I've been an off-and-on vegetarian since I was about 10 years old. I remember telling my mom at a young age that I didn't want to eat meat anymore, and as an athletic child, she was worried.
"How will you get your protein?", "Will your energy, mood, and performance suffer?", "Do I have to cook you a separate dinner now?" were all questions that came up with this change.
Why do I choose to eat very little meat? Well to be honest it's partially because meat grosses me out, and partially because I'm a highly empathetic person who is passionate about animals. I don't advise everyone go vegetarian, but if it speaks to you, I support that! If not, keep doing your thang.
I've gotten many questions lately about the facts of a vegetarian diet, so I want to give you guys some pros & cons of being a vegetarian:
-More environmentally friendly (reduces water used, methane/nitrous oxide production, and more)
-Can lower the risk of heart disease & type 2 diabetes
-Can be cheaper (beans and rice are much cheaper than meat)
-Can improve digestion, skin, energy, and mood in some
-Meat is a more convenient source of protein
-Meat is highly bio-available (more nutrients absorbed)
-Meat has more heme-iron available
-Vegetarian diets can get repetitive or boring
-Several traditional dishes & restaurants do not have many vegetarian options
-"You won't get any protein"...yes, you will, you just need to consume a wide variety of grains, legumes, eggs, dairy, and vegetables.
-"It's expensive"...The cost of a vegetarian diet is typically about $1,000 – $1,500 cheaper per person per year.
-"You just eat veggies"...no, you eat pretty much everything but meat. There's 4 other food groups.
-"You'll have no energy"...it's true, vegetarians get less energizing vitamin B without meat, so I recommend a wide variety of foods or a whole-food multivitamin that also contains iron.
I don't have all the facts, this is just based on my research and experience. For every pro-vegetarian article and study, there is also a pro-meat eating article and study. My best advice to you is to try it, and if you like it, then yay! But if you don't, it's okay!
I highly recommend you do some further research to find out if eating plant-based is for you. Here are some sources:
Sincerely, Leah Peters Leahpetersfitness.com