• I’ve actually noticed that all of my tummy aches have gone away and that I have much more energy (I naturally wake up earlier and feel more rested) since I switched to a vegan diet this fall. HOWEVER, I gained 7 pounds in the first few weeks because I was simply enjoying all kinds of new recipes and not counting calories! LOL. After I got familiar with my new whole foods plant-based vegan style of cooking and started counting calories again the weight came off. But, my point is to say that I too feel a lot better going vegetarian. :0) I’m really glad you’re sharing your story.

    From Heidi Fencik
    January 31, 2012

  • oh hey! great post! Love hearing about your journey and its encouraging to hear how you have developed more vegetartian meals and making it work for you! Keep it up.

    I do have a question though. I’m not a vegetarian but when i’m having a dinner party what are some good options if I’m not familiar with vegetarian entrées?

    From Allison
    February 1, 2012

  • Hi Kelly…great to hear about your lifestyle change. Although I cannot see myself as a full fledged vegetarian, thanks to H3 I do eat a lot more fruits and vegetables and do not see the need to eat meat for lunch or dinner everyday. So in essence, I have turned more vegetarian…that’s good I think. Hope you are well…like the lead in to your story said, we all appreciated your happy disposition and smiling face each day at H3. Thanks for sharing. Trev

    From Trev Witt
    February 1, 2012

Meet Kelly the Vegetarian

Many Guests who visit Hilton Head Health have questions about their diet, especially if “going vegetarian” will help in losing weight more rapidly. Although there are some benefits to adapting a vegetarian diet, we believe that it should be something you consider as a lifestyle change and not necessarily a “diet.” Meat provides your body with protein and many other essential nutrients.  Today, we have a special post from Kelly Milgie. You have probably seen Kelly’s shining face greeting you as walk through the doors of H3. As a vegetarian, Kelly would like to share how she decided to adopt a meatless diet and hopefully, give insight to those with questions about vegetarianism. Feel free to ask questions or leave comments for Kelly in the comments section of this post.  

Growing up in Michigan, meat was a part of my everyday diet and it was not until I went away to college that I started to eat meat less often. This was mostly because for the first time in my life I had to fend for myself when it was meal time, instead of having my parents cook for me.  By the end of my freshman year at Central Michigan University (CMU), I almost completely cut out red meat.  I began to realize that I ate it out of convenience, not because I actually enjoyed the taste. When I moved out of the dorms and into an apartment my sophomore year, I had the opportunity to experiment a little bit more in the kitchen. I mostly cooked pasta and chicken since they were the easiest to prepare and fit best into my college student budget.

After graduating from CMU, I moved down to South Carolina and was introduced to seafood.  Of course I ate it here and there while living inMichigan, but it was definitely not a part of my regular diet.  I noticed I was eating more and more fish and less and less meat.  It even got to the point where I would get what I called “meat overload”—if I had any type of meat for lunch, I would not want any meat in my dinner. 

For Lent this past February I decided to give up meat, excluding seafood, for 40 days to see how I liked it.  It was my way of having a test run at being a Peskatarian. (A Peskatarian is someone who does not eat meat, but still eats seafood.) By the end of week two in my 40 day challenge, I realized I didn’t miss meat.  I wasn’t craving it nor did I feel deprived—more importantly, I started to feel better! I had more energy and rarely had a stomach ache, which was something I suffered from often when I still ate meat.  I never really realized I wasn’t feeling well until I gave up meat and started feeling great!  When my 40 days were up, I decided I wasn’t ready to eat meat again.  In fact, the thought of it was no longer appealing to me.  

The hardest part of my new lifestyle has been going out to eat or to dinner parties.  It seems that animal product sneaks its way into almost everything.  Whenever I order soup I have to ask what type of broth it is made with, and most of the time it is something I cannot order.  When I order a meal that does not have meat in the description, something I do not eat usually ends up on my plate by mistake. Holiday parties are always a challenge since Ham andTurkeyare stars of the show.  It has been almost one year with my new eating habits and now my biggest challenge is being creative with my meals, especially when I am cooking for other people.  I also need to be really careful that I am getting all of the protein and other nutrients I am missing by not eating meat.

My new diet has become somewhat of a hobby to me.  In my everyday life I find myself searching for tips or advice from anyone who will talk to me about my eating habits. I am constantly searching for meals that are high in protein and recipes that include meat substitute.  Tofu and Temph, food I had never even knew existed a year ago, are now apart of my everyday life. 

Changing my diet over the last year has been both exciting and challenging, but overall I feel I made the choice that was right for me.  Are there any eating habits you want to change?

If a vegetarian diet is something that you are interested in, visit this website for information on some of the benefits of being a vegetarian along with tips and recipes.

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