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?