Friday, July 18, 2008

Vegetarian Challenge - Conclusions

Tomorrow will be my last official day of my self-enforced diet habit, but I won't have much time to blog about it throughout the day. I've managed 6 days without any meat products, though I have not banned eggs and dairy.

As a health experiment, I'd say that the personal challenge here was very successful. I've managed to eat healthy, well balanced meals, everyday. I've also noticed increases in energy, easier time sleeping / better sleep, lack of muscle cramping / feeling of muscle cramping during tough work out, and have managed to loose a couple pounds. Also, I'm relatively certain my blood pressure has decreased back to my original good levels from the slightly elevated levels I've been stuck at for a while. As a health choice, it's forced me to avoid fast food, and convenience foods that filled my stomach but only provided questionable nutrition.

Now, that said, I think I could have achieved all of the same effects simply by watching my diet more as an omnivore. The thing is, I don't know if I constantly watching my diet is something I'm capable of doing. Not eating meat makes life a lot easier, as you remove whole groups of unhealthy and easy options. (Note: I'm aware it's very possible to eat an unhealthy diet as a vegetarian.)

I attribute the slight but noticeable health impacts to the following -
  1. Pure placebo effect by changing things up.
  2. Lower calorie intake
  3. Less refined sugars from fast foods
  4. Much higher potassium / sodium intake ratio
Of all things to be aware of, the fourth I did not really know about before starting. Yes, I'd heard 'keep the sodium down'. I had not heard that how important potassium is in your diet, that the average American gets much lower than the recommended potassium intake daily.

Insuring a solid decent intake of potassium (a daily minimum of 2000 mg), and lowering intake of sodium has benefits for hypertension, osteoporosis, and kidney stones.

So, overall, a positive experience. It also helps me to realize how difficult it can be to order meals as a vegetarian when everything seems to involve beef, chicken, or fish. Still, the overall moral of the story?

Eat your fruit and vegetables.


I still want a steak.

Edit, Forgot the links...

K-State Article

USDA Article
CO State Article

1 comment:

Spyder said...

Maybe eat smaller portions of meat & more fruits & vegies.