I was in Malta last week and I'd been eating badly for a while, having been on the road and busy with work.
One evening I had a huge steak with all the trimmings and headed home to put in a big evening of work. What happened next is what happens to us all so often... I collapsed onto the couch in a meat sweat and didn't move for two hours. The body struggles to process red meat and lethargy sets in.
This always happens after I eat burgers, steaks and other forms of red meat. I decided it was time to try something I had openly scoffed at for years... remove all meat from my diet. Rather than make a rash decision, I said I'd try it for seven days and see if there were any tangible benefits...
It turns out that not eating meat isn't actually that big of a chore (all the pictures in this post are of meals I ate during the last week). I didn't stop eating fish or seafood, so in douchey-sounding terms that made me a pescatarian.
Besides the meat sweats, the following factors also played into my decision...
- I really, really like animals
- A chunk of the world's C02 emission problems would be solved if we all stopped eating meat tomorrow
- I work long hours and my body is always tired, I wanted to see if this would make a difference
I started noticing my body feeling completely different after about 36 hours. I'm slow to get out of bed in the morning, but suddenly I was bouncing up. I felt myself wanting more exercise and going on longer walks with my dogs.
One of the main benefits of no meat is that you have to replace it with more fruit and vegetables to fill yourself up. All that goodness going into the body certainly had an effect. I noticed things like my concentration levels dramatically improving and I found myself delivering more at work.
I also felt my waist getting thinner by the day. The weight was seriously dropping off me.
I found the main benefits were...
- Bouncing out of bed in the morning with an energy I've not felt since my teens
- My food costs went down dramatically in both in supermarkets and restaurants
- Able to be active straight after eating with no need for a rest
- My sleep seemed to improve drastically
- Less animals would die if I kept this up
- Dramatic weight loss
The downsides were...
- Lunch is a hard meal to find good meat alternatives for. Every sandwich seems to have meat and everything else can be boring
- You have to be good at cooking yourself and very inventive
I don't know yet if I'll do this forever. It's a big decision to rule out T-bone steaks, Irish breakfasts and burgers on a whim. I'm going to try and do a month next and report back. If the health benefits keep appearing it might just be worth the trade off.
It isn't really rocket science when you think about it, but I don't expect everybody to go and do this tomorrow. The only thing I will say is that I was highly sceptical about the whole idea and didn't think I'd last a full day. I did and it was very, very easy.
Give it a whirl. You won't know unless you try.