Giving up meat year round

I’m thinking about giving up meat year round. I’m not talking about just Fridays, but everyday. I already do it on Fridays year round. I should say that I’m mostly doing it for health reasons. I just got results back from a recent check-up, and the stats don’t look good. So I’m planning to eat healthier, exercise more, etc. My question is if I give up meat all year-round, how does that affect my nutrient intake, in terms of proteins, essential nutrients, etc.? I already take vitamin and fish oil supplements. What kind of nutrients would I be missing if I went on such a diet?

Thank you in advance.

Iron, zinc, other metal nutrients

Please consult your doctor or a dietician before doing something extreme like this.

This. ^

Also, when you say “giving up meat,” are you including fish? Many types of fish are very healthy. (I wish I liked to eat fish!) You will want to include a lot of legumes and whole grains and be careful to include foods high in vitamin C when eating iron-rish foods.

You could also try something a bit less drastic–maybe you give up meat 3 or 4 days a week?


I was vegetarian and then vegan for many years. The material will say to make sure you consume enough iron, zinc, calcium, vit D, B vitamins, etc. But I warn you that supplements as a source of nutrition are not fully understood. That is, not everyone absorbs every nutrient in the same way, especially nutrients that are not food-based or consumed with co-nutrients.

I learned this the hard way. I was vegetarian (later vegan) doing all the “right” things- taking all the “right” supplements, eating plenty of dark leafy greens, nut butters, and legumes. I still eventually entered something similar to adrenal fatigue. I lacked energy.

I’m not against a vegan or vegetarian diet at all, I would just urge you to consult with professionals, do your research, and figure out the diet that works best for YOU. (I do have many vegan friends who claim they have never had more energy. This was the case for me at first, but after years of that diet, as I said, I eventually grew lethargic and weak. I now consume dairy and meat in moderation- 2 or 3 times a week- and make sure they are humanely sourced. Lean meats aren’t unhealthy, and neither is full-fat dairy in moderation. The rest of the time, I eat a plant-based diet with plenty of whole grains and legumes. Almond milk replaces my milk, as I find it irritating to my digestion and do not eat soy due to the controversy surrounding how our bodies process the plant estrogen it contains.)

Anyway, a healthy vegetarian diet CAN be done, but be alert of the impact on your overall health and do not hesitate to eat a piece of lean meat every now and again. Oh- and there is some research out there that points to seed oils (like canola/vegetable) being the source of heart troubles… since many studies claiming that red meat is hazardous for cardiac health don’t control for the meat/buns being cooked in canola oil, it’s not certain which is the more problematic for overall health. I always cook with pastured butter or olive oil and limit eating out at restaurants. I find home cooked food is healthier and tastier.

Just to clarify, I will still be consuming fish, seafood, dairy, eggs, etc. My follow-up question is that if I do this everyday, I’d have to give up something else on Fridays, no? I was thinking caffeine, but it may be a bit tough.

Meat is going to be very expensive in the coming year because animals eat a lot of corn and oats and hay and with the drought this year and the last couple of years in Texas the ranchers are selling off their stock, holding onto their breading stock if they can find feed. Chickens, turkys, etc are heavy consumers of these feeds also. And if we have a poor harvest next year as well - we may all be " giving " up meat. We may even be giving up " eating !!!."

I remember someone telling me about the shortage of meat in the depression. He said that he and his brothers swabed the frying pan for left over grease when their Mom had enough grease to fry something. My mothers’ family always had a garden and chickens so they did better than " city folks."

But don’t doubt it. Lots of people will have to trim back on the consumption of meat in the coming year or two. You may not know but it takes two-three years to grow a bull or heiffer to maturity. It will take 5-10 years of good harvest and no drought for ranchers can rebuild their heards. Now you know why the early settlers referred to the American West as the great Americah Dessert!! And I wonder if that isn’t the reason Native American Indian populations never really got going. It could be that for the past two hundred years we have been living in an unusually " lush " America and that the real climatic condition, for the West at least, isn’t rather more like what we are gitting right now. Interesting isn’t it?


In a homily, my pastor was talking about what to give up for Lent, and said something which I remember clearly, “Make sure that what you give up isn’t a penance for others. If giving up caffiene makes you difficult to live with, pick something else.” :slight_smile:

Maybe you could give up dairy on Fridays?


