Sherry A. Phillips

Suspense Author

Going Vegetarian

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My husband and I are Orthodox Christians and attend a local Greek Orthodox Church. Usually twice a week and during certain times of the year (like Lent), we abstain from meat (and if you’re strict, dairy as well).
We were usually pretty good about abstaining from meat; however, my meatless menu would include things like Hashbrown Casserole and baked Macaroni & Cheese, or Lasagna with about 5 different cheeses in it and roughly 2,000 calories a serving. Salads would be drenched in creamy dressings and vegetables would be laden with cheese sauces.

Two years ago, we decided to “go healthy” during Lent. I made Vegetable Fried Rice using Brown Rice and fresh vegetables. Whole Grain Pasta was served w/ Marinara (as opposed to Alfredo). Salad Dressings were replaced with carefully measured Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar. Morning eggs and cheese were replaced with whole grain cereal and soy milk. Snacks were fresh fruit and nuts. We cut out sugar.

My husband dropped 30 pounds in 8 weeks and he wasn’t even exercising! Being a woman, my weight loss was not as impressive (only 15 pounds), but my pants were literally falling off my body.

I was on high blood pressure medicine. Eight weeks after starting this healthy vegetarian diet, I was feeling energetic, but also noticed I started feeling light-headed. I went to my doctor who discovered my blood pressure and cholesterol had plummeted. He asked me what I’d been doing and I told him, “Eating vegetarian!” He took me off the high blood pressure medicine and my husband was lowered from taking two different medications to taking 1/2 a pill a day.

When Lent was over, we gradually started eating meat again. My husband’s and my weight started to creep back and I wasn’t feeling nearly as energetic. My husband’s blood pressure medicine had to be increased again. As I was taking my walk the other day, I started thinking about my paternal grandmother who I never met. She passed away at 50 from a stroke. People on both sides of my family tree suffer from high blood pressure. My late father had coronary artery disease and passed away from complications after a quadruple bypass.

As some of you know, I am a fan of the Blue Zones website and Dan Buetner’s studies. Most of the people who live in the Blue Zones are vegetarian, or mostly vegetarian. Meat is saved for special occasions or eaten rarely if at all. After some discussion, my husband and I have decided to become vegetarians full time. We’re doing it for our health.

Even if you’re not sold on becoming vegetarian full time, you might want to follow the Orthodox Christian plan and be vegetarian 2 days a week (Wednesday & Friday).

Be well, take care of yourself and stay healthy!

About sherry

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