Back to news index...

Get Healthy Series: A First Time Vegetarian

Apr 25th, 2016

By: Paul Heintzman, YPAL's Director of Entertainment 





For Lent this year, I wanted to try and challenge myself. In the past, I’ve given up drinking, sodas, chocolate, ice cream, etc., but this year, I wanted to try something that would actually change my diet and my routine. Therefore, I decided to give up meat. Yes, all meat. And it wasn’t easy. Both my father and grandfather worked as butchers, and are therefore, some of the best meat cooks that have ever lived. I’ve grown up on a strict diet of meats, and I love it all: pork, chicken, steak, burgers, bacon, you name it. Again, what I’m trying to say is, giving up meat was a struggle. Every day.

The facts.

So obviously I didn’t try anything new. People have been vegetarian for a long time now. Actually, a little over 7 million Americans observe a vegetarian-based diet. And I’m not talking about pescatarians. Nope, I gave up all meat.

The actual pros of going vegetarian aren’t bad either:

And I’m sure I know what you’re thinking: how did you get enough protein? Well, there are actually a lot of vegetarian options that are packed with heart-healthy proteins. Quinoa, tofu, broccoli, nuts, the list goes on and on. The key is making these ingredients work for you.

How I did it.

Most of the time, it actually wasn’t too difficult. I would start every morning off with two eggs and a fruit smoothie with unsweetened almond milk. If I brought my lunch, it would be simple: peanut butter sandwich, an apple, broccoli, and almonds. Dinner is the time where I tried to get creative. Cooking a substantial meal without meat actually proved to be rather difficult for me. I had to start experimenting with cooking vegetarian meals, and I like to think I became rather good at it.

  • Vegetarian fried rice
  • Vegetarian stir fry
  • Vegetarian burritos
  • Vegetarian fajitas
  • Veggie burgers (that I bought from the store but dressed and cooked myself)
  • Black bean chili

I started realizing how easy it was to cook without meat and still feel full. To be fair, I also made meals for friends who can all assure you that I still cooked pretty well without meat. The key is to just experiment. Find the vegetables / beans / grains / spices you like and start throwing them together. Most of the ingredients for these meals also tend to be pretty cheap, so it won’t break the bank if you mess up. Instead, try to have fun and find what you like. A vegetarian diet won’t work if you force yourself to eat grilled kale with quinoa and tofu on day 1 and expect it to taste like a Dizzy Whiz cheeseburger.

The most difficult time to be a vegetarian came when I had to eat out with others. It always seemed that most restaurants where my friends wanted to eat didn’t have a satisfying vegetarian option. I hated being “that guy” that made going out such a struggle, so I even got in the habit of eating before going out with friends for dinner to avoid being a pain.

What I noticed.

I already consider myself a slim person. At 6’1”, I only weigh 170. I wear the same suits to work every day, and they all fit me just fine. UNTIL I WENT VEGETARIAN. All of my pants and shorts no longer fit from last summer, and many of my suits are just a bit big on me now (thank goodness for belts). While I’m glad I was cutting fat, I don’t think I could contribute this weight loss completely to giving up meat. Instead, the main change came from everything I wasn’t ordering with meat. Instead of ordering the cheeseburger and fries or the meat lovers omelet and home fries, I was opting for a veggie burger with kale chips or a Greek omelet with a side of fruit. Most vegetarian meals tend to be holistically healthier at restaurants, and I even started to order on the healthier side because I started enjoying the taste of healthier options. Once you make a drastic change in your diet out of necessity, other habits start to form as well.

The biggest effect, however, I didn’t notice until I started eating meat again. I get up every morning at 5:30 to take care of my dog, and I had absolutely no trouble getting up that early while I was vegetarian. Once I had switched back to meat, I slept past my alarm four times. I would wake up, turn off my alarm, and somehow fall right back asleep. I also started noticing that I felt even more tired after lunch around 2:30. Meat definitely has been slowing me down.


Overall, going vegetarian proved to be an incredibly beneficial experience. Not only did I sleep better, but I could run farther and lift longer as well. I learned new ways of cooking, and started thinking more critically about what I order at restaurants. Now, a few weeks later, I still eat meat, but I’ve still kept with me a few tenants from a vegetarian lifestyle:

  • You don’t need meat to have a full meal
  • Just because you’re ordering a burger, doesn’t mean you need to order the fries on the side. Instead, get something healthy to compensate
  • Cooking vegetarian is cheap. If you’re on a budget, beans, rice, and veggies are cheap and can make a lot of great meals

About the Series
The YPAL Get Healthy Blog Series, sponsored by Norton Healthcare, will focus on the health and well-being of our Louisville Young Professionals. This blog series will feature various young professional bloggers in our community sharing their stories on health, wellness, nutrition, fitness and healthy lifestyles. Want to write a Get Healthy Blog Post? Email for details! 

comments powered by Disqus
"Great events with great people...always something going on..." James S.
Join Now!