Ha! Your pastor’s certainly got a sense of humor. I’m usually OK if I go without caffeine for a day, but I can get headaches and feel lethargic. I try not to have caffeine on weekends, so maybe adding Friday to that won’t be so bad. Besides, I think caffeine is supposed to be bad for you, anyway.

Talk to a nutrition professional. Doctors aren’t often as savvy about nutrition as I think they should be, but talk with your health care provider. There are also oodles of good information from legitimate sources on the 'Net.

I would focus on being healthier rather than thinking purely in terms of being vegetarian. What does your diet look like now? Do you drink soda? Do you get plenty of fruits and veg? Et cetera.

Best of luck to you! :hug1:

I gave up meat for a year straight and the diet counselor told me to take B12 as a supplement. Why? I couldn’t tell you, but I am sure you could look it up.

Because meat provides B12, and if you weren’t getting enough B12, you would become anemic.

No. That is not correct. You do not have to “give up” something else.

The obligation is to abstain from meat, depending on where you live that is either every Friday or Fridays during Lent.

I’m a part-time pescetarian… a fish eater, if you will. I say part time because of two reasons:

  1. I love a good steak too much to let it go entirely
  2. I currently live in the south and the availability of fish or HEALTHY vegetarian options on menus is really poor.

That being said, here are some general thoughts on the matter:

  1. Fish is great! It’s got great omega-3 fatty acids that stimulate brain activity and help to reduce bad cholesterol. It’s also got protein, which is needed! You don’t seem to indicate if you’re male or female, but if you’re female, you should be going for 50 g of protein a day (even when dieting), and as a male you should be going for 60-70 g per day.

  2. Another way to reach this level of protein, because that’s a lot when you’re not getting any land-dwelling meat, is to go with a lot of tofu dishes! Depending on where you live, there are a LOT of great, healthy tofu options (other than “tasteless sponge” which most people think of). There’s chick’n (made from mushrooms), chickenless chicken (soy), beefless tips (soy), tofu crumbles (soy version of ground beef), soyrizo (soy chorizo sausage), Soy bar-b-que wings/“ribs”, etc, etc, etc. You can even get chik’n nuggets, which I honest to God cannot tell the difference from McDonald’s nuggets…

  3. When going for a high fish diet, you really should educate yourself on mercury poisoning. There are some fish you can eat in large amounts, and some that are so bad you shouldn’t eat them more than once or twice a week

  4. If you REALLY want to get healthy, what you need to focus on is fruits and vegetables: go big on both of those! You can literally stuff yourself with fruits and vegetables and it will not blow you up like a blimp. In fact, that’s why diets don’t work (and why high density foods like cheeseburgers are so bad!): your body needs a certain volume of food. If you try to diet by cutting back that volume, you might be getting enough calories, but your body doesn’t know it. By stuffing yourself with things like brocoli, cauliflower, carrots, bell peppers, etc, your body will correctly assess that you aren’t starving, and hunger pangs will go down. SIDE NOTE: vegetables means vegetables… not with ranch dressing! Ranch dressing is almost pure fat. If you need to put dressing on your vegetables, find a light italian or something else that has less than 20-30 calories per serving!

  5. Liquid calories are bad: your body does not recognize ANY intake of energy from liquids, so no matter how many calories you ingest in liquid form, you will eat just as much. Cut all sodas, lattes, energy drinks, etc from your life. There are plenty of low calorie drink mixes (similar to crystal light) that you can buy to spice up your water. Unsweet tea is zero calorie, as is drip coffee (if you must, add a LITTLE non-fat milk and a LITTLE sugar to it… if you don’t like the taste of coffee though, why are you drinking it?). Replace milk with vanilla soy milk (trust me, it grows on you and it’s WAY better for your with less calories and more calcium)

  6. Stay away from carbs and candy… simply put, carbs are not a traditional method of human eating: when we were nomadic hunting tribes we did NOT have time to harvest grain, so we ate grains in very small quantitees. I’m not going to pull an atkins and say cut ALL carbs, but 1/3rd the recommended amount (100g per day) is about good. Why? Carbs break down into sugars… essentially carbs are crates of sugar built into a molecule! A bowl of grapenuts (supposedly healthy) has a higher glycemic (sugar) index than SUGAR does. That’s right, eating grapenuts puts more sugar in your bloodstream than eating sugar does. Sugar increases insulin, insulin blocks your metabolic process and causes you to store bad proteins in fat cells.

