. I decided I would give eating meat again a go for a week and see where I stood. Near enough immediately, I started to feel better. After a week I felt like a completely different person and back to my energetic, happy self.
Doing some research online, I realised I had made an incredibly common mistake. Most people who go vegetarian think it is as simple as cutting meat out of your diet – but it really isn’t that easy. Protein makes up a big part of what you should be putting into your body on a daily basis and unless you are going to eat 75 bags of spinach a day or REALLY do your research you are likely to get terribly run down.
Obviously, I was gutted that I needed to go back to eating meat not least because it was my own fault for not doing enough research before I decided to give it up. If I could give anyone thinking of becoming vegetarian one piece of advice it would be do your research before you undertake something that can have such a massive effect on your health.