This year, from May 29 to Sept 4--a total of 98 days--I ingested no meat besides the occasional fish.
For the bulk of that time, I didn't really miss the taste of animal, not until the very end. I also inadvertently lost over ten pounds. Ultimately, I learned that I need to listen to my body's nonverbal cues and that a vegetarian diet is not for me. Rather, for this body of mine, at least a little meat is best.
This really all began in the summer of 2008 when I went about 60 days without meat. I found during that time that I ate healthier in general because I had to prepare meals in advance or choose from the veggie menu. I don't know if cutting out meat was the real health-boost, or if it was simply my new conscientiousness about what I put in my mouth.
I resolved to repeat the experiment for a longer duration, not only to increase food awareness, but also to more strictly follow the wording of Doctrine and Covenants 89. In it, the Lord's charge is that we eat meat only in winter or times of famine. I'm not saying it's LDS doctrine to follow this wording to the letter, but in my mind it was worth trying.
And aside from near lapses in memory, it was surprisingly easy to forgo at first. Since meat is expensive, the new diet saved me a bit of money. I supplemented my diet with a lot of beans, peanut butter, eggs, and other protein-rich foods. I rode my bike a lot and worked out in the weight room downstairs in my building. All seemed to be going well and I wondered if I should become a permanent vegetarian.
With only two weeks to go, my cravings wildly kicked in. Evenings often found me spooning peanut butter into my mouth from an open jar. What's more, I started to really crave meat, to feel pangs of jealousy and hunger when a roommate made a delicious meat-tainted meal. It was strange to me that this only occurred as Labor Day approached and not earlier in the summer.
I also started to lose weight. It's not atypical for my weight to drop in the summer as my appetite naturally decreases and outdoor exercise increases. But I lost over ten pounds without really trying. I've gained five back since Labor Day, but for a stick figure such as myself it was worrisome.
So at a cabin in Pennsylvania over Labor Day weekend, I broke my months-long meat fast with a simple turkey sandwich. No fanfare, no averse reaction. In fact, after a few meat-laden meals, I felt healthier than I had in over a month.
Still I don't think I'll ever eat as much meat as I used to. I just don't think it's environmentally sustainable, physically healthy, or in accordance with even a loose interpretation of the Word of Wisdom. But I doubt I'll ever entirely omit meat from my diet either. As with so many other things, I'll stick to the middle road.
I've cut out sugary desserts from my diet now. I guess we'll see how it goes.