Truth be told, I am a carnivore. A lover of beef, bacon, and brisket, I am the last girl who would turn down a chicken tender at the dining hall. While I enjoy eating meat, I believed that I could become an herbivore for one full week. My sister was a vegetarian for two months, so I thought that I could be one for a measly seven days. But oh boy, was I wrong. Just the thought of attempting this was a challenge for me, cutting out meat seemed so alien. As a collegiate athlete who trains for 20+ hours per week, I feared that I would lose energy by removing my primary protein sources from my diet. Unfortunately, my predictions were correct….I was pretty bad at being a vegetarian.
I truly tried my best during this journey. My good intentions were there, but my body did not accept the changes that I wanted to make. I did not anticipate the exhaust and general moodiness that was to ensue. In addition to not consuming meat, I had some general health goals in mind before starting the week:
- Drink eight glasses of water per day
- Incorporate an adequate amount of protein
- Sleep at least seven hours per night
With a heavy heart, I report that the week was a flop for the most part. I relied too heavily on food items loaded with carbohydrates, had restless nights after mid-day naps, and tried to convince myself that chunky peanut butter was enough protein for my post-workout recovery. My energy levels drastically plummeted around lunchtime, when I usually refuel with a hefty amount of protein. I found myself feeling irritable and exhausted and felt incredibly drained after each of my practices. This was odd because I am typically happy and do not need naps to function. After feeling groggy for what seemed like forever, I caught a cold on the sixth day. While DayQuil and NyQuil are life savers, it took more time than usual for me to recover. Luckily, I managed to drink 64 ounces of water per day, so the health experiment was not a total failure.
As previously stated, I did not feel great by the end of the week. I suggest that anyone who wants to become a vegetarian should consult their doctor or a registered dietician before doing so. Obviously, I did not do this, which contributed to my adverse experience. It is safe to say that I will stick to my carnivorous lifestyle, but it was fascinating to try something new. Whatever diet you choose to pursue, stay healthy Loco readers!