Surprising Benefits of Becoming Vegetarian – Another Step On My Journey Toward Being Healthier

This link is for the vegetarians we love who are thinking of joining the military.

Recently I’ve made some changes in my lifestyle that have prompted some deep introspection. I’ve been brought to a place where I am relearning about needs vs. wants. I’m learning to recognize in myself what has been (hopefully in the past) an attitude of gluttony toward food. This attitude has led me to say at times, “I will eat this, because I can and I deserve to eat fun food or decadent food once in a while.” Now I’m not saying people should never eat those things, but for me, the opportunities and excuses were boundless and I often took advantage of them. Frankly, it was making me sick. Very sick. Sure, I tried to blow it off and say I was being “moderate”. Maybe to some perspectives I was. To some perspectives I was extremely healthy in my eating habits.

Nonetheless, it got hard to make excuses about anything when my 5′ 10″ body tipped the scales at over 200 lbs, when my knees and feet hurt, when minor digestive disturbances became commonplace, when I had obvious signs that my blood-sugar levels weren’t stable and were evermore easily knocked out of whack, and I was dealing with some other stuff I won’t go into here. At just the right time for me, a challenge from my sister-in-law, Teach, came along.

The challenge was to watch the show Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, and then make changes accordingly. Teach decided that for her, this meant 2 green smoothies a day, and a more “flexitarian” way of eating the rest of the time. For me, it meant 18 days of raw juices and smoothies and then a transition to an 80% raw, vegetarian lifestyle.

Making a change like this has been a challenge. Learning to think of certain things as “not food” that I had always considered to be food up till this point has been an unusual experience. I sometimes need to remind myself to think about all the wonderful things I am blessed to have as options to eat, rather than dwell on the idea that I’ll never eat a Thanksgiving turkey again, and that I’m not under any obligation to eat food that makes me sick or eat more than my body needs. Thankfully, just as sugar lost it’s appeal when I went off it 15 years ago, meat is also losing it’s attraction for me. Actually, it’s been easier to stop eating meat than it was to stop eating sugar. Ironically, this Thanksgiving may actually be one of my most grateful Thanksgivings ever.

Oh YUM!

I’m sure there will be social consequences as a result of this. I’m ready to accept that. In reality though, it’s probably one of the easiest “diets” to accommodate – just let me eat a big leafy green salad, and I’ll be in heaven.

One of the most remarkable results of this, for me, has been an amazing increase in the amount of gratitude I feel for every morsel that I eat. This sense of gratitude has flowed into other areas of my life and had some astounding effects. I’ve been able to find more opportunities to give to others, and more opportunities to learn and grow in ways that generate more opportunities to give. I’m more satisfied with small things, and I seem to be more in tune to promptings to take action or give service. Don’t expect perfection from me anytime soon, you may not see this stuff on the outside of me, but I know and feel the changes happening inside and I hope they stick.

One thing is certain – I’ve said good-bye to that horrifying 200+ number on the scale, and look forward to seeing where it finally settles out.

winner-winner, chicken dinner 🙂

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