  7. You need to be getting physical activity. Need, need, need it. I don’t care what you can do, just do it. If you can’t jog, start by walking 10 minutes every day (not on a treadmill either!). Work your way up to jogging! Have bad knees? Start water walking in a pool and work your way up to swimming! Start on an exercise bike and work your way up to cycling! Activity is your metabolism’s BEST FRIEND. One word of caution, however: when you work out, your body will, at first, have a massive reaction that will tell you to eat. At this time, it is important to stuff yourself with vegetables, because most people dieting tend to overestimate the value of their work out and eat three times the number of calories they just burned in response.

  8. Have a cheat day: you NEED iron, and you NEED several other chemicals from land-dwelling animals. Pick a day of the week and cheat like crazy on that day (responsibly though, still no sodas and lower your carbs). Eat a GIGANTIC steak, have a diet coke, etc. Pick one day a week to burn off steam and relax on the discipline levels. It will actually HELP you to adhere to your diet the rest of the week, as well as give you the level of iron and other things that you need.

I am hoping you are a full time dietitian, otherwise the medical recommendations you are giving here go way over the line of not giving medical advise. :eek:

Actually, even if you are a dietitian, without knowing the possible medical conditions of the OP, you are way over the line.

Meat is not the only way to get iron, zinc, b12, or vitamin D. You can get iron in any of those dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, mustard greens, collard greens, or dried fruit such as prunes or raisins, beans, lentils, chick peas, soy beans, and artichokes. Zinc can be found in pumpkin seeds, peanuts, wheat germ, dark chocolate, garlic, sesame seeds, chick peas, lima beans, mushrooms, spinach, kidney beans, flax seeds, brown rice and since you are eating fish, crab, lobster, oysters. You can get b12 from fish, octopus, eggs, cheese, and all sorts of legumes. For vitamin D fish, milk, fortified foods, shitake and button mushrooms, eggs, and well good old sunshine.

If you do the proper research on being an Pescatarian. Which is what you are talking about which is not vegetarian because you are eating fish which is a meat. You can get proper nutrition just fine. If you are really worried about not getting enough of these nutrients take supplements.

  1. dating a full time dietician. Irrelevant anyway because I offered no medical advice whatsoever.

  2. I never said that they shouldn’t see a doctor or consult with a dietician/nutritionist

  3. Nothing I said was “dangerous” because, as you’ll note:
    a) I never put a calorie limit on anything
    b) I did note that there is a need for additional nutirition to replace lost nutrients
    c) The only thing I noted that was out of FDA standards is the bit about carbs… and carbs are NOT essential in a human diet: the primary value of carbs is fiber and energy, both of which can be found in a meat and vegetable diet.
    d) nothing I said indicates a diet at all, but rather a few healthy eating tips. If the OP is allergic to soy, then I would assume that they know NOT to take the advice to replace milk with calcium enriched soy/rice milk. I don’t get why you treat eating healthier like it’s going to be deadly, or why you think the OP is so stupid that if they have a health condition that precludes certain foods that they don’t know they should ALSO see a nutritionist and a doctor.

  4. Nothing I said was medical advice… these are changes to food consumption that are largely recommended by the US government for ALL citizens (the exception being replacing carb calories and fiber with other options for fiber and colories).

  5. are you REALLY arguing that giving up candy and soda is DANGEROUS advice to give to somebody? I have a really hard time taking claims like that seriously…

  6. Millions of people choose to change their eating habits every day with zero negative health consequences and with zero consultation with a dietician. You don’t have to go to a doctor to figure out that cheeseburgers, fries, and a milkshake are bad for you no matter what your health state.

Oh, I know the difference. And you are neither. Dating one, doesn’t make you one.

Thank you for the advice so far. The vitamin supplements I take include B12 (300%) and zinc (100%). So as far as those two are concerned, I think I’m covered.

Also as I have pointed out that there are many different foods other than meat that contain those. People always freak out that I don’t eat much meat. My husband and I eat beef maybe once a month, we eat chicken (we eat about half a breast each at a meal), tofu, and sometimes fish on Fridays. People think that you can’t get proper nutrients without a diet heavy with meat. People don’t need meat. They just need to know what foods have the right nutrients.

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