In March, I went vegetarian in and have spent the past few months trying to figure out how to best balance that with a busy and active (as a college athlete/runner) lifestyle, while using what I’ve learned in the past year about refined sugars and other aspects of nutrition.

Vegetarianism is a journey to a healthier eating style and lifestyle that I’ve chosen to embark on and share with you, but by no means is my way perfect, or even something that I’m saying you should adapt. You should do what’s right for you; everyone’s bodies are different and beautiful.

Right before summer, I tried to switch to a more plant-based diet overall, embracing lots of vegan foods and recipes and trying to read labels and menus more closely. I realized how many of the foods I was eating were practically swimming in extra butters, oils, sugars, salts, and more things that I just didn’t want to eat if I could avoid it.

As you may have heard before, the general clean eating guideline is 80% “clean” with 20% wiggle room. I don’t love the terminology of clean vs. dirty foods, but there are definitely foods that have a lot more nutritional value (such as “superfoods”) than others. As I cut out some of these additives that I had been unwittingly filling my plates with before, I started filling my plate with more whole foods instead. I felt GREAT initially! Being vegetarian really agreed with me.

4 Deliciously Healthy Foods to try this FallHowever, after feeling sort of sluggish lately (a fact I attributed to naturally waking up at the crack of dawn), I watched one of videos, where she talks about eating 6 small meals a day, 300-400 calories each. I eat 6 small meals a day, so, out of curiosity, I decided to count up the number of calories in some of my recent meals, and I discovered that I was NOT getting enough.

My biggest mistake was that I filled up my plate with the same volume of veggies and whole foods as the processed foods I’d been used to eating. But veggies (and whole foods) are so much lower in calories. So, I learned that I need to eat more of them to get the amount of calories that I need – especially considering the calories burned with my workouts.

I don’t want to always monitor calories, but for now I’ve been trying to count a little bit to make sure that I get enough to fuel my body because #gains and #eattogrow, you feel me, #fitfam? #healthynotskinny is where it’s at, and I’ve been feeling much more energized lately. YAAY!

So if you’re changing up your diet, my advice to you is to pay attention to energy levels and overall health, do as much research as possible, and also consult a professional if you want to make sure that you’re properly fueling your body. It’s really incredible what our bodies (and food) let us accomplish when we treat them right. Our habits can let us make the most of every day and out of our lives, and that is pretty damn cool. Now, go forth and have a lovely evening!

About The Author

Kate is a junior at Brandeis University, where she hopes to create her own major in Human Development, Media, and Communications, as she loves to read and act and get to know about people and their stories in many different ways! She has been running since the age of 9 and has always loved being outdoors and trying new things and being active! She also loves cooking and finding fun and delicious alternatives that prove that healthy isn't boring! Her main goal every day and in life is to make people smile :)

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