One Month Challenge: Gone Meatless, The End

[Everyone’s got a vice, a bad habit, something they know they need to change. Unfortunately, everyone also has a million excuses why they just can’t do it. Not anymore. Every month we will be following a different CollegeCandy writer as she takes on a personal challenge. This month, Emmy gave up meat. She tried (and loved) new things, she tried (and didn’t love so much) some others. She felt great. And now she’s done. Let’s see what she’s learned, shall we?]

October is finally almost over, and while I am frantically scrambling to come up with another costume for tonight, I am also thrilled that I am only one day away from being done with my meatless month. I can’t believe it’s been a month since my last beefy indulgence. I am really surprised by how well I did and the fact that I didn’t have even a morsel of meat during this whole time.

Being meatless has been a great way to shake things up and make sure that I eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. A bunch of my girlfriends were talking at dinner the other night about how one girl had been vegetarian for a while, and she actually GAINED weight because all she ate was carbs. That has definitely not been my experience at all. October has been an insanely busy week with academics, and I haven’t had enough time to work out as often as I regularly do. Yet not only have I not gained weight, I lost some! I don’t own a scale, but I can feel it in my clothes. Losing weight was in no way my goal in going meatless, but it’s not a bad side effect at all!

While I might not ever learn to like tofu, I have definitely expanded the variety of foods that I eat. Morningstar Farms Chik’n Nuggets (SO GOOD!) are something that will definitely stay on my regular grocery shopping list, as will the mass amounts of fruits and vegetables I’ve been buying.

This month has also provided me with sympathy and mad respect for vegetarians. It is interesting to see how often there isn’t a real vegetarian option offered at big events, especially because vegetarianism is not exactly rare in our world today. Just last night, I was at my sorority’s progressive dinner, and while everything was delicious, there were no real vegetarian main courses. (There was, however, a delicious looking home made chicken pot pie, and it took all of my willpower to refrain. I don’t think I’ve ever worked so hard at anything.) But I survived anyway, just like I’m sure real vegetarians must have to do all the time. So props to them!

I have always been an avid meat lover, one of those people who says that I could never be a vegetarian or understand why people are. This experience has definitely changed my mind, because although I still love meat, I have gotten to see first hand the benefits that vegetarianism offers. I never, ever thought that I would say this, but I am considering becoming a real full-time vegetarian. Weird, huh? I do really crave meat, but I’m intrigued by the way my body and my tastes have changed this month and am tempted to see how embracing this lifestyle full-time could impact my health.

I guess we’ll just have to see how I feel after my first piece of meat on Monday. Will it be so amazing I’ll never want to part with it again, or will it make me feel so full and heavy that I’ll be craving hummus and carrot sticks instead? Not sure, but I do know one thing: this challenge has taught me a lot and while the month is up, I’ll definitely be taking these lessons with me (to some extent) in the long term.

Ready or not, Chipotle, here I come!

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