I’ve been vegetarian for just about a year now (the actual date is fuzzy, since I phased out fish over time), and I can say without a doubt that this year represents the most my life has ever improved in such a short period of time. Granted, there have been a few sacrifices. But “no buffalo wings during the NCAA tournament” just doesn’t measure up to a list like this. Enjoy.
75 Ways Going Vegetarian Has Made My Life Better
75. I don’t have to clean up animal juices in the kitchen.
74. I don’t feel like passing out immediately after dinner.
73. My wife got pregnant right away, when the doctor told us it would be tough.
72. I love my dogs even more than I used to.
71. I took 10 minutes off my marathon time.
70. I discovered Thai and Indian food.
69. We have more grocery money to spend on expensive specialty foods.
68. There’s no reason for me to even think of stopping at McDonald’s.
67. I’m helping the environment without trying.
66. I spend less on vitamins and supplements because I need them less.
65. We’ve started recycling.
64. Erin’s pregnancy has been completely free of complications.
63. Random moles and bumps on my body have disappeared.
62. I haven’t gotten sick once.
61. It gave me a reason to start a blog (and maybe even help some people).
60. I have a cause to care about.
59. It has made me want to donate money to help animals, not do it out of guilt.
58. I pay way more attention to what I eat before and after runs.
57. When I wake up in the morning and forget for just a second that I’m vegetarian, I feel really good about myself when I remember.
56. Cheese, one of most unhealthy foods I still eat, isn’t nearly as appealing as it used to be.
55. I am sympathetic to people who feel passionately about other issues.
54. I don’t even have to think about adding vegetables to my meals.
53. We’ve started composting.
52. I ran my fastest mile, by a whole minute.
51. I ran my first ultramarathon.
50. I sleep a million times better when I don’t go to bed all bloated and full of animal parts.
49. I’ve discovered my local health food store (David’s!).
48. I spend 80% of my grocery shopping time in the produce section.
47. I’ve learned to appreciate nature a hell of a lot more than I used to.
46. Number of runs missed due to injury since going vegetarian = 0.
45. I discovered almond milk.
44. I haven’t weighed myself in months.
43. Sometimes people send me free cookbooks and fitness books.
42. I have more in common with my stepmom, who doesn’t eat mammals.
41. I am closer to my sister.
40. My dad eats so much more healthily than he used to.
39. My mom eats less red meat.
38. I realize that there are a lot of alternatives to the “common knowledge” about nutrition and health.
37. I discovered Michael Pollan, and went to see him speak.
36. Summer mornings at the farmers market with Erin and the dogs are the best.
35. We probably eat twice the variety of foods we used to.
34. We bought a juicer.
33. There’s a lot more room in the freezer.
32. I’ve never tried so many different smoothies.
31. I’ve started sprouting.
30. I think way more about the other stuff in food besides protein, carbs, and fat.
29. I discovered coconut oil.
28. I learned that I like kale, collards, lentils, quinoa, bulgur, and okra.
27. I’ve learned that starchy carbohydrates aren’t the best running fuel (for me).
26. I tried more new recipes this year than I ever have before.
25. When I went to the dentist after a 10-year hiatus, he attributed the cleanliness of my teeth to raw fruits and vegetables.
24. I don’t eat gross school food anymore.
23. Erin is very conscious of pesticides and hormones in the food she eats that feeds our baby.
22. 250 other people around the world wear No Meat Athlete shirts to show everyone else what you can do with plant power.
21. We put some serious miles on our food processor and blender, appliances that used to just sit on the counter.
20. I’ve gotten to talk to and exchange emails with pro athletes and authors.
19. I’ve learned the importance of supporting small farms.
18. I lost a lot of body fat without trying.
17. Almost none of my food comes in packages.
16. I discovered Ezekiel sprouted-grain breads.
15. I eat more nuts and beans than ever before.
14. Doctor visits last year (besides physical exam) = 2. Doctor visits this year (besides physical exam) = 0.
13. We’ve started using natural toothpaste, deodorant, and household cleaning products.
12. When I see a stray dog on the road, I stop.
11. I ran my fastest 5K.
10. I found motivation to quit drinking caffeine, because it’s the most unhealthy thing I do. (Still working on completely eliminating it, though.)
9. People at races yell, “No Meat!”
8. I make my sports drinks and gels at home now, instead of drinking commercial shit.
7. I got addicted to hemp (protein and oil).
6. I qualified for Boston, something that I had been trying to do for seven years.
5. Qualifying for Boston allowed me to get into trail running, through which I’ve met some incredible runners and people.
4. A friend of mine has become almost completely vegetarian.
3. Thanks to readers like you, I have a voice to share what I’m doing with lots of other motivated people.
2. When I hear about horrors of factory farms, I feel angrier, but less guilty.
1. Lots of people tell me “thanks,” something I’ve never experienced on this level before.
What did I miss? What’s been the biggest impact reducing meat consumption has had on YOUR life?
This post is part of a series on how to start eating a vegetarian diet, for new vegetarians or endurance athletes looking to take their performance to the next level.