Today is February 1st! I did it. I followed a meat-free diet for 1 month. I still ate eggs, cheese and milk, so I did not go vegan, but I didn't eat any meat or fish. (When I say meat, I mean it to include red meat, pork, poultry, fish and shellfish -- all meats, but some people don't, so I'm being specific.) I feel ok today. I don't feel exceptional, but I am at the end of my cold and still dragging a bit. I've heard people say how great they feel after only a week or 2 of vegetarian diets, but I'm pretty sure most of those people went vegan, not just vegetarian. My experience was a mixed one. I had both positive and negative reactions to my meatless month.
Ok, positives first. I'm proud of myself for doing it - I'm impressed that I didn't cave halfway through the month and eat bacon. (There was a time there where I thought I might.) I learned about a lot of new, delicious foods and found some great restaurants. I lost about 9 lbs. (I wasn't trying to, but I didn't mind seeing that new number show up on the scale!) I got to share the experience with my boyfriend. We proved with both could do it. Planning meals without meat is cheaper than with!
I did have some negatives too, however. It was very easy (too easy, really) to eat badly this way. On more than one occasion I resorted to appetizers for dinner when we went out to eat. I ate mozzarella sticks more this month than I have in 6 months. I think I also should have done some research on the right foods to incorporate. I ate a lot of spinach, but I don't know if there was something else I should have been eating instead. I also ate a lot of cheese, which messed up my system some. Many restaurants are offering meat-free options now, but there are still a lot of places only offering grilled cheese and garden salads. And cheese hoagies. And restaurants that are labeled vegetarian or vege-friendly are typically expensive. We're on a budget, so we weren't willing to break the bank for our experiment.
Looking at my paragraphs, it looks like there were more negatives than positives, but I definitely don't think that's true. I am really happy that I did this and I plan to definitely incorporate more vegetarian meals into my weekly diet. My boyfriend and I decided we'd continue meat-free til Saturday and break our "fast" together :) I'm thinkin a 5 Guys burger, but not sure yet! I have also decided to only have 3 meat meals a week to start. I may change that after a few weeks, but I don't want to shock my system with a ton of meat right away. And I know how healthy a vegetarian diet can be (if you plan for it!) I will be researching it and finding my own happy middle ground to be healthier.