Monday, July 14, 2008

Vegetarian Diet vs. CR diet

I must apologize for my long absence. Things have been pretty boring and uninspiring recently. But boring and uninspiring be gone! From now on this blog is going to be filled with more interesting recipes, more diet commentary, and more updates on my progress- how much more exciting can you get?!

So to start off this exciting new trend, my sister asked a fabulous question on the last post and I think it deserves its own post.

...when you were a vegetarian for like 5 years, there were always things that
you couldn't eat that you wanted to but you never caved. How is it different
with CR, like knowing that you can eat whatever you want just in limited
I started eating a fish/vegetarian diet in 2001 and beginning this past winter I decided to eat meat again. The decision was made partly because if I remained a vegetarian throughout the study I would have had to eat the same meal every three days for the entire month of packaged foods, and partly because TE and I were feeling that our vegetarian diet was getting a bit monotonous and very unhealthy.

So back to the question: how is item restriction different from calorie restriction?
Very different!
Mostly because I still ate most of my favorite foods as a vegetarian (cheese, cookies, pizza, wine, etc.) and I could eat as much as I wanted. Dinner parties and restaurants were always a source of amazing food and drinks- and I never thought about quantity. Even though I avoided the meat options, there was always something just as good/satisfying to choose from. For example, my favorite restaurant has amazing steak tips (so everyone says), but my favorite entree, the macaroni and cheese, is so amazing I never felt like I was missing out by not eating the tips. Now on my CR diet, the tips may be the better choice...
Also, when I was a vegetarian and craving something meaty there were always fake meat products that satisfied my craving. In my seven years of living meat-free, I found the best veggie meatballs (Trader Joes), turkey/chicken products (Quorn), veggie burgers (boca), veggie sausage patties (Morningstar Farms)... and I could go on. I could eat almost anything I could think of- I rarely felt unsatisfied. And it is not that I feel particularly unsatisfied now- but there are times when I am eating such a great meal that I want to keep eating past the point of fullness or calorie restriction. It is unsatisfying to stop eating, and it is unsatisfying to knowingly go over my calorie prescription. But now when I chose to stop eating I have a team of people telling me constantly why that's the best choice. Hopefully after two years I will have built up enough good, healthy habits and a separation from my old "bad" ways so that I can make better decisions for myself alone. My preliminary success with CR can be attributed to the fact that I am not just doing this for myself. If I was the only person I had to answer to when faced with the "eat more" vs. "stop eating" decision, I would chose the "eat more" side every.single.time. That is why I knew if I was going to be successful on any diet, I needed a face, someone to keep me honest, someone to tell me I was doing well, how to be better, and charting my success along with me.

Blog posting helps too! Let me know what you would like to see more of here- Thank you for reading!


Anonymous said...

I ran across your blog online when searching for CR sources. I too am in a CR study and I also started in February. Mine is through the University of Washington in St. Louis. It's fun to read your blog and feel a bit like we're in a secret club.
By the way, I was a vegetarian for 8 years and I agree. This is much more challenging. This requires REALLY changing behaviors and it's much harder than just avoiding certain foods. My husband is gluten and dairy free, which is tough but he can still eat loads of nasty foods that I can't go near. I think calorie restriction is much harder than a diet eliminating certain foods but the pay off is great, in weight loss and hopefully in longevity. Hang in there. I'll be keeping track of how you do.

Liz said...

Thanks Amy!
You hang in there too! Keep us up to date with your success :)


Rachel said...

Hey Liz - Thanks for the recipes - they (ok, the salads) look awesome! I agree - being a vegetarian is not a cost. Maybe to some it is costly, but I obviously eat absolutely horrendous foods (all the time) and have given up pretty much nothing. Nope, nothing. So I agree - it is a very different decision to CR.

We'll catch up soon - sorry it's been hard this week!! :) cheers - r.