Happy World Vegetarian Day!

by lauren atkinson

I have been abandoning my food friends that normally visit: Sorry friends! I promise that it wasn't without reason...

I am working on some recipes that will be coming soon. As a sneak peek, here are pictures of some of the things that I have been cooking lately:

These pictures (and more) can be found on my Instagram, so be sure to follow me there! 

I am really excited to get back into the swing of posting more regular recipes and hopefully, this time around, the image quality and content is even better. But enough of the excuses, let's get to the real post...

I get questions a lot about my vegetarian diet. The why, what, how. So I figured that in honor of World Vegetarian Day, I would answer a few of those.

"When did you start eating a vegetarian diet?"
The first time I started eating vegetarian was 2004. From 2004 to late 2006, I was eating strictly a vegetarian diet.
From 2006 to 2008 I would eat meat occasionally and didn't have a definition for my diet -- I didn't cut out anything from my diet or restrict foods. During that time, I realized that not only had I gained an unhealthy amount of weight, but the foods I was eating made me feel sick. I was also battling my iron deficiencies the most that I had in a long time, believe it or not. In fall of 2008, my husband and I decided we needed to make some drastic changes to help our health. It started with a plant-based, whole foods diet that was restrictive and we added things back in as we wanted. 
I am very clear to say that I am EATING VEGETARIAN and not living a VEGETARIAN lifestyle. In my mind, those are two very different things.

"So what exactly is your diet?"
My diet is mostly plant-based. I try to avoid processed foods, dairy, eggs, and meat substitutions where possible. However, I love cheese and right now, that is not something that I've restricted from my eating habits. But at home, you will find me cooking mostly dairy-free and egg-free. 

"Why vegetarianism?"
I'd like to say that it is strictly an ethical and political decision, but it's not. Yes, there are plenty of ethical and economical benefits of being a vegetarian and eating a plant-based diet, but that's not the main reason that I am a vegetarian, in all honesty. 
I'm a vegetarian because it's what works for my body and what makes me feel good.
You will likely not find me pushing my eating behaviors on others, although I would love to see people eating more plant-based diets due to the positive impacts that it could have environmentally. 

"But do you even eat enough?"
I can confidently say that I am getting enough nutrition through a plant-based diet. Someday soon I hope to get into the specifics of how I manage and track this, but the short answer is this: Yes, I get enough protein. Yes, I sometimes need to supplement. And yes, my doctor is aware of my eating habits and lifestyle.

But now I'd love to hear from the vegetarians out there: why are you a vegetarian and what are the best things that have come from vegetarianism? 

Look forward to more in-depth posts coming soon about all of the above topics!