Thinking Twice About Your Diet

Hello fitness friends!

This week I’m going to take a break from talking about fitness and teamwork and talk about one of my favorite things: eating. About three years ago, I read a book about eating healthy and decided to experiment… with being a vegetarian. It was a weird concept and I never imagined myself doing it (considering how much I love eating meat) but I proposed the idea to my parents, and, strangely enough, they let me do it. My mother drew a few boundaries surrounding my vegetarianism. The major line that she drew was that I had to eat fish. So, I became a Pescatarian that didn’t eat chicken or ham or beef, but I did eat fish. For breakfast I had cereal or a waffle or whatever my mom bought. My breakfast diet pretty much stayed the same, as it was when I was a meat-eater. But my lunch was a whole new story. I had different phases when I would go weeks or maybe months eating one thing for lunch, and then a different phase when I would eat a different thing for lunch. I think that the first phase that I went through was when I ate homemade pasta salad for lunch every single day. My mom would boil the pasta and I would literally choose every topping I wanted and put it on. People would look at my lunch and think it was some sort of artwork. I had beets, baby corn, regular corn, bruschetta, Italian dressing, and more. The pasta was pink from the beets but had the little bits of yellow from the corn. It was drenched in some sort of oily dressing. All in all, if I remember correctly, it didn’t taste too bad. Towards the end of my vegetarianism, I was eating tofu-cold cuts. They were tofu shaped and flavored to taste like ham and turkey. They didn’t exactly taste like meat. Eventually I think I became immune to the flavor and taste of the tofu meat, and I felt like I was basically eating bread with a slice of rubber in between. For dinner I always had to have a different meal from my family. If my parents were having pasta and meatballs, then I was having pasta with vegetarian meatballs, which, by the way, taste repulsive. My mom used to come home with boxes of vegetarian meatballs. There were even different flavors. There were plan regular ones that kind of tasted normal, and then there were the falafel meatballs, which were absolutely disgusting. I don’t even know how to describe vegetarian falafel meatballs. But there were a number of vegetarian foods that were good. Such as my vegetarian chicken nuggets. I’m not entirely sure what they were made out of, but all I knew was that they kind of tasted good and didn’t look like plastic, which most tofu meats do look like. The holidays were usually pretty tough. Especially Thanksgiving. While my family sat around the table eating stuffing and a giant, greasy turkey, I had tofurkey. It was tofu turkey, and it basically looked like someone had put a chunk of fake, plastic turkey on my plate. Unfortunately, the tofurkey tasted exactly how it looked—fake. The manufacturers had obviously put a lot of time and money into trying to figure out how to make a turkey for vegetarians that tasted and looked like regular Thanksgiving turkey. Those poor manufacturers wasted their time. Also, it was kind of difficult to eat whenever I was over at a friend’s house. If their dad was making hamburgers or something, I would always have to politely say that I was a vegetarian and then I would end up just having a salad. I remember one time I went to my friend’s house and her mom made lasagna for dinner—unfortunately, meat lasagna. So I had to make myself tuna on bread. Those were the days when I would curse and wonder why I was doing it again. Nonetheless, I made it an entire year without meat. I did have some cheat moments when everyone around me was eating meat and there was no other option, so I gave in and had a little, but other than that I remained strong. When people ask me about how it was to be a vegetarian, I think back to my tofurkey and tell them that it was interesting, but that I would never do it again. That is true, because I would never do it again. Vegetarianism is right for some people. People who have the willpower to completely change their diet could potentially succeed in being a vegetarian or pescatarian or whatever they want to eat. However, I should warn that growing girls like I was in the seventh grade when I was a vegetarian should probably refrain from being a vegetarian. I didn’t grow any taller at all that year, which really sucked considering the fact that I played basketball and any height that I could possibly acquire at all would help me. But all in all, being a vegetarian was a good experience for me. And like I said, it was an experiment for me—to push my limits and see how much willpower I have. Which, it turned out, was a lot.

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