In my opinion, there are too many trendy diets out there these days. People forget that not every diet works for the next person. So here’s my advice: Don’t stress yourself out. Find a diet and lifestyle that fits your lifestyle and works for your body and beliefs. This is something that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately myself as I consider a return to a flexitarian diet, one that includes less meat.
I’m no stranger to a vegetarian diet—I come from parents who are heavily invested in alternative medicine and natural foods, and who themselves were vegetarian at the time I was born. It was only suitable that their daughter be raised in that same vein; I was only introduced to meat when my grandmother let me taste steak and bacon in the fifth grade.
But lately—especially since I work for a health food chain—I’ve considered reverting back to a less-meat-based diet. Forget being vegan—I love cheese too much (although I applaud those who embrace and maintain a vegan diet). I just personally couldn’t give up fish (especially sushi), eggs and even chicken.
But with Easter right around the corner and several friends participating in Lent, I decided I could adopt the idea of giving up meat for 40 days as a way to ease into the flexitarian diet I mention above. A flexitarian, or semi-vegetarian, diet is one that is plant-based, with the occasional inclusion of meat products. To me, limiting my meat consumption is important because red meat can clog arteries, and the hormones present in some meats can be harmful and even cause disease. But if you’re not keen on giving up meat for 40 days like I am, or want to start with smaller steps, why not consider dedicating one day of the week to being completely meat-free? With the Internet at our fingertips these days, it’s easier than ever to find recipes for simple, healthy, inexpensive vegetarian meals.
Of course, there are pros and cons to everything, and moderation is important to keep in mind. If you want to become healthier, you must first educate yourself and understand what healthy means to you. So I challenge you to work on cutting out something in your life that you feel is making you unhealthy or that’s harming your body. I’m not only talking about meat, or the food you put in your mouth—it can be anything. You could make a plan to quit smoking, to give up sunbathing, to stop biting your nails. And it doesn’t have to be overnight; think baby steps. But no matter what you choose, remember that you’re one step closer to your goal of becoming a healthier individual. Live healthy, be happy. Cheers to that!