After a few weeks, I had a realization: food is way more than just fuel. Eating can be a thoughtful, yet almost automatic way to live out one’s beliefs (e.g., good health, humane treatment of animals, better environment). I’d become much more mindful of the food entering my body, and I was forced to make small decisions every time I encountered it. This made it much more difficult to mindlessly consume coconut-coated chocolate Sno Balls or dozens of chocolate chip cookies. “I think I have been practicing self control by eating more vegetarian meals; it gives me the muscles to control my junk food eating,” I wrote in my journal.
Plus, I had doubled my consumption of fruits and vegetables and just felt great about the food I was putting into my body—and great generally. “Typically a person who goes on a vegetarian diet tells me they feel better all around,” says Craig. I agree. Perhaps because being healthy was always on my mind and my taste buds were satisfied by the interesting flavors I was feeding them, I had fewer cravings.
I didn’t feel restricted. I felt liberated. And it tasted good.
Rachael Moeller Gorman is a contributing editor to EatingWell and an award-winning science writer.