Vegetarian New to Whole30

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I'm about to start my first round of Whole30 tomorrow and I'm a bit nervous. After reading the book and talking in depth with a friend who swears by this program I'm considering giving up my vegetarian lifestyle to try the program. I've been researching for about a week and my start date is tomorrow, January 29th, but I still haven't decided if I can take the plunge eating meat again. I know there are "options" for vegetarians that somewhat follow the guidelines, but the support article didn't make me feel warm and fuzzy about attempting the Whole30 as a vegetarian. I feel like I may miss out on the benefits that are being described and if at the end of the 30 days I'm more or less the same I know I will automatically blame my vegetarianism for my shortcomings. On top of it, I am not a huge fish fan at all so getting my protein only from eggs would get old really quick.


I'm going to peruse the vegetarian support forum one last time before I go grocery shopping for all of this meat. :( I do really wish I could start this program on a more positive note. I keep telling myself that it's only 30 days and if I don't have an adverse reaction to my vegetarian staples during the reintroduction phase then I can switch back to being anti meat.

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  • Whole30 Certified Coach

Hi, VLF! 

I was struck by your post and how INCREDIBLY open-minded you sound. In the world of food, people are often all in in one camp or another, and that doesn't always best serve people. If I read your post correctly, you do eat some animal products (eggs?) and you are looking for "the benefits that are being described," and the big question for you is will you have the same benefits while keeping to your vegetarian ways? The short answer is: most likely, you will not. And that is because meat is more nutrient dense (bioavailable nutrients) and satiating than plant foods. That being said, can you do a vegetarian Whole30 and gain benefit? FOR SURE! 

The questions I want to ask: why have you chosen a vegetarian way of eating? How has it worked for you? What specific benefits are you looking for by doing a Whole30 (your why)?  

Whatever you decide, you sound like the kind of person who is well prepared and thoughtful and ready for this "self experiment." :)

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@W30CoachAmyLouton I have been on and off a vegetarian for over half of my life now. I'm largely against factory farming and have been trying to do my small part. Typically when i'm taking a "break" from being a vegetarian, I usually only eat meat at restaurants. Not including my Whole30 meal prep, i've probably purchased meat from the grocery store for my self less than 5 times.

On that note, yes I do eat eggs. If we're using specific titles I guess i'd be an ovo-pescatarian, since I do eat eggs (local backyard flocks only) and occasionally fish. My food preferences worked great for me when I was younger, it was very balanced and disciplined. Fortunately/unfortunately vegetarianism and veganism has gained momentum and that has introduced so many tasty meat alternative options, but as we all know that doesn't make them healthy. Over the past few years I've been gravitating towards the "junk" vegetarian foods, not to mention my amazing creativity ordering vegetarian-friendly fast food. I also have a gifted ability to devour bags of chips in a blink of an eye. :unsure:

So mostly the above mentioned reasons are why I am okay switching over to animal protein for the Whole30 (or maybe 60 or 90). I've had health problems most of my life (even before the vegetarianism), but I'm hoping this will give me some clarity and confidence with a cleaned up diet designed specifically for my body once the program is over.

@littleyellowdiary I had so much sticker shock when I put together my first whole30 grocery order!!! I initially wanted to follow the first week's meal plan from the book, but I literally could not afford it ($200 for one adult vs. $80 for 2 adults and child) so I had an deep discussion with my friend who convinced me to give whole30 a try. She encouraged me to just follow the meal template and head over the the grocery store and get whatever was on sale and build a meal from there. So far it's worked! I'm closing out on day two and I'm good so far. I have an amazing winter farmer's market near me so the next time it comes around and I have a bit of expendable cash I'm hoping to talk a local farmer into a bulk purchase of some sorts. Since I am traditionally a vegetarian I don't necessarily know what I'm missing if I don't get the absolute best cuts of meat so I'm hoping that might help with negotiating an arrangement that works for everyone.

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