About a year and a half ago, I decided to become ovo-pescatarian. Essentially, this means that I limited my diet to strictly eggs, seafood, and plant-based nutrients. Naturally, I have gotten a lot of shit about it from family and friends claiming me to be a pseudo-vegan, and although I plan to eventually become fully vegan in the future, the progression towards that status is a long process. At the same time though, I have seen tremendous changes occur in my body as a result of my diet. Although there is a lot of criticism towards people who choose to live plant-based or even without the likes of dairy and meat, there are plenty of undeniable benefits.
1. Better weight maintenance
Initially, I chose to change my diet for health and moral reasons. It was a very slow process at first, but eventually, I committed to completely cutting out dairy and meat forever. Although these foods are high in protein, they are also notorious for being high in fat as well. When I would eat these foods, I found my weight to be constantly fluctuating which led me to be in a perpetual state of unhappiness. By limiting my diet to consist of vegetables, eggs, and seafood, I have lost a lot of unwanted weight, while simultaneously maintaining lean muscle. Not to mention, these foods are high in vitamins and nutritional value, yet, proportionally lower in calories compared to meat and dairy products.
2. Healthier skin and nails
Before this dietary transition, my face looked...dull...for lack of a better word. It was littered with acne, acne scars, and unattractive blemishes. Not to mention, it was twice the size as it is now. My hair and nails were also a problem. They would grow slow and very unhealthily. Now, my face has never been clearer. Several of my friends, and even my boyfriend, occasionally comment on the "natural glow" it has attained since my diet change. I have also noticed that my nails and hair grow exponentially faster than they ever did before. When they grow, they grow stronger and healthier as well. Overall, limiting the number of toxins that I allow to enter my body has had profound effects on my external appearance, as well as the efficiency of my internal functioning.
3. Higher energy levels and healthier feeling body
Coupled with working out, this diet has given me higher and longer lasting intervals of energy. Before, I remember eating things that contained meat or dairy and simply feeling sluggish and bloated after. It would take a few hours for me to digest these foods, and in the time being, I felt completely gross. Even when I went to workout, I noticed I would cramp up more and lose energy very quickly. Now, I have more energy waking up, which evidently lasts me longer throughout the day as well. I did not want to lose an income of protein completely, so by including eggs and seafood into this diet I have food thats high in protien to last me during my strenuous workouts, as well as fruits and veggies to hold me over in between meals. All in all, my body feels healthier, fuller, cleaner, and more energized longer than it did before.
4. Money saving
Almost always, people will argue that diet changes require a lot of money, especially if plant-based nutrients are involved. Yet, from my own experience, these claims could not be any farther from the truth. A pound of fruit or vegetables is marginally cheaper than a pound of meat or cheese for instance. Cereal, bread, pasta, and grains are also cheaper by the pound than the latter. Learning how to cook at a very young age also helped me with this dietary transition. By knowing how to cook, and likewise knowing what to cook, I have been able to keep the cost down and nutrition high in my own grocery shopping and cooking experiences.
5. Giving back to the Earth
As many people are starting to become aware, eating meat and dairy pays a heavy toll on the health of our own planet. It takes more water to sustain livestock than it does a pasture of crops. At the same time, many if not all factory farms are notorious for their inhumane treatment of the animals they raise. Netflix's "What The Health" documentary helped awaken me to the backstage horrors of the meat industry, which eventually kick-started my inspiration to cut these foods out of my life. If the whole world cut back, or even cut out these foods, we would see a global change and a more efficient way to sustain human life. By eliminating the consumption of these foods you do your body, the Earth, and animals a cosmic favor.
Now, almost two years into this change, I have never felt better. I also think that this change has had a profound impact on my mindset as well. By doing my research and talking to like-minded people, the horizons of my viewpoints have expanded. I have gathered knowledge from several animal rights activists groups, as well as helped raised awareness about the benefits of saving these animals. The way I see it, a healthy body is equivalent to a healthy mind. Our bodies are temples and we must live with them, so why not treat ourselves with respect?
February 2017 to August 2017 post diet change.d Hannah Westphal