Natasha’s Story a Classic Rookie Vegetarian Mistake

The first time I became vegetarian was in 2007. I was watching an interview on The Today Show with Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin, authors of Skinny Bitch. I didn’t really think anything of it at the time; just another interview on my favorite morning show. A few weeks later, I was in a book store and there it was on display, front and center. I bought a copy. Because I saw the interview, I knew the book was really about living a plant-based life; not getting skinny.

I finished the book in two days. By the last page, I had decided to stop eating meat. It was that quick. No transition. There was only one problem. I never researched what to eat in place of meat. I committed the classic rookie vegetarian mistake – I replaced meat protein with more carbs. Bad move. 10 months later, I reluctantly returned to eating meat.

Fast forward to October 2010. I was at a weekend yoga retreat at stone circles at The Stone House in Mebane, NC. All of the meals during the weekend were vegetarian. The best vegetarian meals I have ever had. Ever. I returned home from the retreat and needed to go grocery shopping. I thought to myself “I haven’t had any meat for the past 3 days. Why start now? Maybe I should give this vegetarian thing another try.” I was ready. My only concern was the food I had in the refrigerator. To my surprise, I did not have one piece of meat (fresh, frozen or canned) in the house. And so the journey began. I celebrated my 1-year vege-versary last month.

What was my main motivation for going veg?

For me, becoming vegetarian (both times) was more about my feelings on the unnecessary killing of animals for my benefit. Those who know me might be surprised by this. It is well known in my circle of family and friends that I am not an “animal-person”. The health benefits are an added bonus.

Being vegetarian, do I miss meat?

Not really. Every now and then, I will smell a delicious burger or BBQ ribs and want a bite. Then the moment passes and I move on. During the year, I have learned how to be a better vegetarian. I now replace meat protein with… non-meat protein. As long as I’ve eaten a sufficient amount of protein, I don’t crave meat.

How did my family react to my vegetarianism?

They’ve been quite supportive of my decision; as they have been with all of my life decisions. I also think seeing that I didn’t completely waste away has helped.

Natasha Crawford
Health Coach
Nia Wellness Solutions

Twitter: @natashacrawford
Facebook: Nia Wellness Solutions

Tags: ,

6 Responses to “Natasha’s Story a Classic Rookie Vegetarian Mistake”

  1. Love your story. Very admirable. I have been contemplating going vegetarian for awhile…trying to make life changes and my health is at the forefront. We are huge meat eaters in our family, Thanksgiving is a huge deal and we eat a lot of fast food. I’ve always hated hunting and I feel almost bad when I eat meat…I won’t eat deer or anything like that. So – any advice? What are some tips? What foods do you SWEAR by and what do you stay away from? I would love any advice that you have!
    Wonderful story and very neat of you to stick with it and not look back!

  2. Hi Alicia

    Natasha’s story was a really great one. Very inspiring. Like most people, she didn’t get it quite right the first time round, but with a little determination, she made it on her second attempt.

    Lots of the foods that you SWEAR by are such personal choices. It really depends on your own circumstances and whether or not you want to cook from scratch.

    I am an avid Starbucks fan and actually a soy latte in most coffee chains is a delight. So that is one treat I have never had to give up. Using a milk replacement at home is another matter entirely. I don’t like soy milk; rice milk is great. If you like to drink milk and want something that actually resembles the milk experience then chilled rice milk is the one to go for IMHO.

    I have a cupboard full of dried herbs and spices, oils and vinegars so that I can whip up quick meals (I am a mum and run two businesses so time is often short). I keep a range of rices, pasta and legumes in the cupboard.

    I always have the following products in the freezer:

    Soy mince
    Soy balls (meatless meat balls)
    Firm soy
    Quorn cubes
    Quorn mince
    Some ready made Quorn and vegetables patties

    I get whatever fruit and vegetables are in season each week. I keep a stock of frozen fruit in the freezer for quick deserts and smoothies (chop up ripe fruit like peeled bananas, put them into freezer bags in portions ready to use). I also buy ready frozen fruit.

    When you get started on becoming a vegetarian build up your stores slowly trying out each different food to see what suits your lifestyle and taste buds. You’ll find that you can make all your old favourites taste just as good as they did before – if you want to. Some people find the transition easier by steering clear of their old favourites.

    What do you think your biggest challenges are going to be, are there any specifics that I can help you with?


  3. hi everyone,

    I never thought I’d be writing this! but the story has been truly inspiring to me. I’m 28 years old and married to a meat-lover for the past 6 months. I had always had in my mind the idea of becoming a vegetarian, but for one reason or another I never pursued it. I learned today that my sister and her boyfriend are becoming vegetarians themselves, found it was the final push I needed and here I am.

    I’ve also had weight issues since my adolescent life (I’m not obese, just about 6-7 kilos overweight). I’m hoping that becoming vegetarian will also help. I’ve also become more conscious recently about the way animals are killed, and I just can’t stand supporting that through what I eat.

    how is it possible to make this transition easier? is there such a thing as a process to get there? I have no idea how to do it, but I’m definitely sure I want to at least try. do you have any advice for me?

    thank you!!!

  4. Hi Maria,

    Natasha’s story is great, I think it really speaks to the fact that you need to find the way that is right for you. Take a look at your eating habits and the foods/flavours you enjoy. You can eat all of the same meals if you want to but just substitute the ingredients.

    So, if you like spaghetti and meatballs for instance you can still have them in exactly the same sauce but use meatless meatballs made from Quorn or soy. They come ready made in the freezer section. I usually bake them or fry them to get some crunch on the outside and then add them to the sauce at the last minute, quick easy meal. You can make fajitas and tacos really healthily and meat free with a mixture of beans or Quorn strips. Either of these taste great dry friend in a Mexican spice mix.

    What sort of things do you currently eat?


  5. Katelyn Hobday July 4, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    Great story! I’m only twelve, and I’m a complete animal lover. I’ve been reading and watching a lot of animal cruelty problems, and this is a huge one! I’m trying to go vegetarian, but my whole family LOVES meat, and almost always have it! My dad nearly talked me out of it by saying I probably won’t get enough protein for my body. I’m worried, so I need a good list of ideas and things I can do! Sadly, I’m a picky eater, so this really makes this a struggle. I’ve mastered one day! ;D (*laugh out loud*) I even survived through a cookout with ribs and everything! To my surprise, it wasn’t as bad as you might think. I’m just insanely hungry, and I need to know if there is anything I can eat that really fills you up? Please send me and email to help me out! Bye!

  6. I had an experience not at all similar to this ,but for a school project I had to give up something that was important to me you could say.I decided to give up meat for ten days.I honestly don’t know what I was thinking because I have meat in almost every meal I eat.So I think that if I would have had support from my family I could’ve actually achieved my goal of not consuming meat for ten days.While I was on my ten day experience I wasn’t satisfied with the food I was getting so therefore I’d get some ice cream later on that day to satisfy my appetite. Which wouldn’t have happened if I would’ve convinced my mom to make vegetarian meals to fulfill my hunger. I ended up giving up due to not being able to resist the temptation of chicken nuggets.All in all, I didn’t have a pleasant experience due to the fact that i didn’t research satisfying vegetarian the way your really brave for not craving meat.Hopefully one day I will get to try this again .Who knows maybe I’ll adapt it as a lifestyle once I get more knowledge on the subject that is.

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge