Hippie. Sissy. Tree hugger. These were all words that I would associate with people who were “vegetarian” or “vegan”. You see, I was raised eating amazing southern BBQ. One of my favorite travel activities was to overload on the finest cuisine, which almost always included meat. Hell, during our trip to Argentina, it was common place to eat cheese covered steak three times a day!
Over the past few years I've fallen in love with my grill. During our last two month stay in the Smoky Mountains, my wife and I barbecued at least 5 times a week. So, never in a million years did I think that I would be turning up my nose at a juicy steak or chicken wings.
So why the hell would a meat devouring southern guy become a vegetarian overnight?
I've always heard the arguments that say eating meat makes you fat, hurts the planet, and is cruel to animals. Sure, becoming a vegetarian might help someone lose weight, but I'm sure there are a dozen other ways to become thin without giving up delicious filet mignon!
My shift didn't happen because I wanted to save the world or spare a cow's life. You see, I'm a “probabilities guy”. As a day trader and investor, I've conditioned myself to pay attention to statistics and odds. Even though I've failed every math class since the fourth grade, I've seen huge payoffs in going with the odds.
And over the past 6 months I've become thoroughly convinced that eating a plant based diet will significantly reduce my risk of dying a young, painful, and possibly slow death. In other words, if I ignore the data that's been presented to me, I'm basically saying, “I don't value my life enough to take a simple step to dramatically improve my odds of living a full and healthy life.”
In the video below, Dr. Greger shows the top 15 causes of death for Americans, and how eating a plant based diet can dramatically decrease your odds of dying from one of them. He systematically goes through every leading cause of death, and shows peer-reviewed scientific medical studies that prove his thesis. Listen, I'm not saying that his findings are gospel, but this is the most convincing amount of evidence I've seen on either side of the argument.
Why Becoming a Vegetarian is the #1 Way to Prevent Death:
Here are a few more documentaries that helped with my decision to become a vegetarian:
3 More Reasons To Become A Vegetarian
In addition to decreasing your odds of dying from an easily preventable death, here are a few more reasons to become a vegetarian. These may be the tipping point to help you ditch the cheeseburger.
You'll live with more energy and vitality!
Remember how groggy and lethargic you feel after eating a big steak or turkey dinner? It's not because “turkey makes you sleepy”. The real reason is because your body has to work extremely hard to digest meat. In Austin, Texas we have amazing Tex-mex. I used to love eating enchiladas but hated how bloated I felt after eating it. After switching to a vegetarian diet, I decided to try the veggie enchiladas in place of chicken. The difference in how I felt after the meal was night and day!
Your productivity and profits will multiply!
Do you remember that 5 Hour Energy commercial where they show people falling asleep at their desks in the middle of the afternoon? Their claim is that you can drink a little bottle of crap and feel amazing for the rest of the day. Want a more effective, life-extending option? Try juicing fresh fruits and vegetables with your breakfast and lunch. Chances are you won't experience “that 2:30 feeling”. And since going vegetarian, I've been able to focus better when day trading, and had an abundance of energy to work on other projects.
You'll shed extra body fat!
For me, going vegetarian wasn't just a superficial, fast-track way to shed some pounds. However, I have lost about 10 pounds since cutting out most animal products from my diet. I still have a long way to go, but this is a great start for anyone looking to cut fat and keep it off. Don't take my word for it. Watch Dr, Greger's video above and see the evidence for yourself!
How To Easily Become a Vegetarian
Try it out for a week as an experiment – The thought of swearing off meat and becoming a vegetarian might be a scary thought. Over-committing is typically why most people fail at taking on big “goals”. So, if you want to make this decision easier on yourself, just commit to doing a test to see if it's something you like.
My wife and I committed to doing just two weeks of pure vegetarian meals. At first, we didn't say, “This is our last day eating meat for the rest of our lives”. It was more like, “let's experiment with this for a couple weeks and see if the benefits outweigh not eating meat.”
Think “replace” instead of “can't have” – Don't think of eating a vegetarian meal plan as a “diet”. Diets usually have a negative association because they are restrictive. For example, you're restricting your calories and things you'll eat. So instead of saying you “can't eat meat”, think of it as if you're just replacing meat with other healthier alternatives. This way you don't feel like you're on some crash diet that will send you running back to chicken nuggets when you can't take it anymore.
Have fun with finding delicious recipes – You'd be amazed at how many good vegetarian meals you can create. In fact, over the past few months I've had some of the best meals of my life. There are many cookbooks and websites dedicated to giving you amazing veggie recipies. My favorite is punchfork.com. You can sort recipes based on meal type (vegan or vegetarian), and find something that looks delicious to you.
Here's a video showing how I add fresh juice into my diet daily. It's a great vegetarian recipe that anyone can easily add:
Pay attention to the positive changes – Notice the difference in how you feel after every meal. Do you feel lighter, more energetic, or just happier? Maybe you're really enjoying experiencing great vegetarian recipies. Keep reminding yourself why you're doing it, and you'll likely stick with it longer.
Look, becoming a vegetarian isn't right for everyone, and you should probably check with your doctor to make sure it's right for you. But I've noticed huge positive changes after switching to vegetarian food for only 90 days. Even if you're not ready to ditch the meat completely, everyone could benefit from adding more fresh fruits and veggies into their diets.