Thursday, April 3, 2014

Calling It Quits

Today is a tough day. A tough, tough, tough day.

Many of you probably know that I gave up meat entirely for Lent. I'm 31 days in now, and to be honest, giving it up had actually been very easy for me. I don't crave it- even now. My commitment to keeping my Lenten promise was something I had, and do, feel very strongly about.

All that said, as my health and wellbeing have started to come into play and I start to see "warning signs" on my horizon in regard to the state of my body, I wonder about whether I made a smart decision for myself. (Not that vegetarian living ISN'T smart. That's NOT what I'm saying AT ALL so please don't twist it.) Yes- I said health and well being. See, the first 10 days, I felt FANTASTIC! It was a great reset for my body to get nothing but greens and "clean" food in. I felt strong, empowered, and was really happy with my decision. But not long after, everything started to go pear shaped...

The last two weeks, I have felt "off"- especially having felt so good the first ten days into this thing. And you know- I tried to blame it on other things. I bluffed. I made excuses. But the proof was right there all along... I noticed, suddenly, that I was extremely tired. All. The. Time. I started to feel lethargic and my energy was zapped. Then the headaches started creeping in. It felt just like a sugar crash. Scary- especially when it happened at the gym after my workout on Saturday. I didn't put two and two together right away as to why it happened, and I didn't broadcast it because it was just so strange, but I nearly passed out at the gym after just 40 minutes of lifting. All the sudden I got very dizzy, turned extremely pale, and needed to lie down. Nathan was there and took care of me, but it shook me pretty bad. Fast forward five days to today- and that workout still has me hurting. Badly. The muscles in my shoulders never recovered. Even typing this, I can feel a dull ache in them. NOT NORMAL. Normally I might have a day, maybe two, where I'm more sore than normal, but it certainly never hurt like this or lasted this long. I also noticed that lately, as in the last ten or so days, no matter how hard I try, I can't sleep. We bought a new bed about a month ago and it's INSANELY comfortable- so it's not that. I just don't REST. I sleep lightly and wake up a lot during the night with cold sweats. That's not normal either. And then there's the sadness... My mood has changed. Dramatically. I literally cried myself to sleep last night for no reason. And my life is HAPPY! There is NO reason to feel like that... And do we even need to talk about my hair falling out like crazy lately?

All things considered, the ONLY conceivable thing that could be going on, the only change and shift I've made and that it could be attributed to, is a protein deficiency. I never ever thought about it, but I've been iron deficient since I was 18 years old and have taken a supplement for it. Can you imagine what giving up red meat has done to those levels? Furthermore, red meat helps to balance out blood sugar. I know this is true. That completely explains the crash after the workout Saturday...


And so I think I've made a decision. Not for vanity. Not because of cravings. Not because of influence or a momentary lapse in judgement. (Because-trust me- I've given this A LOT of thought and it's nearly broken my heart!) I think today, 31 days into my vegetarian commitment, I am calling it quits. I am genuinely concerned for my health, and having talked it over with my husband, we both think that God knows how committed I've been and that He would never want me to put myself in harm's way as a tribute to my love for Him.

I'm feeling sad, but I'm looking forward to getting the train back on it's track. I don't want to feel this weak every day, or fight off headaches, or reach for a can of soda to spike my blood sugar. I just want to feel STRONG and HEALTHY again... And I'm not saying that you can't live a very healthy, strong life as a vegetarian. But just as no two metabolisms are the same, no two reactions to a specific diet are the same either. I know that this is making ME feel terrible---but that is not the case for millions of vegans and vegetarians throughout the world. And I respect that.

What say you? Do I need to feel so guilty for making this decision? Have you found the balance being a vegetarian that I haven't? Do you think strength training is conducive to vegetarianism without using protein powders?


9 comments:

Jewlz280 said...

You can get the protein/iron you need from that lifestyle, it just takes a lot of thought and planning. Once you get use to it, it's second nature. With that said, I couldn't do it. I like my lifting and my meat. LOL Doing something like trying it out and giving it a good go was a good learning experience, though. I do think it would help if you were a tracker. I've asked before (because I don't remember) if you track cals or macros or any of that and I didn't get an answer so I just assumed you were more of a eyeballer instead of a measurer. But in this case, measuring would've helped you figure out what was going on. I try for 100g of protein a day but have a hard time hitting that many days. But with tracking, I know exactly where I'm at. Would that be an option for you to finish out the challenge? Do you want to anymore? You could either do it by good ol' paper and pen or sign up for an account at like, Calorie King or MyFitnessPal. I believe both track pretty well all of it.

And if you don't want to do it anymore, don't beat yourself up. Look how well you did! You've done so GREAT and worked so hard that I don't think anyone could begrudge what you have accomplished. I know it's something I could never do. And on top of trying it and doing your very best, you shared it with all of your friends and followers. And for the record, even without being vegetarian I can have a hard time getting all of my protein in since I ma watching my intake right now. So, sometimes protein powders are the only way I can get all that I need to get in although I try to get it mostly through eggs, Greek yogurt, and lean meat. I guess my point is don't feel guilty and don't beat yourself up. Do what is best not only for your body but your soul. God knows and loves your heart. ((hugs))

Beth Ann said...

You have to do what is right for you and your body. Maybe you can do something else for the last couple of weeks to take its place to make you feel more committed spiritually? Near passing out is no bueno, mamacita.

Carol said...

I would not even think of faulting you for having to change your mind. Your health is important and God knows you are doing plenty more in your life to His glory.

Thank you for your blog.

Kari Goodman said...

You have to do what is best for you. You honor God with your body and part of that is taking care of you.

Gwen said...

I'm entirely confident that God knows what was in your heart. He doesn't want you sick. I would suggest coming up with something else to give up for the rest of Lent. That way, you are simply swapping out something that isn't healthy for you, for something that doesn't jeopardize your health.

You might want to go to marksdailyapple.com, click the 'start here' button at the top, and read about all the great reasons to consider a primal diet. VERY healthy, very clean. :)

Good luck!

♥ Drazil ♥ said...

I say I love you anyway. Period. Never doubt that.

Didi Paul said...

It's tricky to learn how to be a vegetarian in a healthy way. When I was a strict vegetarian long ago I did absolutely no research about it whatsoever. I felt fine, but I ended up deficient in iron and b vitamins after a few years.
Now I eat meat maybe once a week, but I have learned to balance my protein, and other essential vitamins and nutrients. I tracked enough with myfitnesspal, so that I could make sure I was getting all the protein my body needed. (Women need between 40 and 60 grams of protein a day) I know a lot more about nutrition in general, so that helps a ton! I make sure to get plenty of iron by putting dark leafy greens into my smoothies (kale is soooooo amazing), and I take liquid B complex. I've learned to replace meat protein with beans, eggs, cheese, amaranth, and quinoa, and I've learned how to combine foods to make complete proteins. It takes work, and it isn't for everybody.
Even though my diet has improved a lot, I still drink Gold Standard protein powder (cinnamon graham cracker is the best) after hard work outs too.
You can be a good, awesome, healthy person and eat meat. Don't be too hard on yourself!

BostonGal said...

Sarah, same exact thing happened to me 2 weeks ago. I had been aiming for an 80% plant based diet and cutting meat down to 2 times a week. Like you I felt great - no bloating, lose weight but couldn't shake the haze so what do I do - more coffee. Two weeks ago I started a higher intensity exercise class and I almost passed out (blurred vision and stumbling to the bathroom). It scared the crap out of me. I blamed it on a stomach bug I thought I had, the temperature in the room, bring dehydrated, etc. the next week I are some protein and carbs before (and was well hydrated) and had a much better experience. I agree with the above post that you can get enough protein if you plan and think about it. A better option for me is to add a little meat back in.

Val said...

You have to take care of yourself first & foremost (I'm sure God understands ;-)
If anyone should walk that vegetarian/vegan walk, it should be me (the veterinarian), but like you, every time I've tried, I have felt even WORSE so I say a little prayer for the souls of the dearly departed, & work in this world for humane treatment & compassionate care...