The Vegetarian Experiment

I have a long post coming looking at the various merits of vegetarian, vegan, and omnivore eating. In the mean while, however, today begins Day 1 of my vegetarian experiment.

First, let me say – I like meat. A lot. And I’ve tried to go vegetarian before, it lasted several weeks. I have no significant moral, ethical, or political motivation to go vegetarian, and my family is NOT on board with going vegetarian, so I’d be cooking two sets of meals if I were to become vegetarian long term. However, reading multiple blogs written by people who have gone vegetarian or vegan and experienced feelings of better health, strong athletic performance, and even some weight loss makes it temping to give it a shot.

The flip side it, I’ve also read many blogs written by people involved in the CrossFit movement, who eat a paleo diet (lots of meat, fruits, vegetables and nuts, no grains, beans or legumes). They also report feeling better, losing weight, and strong athletic performance. So how is a person to figure out what works best, except to try?

I’m starting with a 7-10 day vegetarian challenge. I’m doing this for a few reasons – I have a block of tofu to use up, I have lots of canned beans, rice, pasta, and fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables. I can do this easily. I’m going to be an ovo-lacto vegetarian; I will continue to eat milk, eggs, yogurt and cheese during this period. Plus, I’m on nights this month, so making my own meals isn’t a big inconvenience. Looking back at my eating habits for the past few weeks, I eat very little meat except at my evening meal anyway, so substituting other proteins shouldn’t be too hard.

After the 7-10 days is over, I’ll look at how I feel, what the scale says, and how I feel my training is going. If I don’t see a significant difference, I’ll go back to my regular diet. I may also try a 7-10 day Paleo challenge, although I’m a little concerned about getting sufficient carbs to support my marathon training on this plan – I’m not committed to this yet.

My goal out of all of this is to find a way to shake 5-10 pounds (preferably of body fat), and hopefully slim down my mid-section and hips (particular trouble spots). I also want to make sure I’m getting good nutrition to continue supporting my training – I’m progressing so well now that I need to make sure that doesn’t change.

I’ll keep you posted….

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