YPAL Website Terms and Conditions of Use

1. Terms

You ("You" or "User") must agree with the following Terms and Conditions of Use and Privacy Policy before accessing, viewing, or using the contents of the Young Professional Association of Louisville's ("YPAL") website (the "Website"). By accessing, viewing, or using the Website or any of the "Materials" contained on or in the Website, you are agreeing to be bound by these Terms and Conditions of Use, all applicable laws and regulations, and agree that you are responsible for compliance with any applicable laws and regulations. If you do not agree with any of these terms, you are prohibited from accessing, viewing, or using the Website or any of the Materials contained on or in the Website. The Materials contained on or in the Website, which include but are not limited to information and software, are protected by applicable intellectual property laws, including without limitation copyright, trademark, and patent laws.

2. Use License

User is granted permission to access, view, and use the Materials contained on or in the Website for personal, non-commercial, transitory viewing only. This is the grant of a non-exclusive, non-transferable, revocable license, not a transfer of title, and thus, you may not:

User's permission to access, view, and use the Website and the Materials contained on or in the Website shall automatically terminate, as well as your membership with YPAL, if you violate any of these restrictions. Moreover, YPAL may terminate your access, viewing, or use of the Website and/or the Materials contained on or in the Website, as well as your membership with YPAL, at any time, with or without cause. Upon terminating User's access to, viewing of, and use of the Website and/or the Materials contained on or in the Website, or your membership with YPAL, you must destroy any Materials in your possession whether in electronic or printed format.

3. Account

User shall provide truthful, accurate, complete, and non-misleading information to YPAL for all purposes, including, without limitation, membership, using, accessing, or viewing the Website or the Materials contained on or in the Website, or setting up an account in connection with the Website. In the event any User information is no longer truthful, accurate, complete, and not misleading User shall promptly update, in a manner known to YPAL, User's information so that it becomes truthful, accurate, complete, and not misleading. User may create a user name and password in order to create and account to use, access, and/or view the Website and the Materials contained on or in the Website. It is and remains User's sole responsibility to protect User's account and user name and password from unauthorized access and keep them confidential. User shall not provide User's user name and/or password to any third party for any purpose. User agrees to promptly notify YPAL if User suspects or discovers any unauthorized access to or unauthorized activity arising from, related to, or connected with User's account or user name and/or password. User is solely responsible for any actions taken by User with respect to User's account as well as actions taken by any person or entity User authorizes to access or use User's account. User shall be liable for any activity that takes place on User's account or through the use of User's user name and/or password, whether authorized or unauthorized.

4. Disclaimer

The Website and the Materials contained on or in the Website are provided "as is". YPAL makes no warranties, expressed or implied, and hereby disclaims and negates all other warranties, including without limitation, implied warranties or conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, or non-infringement of intellectual property or other violation of rights. Further, YPAL does not warrant or make any representations concerning the completeness, accuracy, likely results, or reliability of the Website, the Materials contained on or in the Website, the use thereof, or otherwise relating to such Materials or on any sites linked to the Website. User's exclusive remedy shall be to terminate this agreement.

5. Limitations

In no event shall YPAL or its representatives, employees, vendors, or suppliers be liable for any damages (including, without limitation, damages for loss of data or profit, or due to business interruption) arising out of the access to, viewing of, use of, misuse of or inability to use the Website and/or the Materials contained on or in the Website.

6. Revisions and Errata

The Materials appearing on the Website could include technical, typographical, photographic, or other errors. Although YPAL makes its best efforts to include and provide accurate and updated information and data on the Website, YPAL does not warrant that any of the Materials on the Website are accurate, complete, or current. YPAL may make changes to the Materials contained on or in the Website at any time without notice.

7. Links

YPAL has not reviewed all of the sites linked to the Website and is not responsible for the contents of any such linked site. Unless explicitly stated otherwise on the Website in regard to a specific sponsor, company or organization, the inclusion of any link on the Website does not imply endorsement by YPAL. Use of any such linked website is at the User's own risk.

8. Site Terms of Use Modifications

YPAL may revise its Terms and Conditions of Use for the Website at any time without notice. By accessing, viewing, or using the Website or any of the Materials contained on or in the Website, you are agreeing to be bound by the then current version of the Terms and Conditions of Use.

9. Monitoring

YPAL may, at its sole discretion, monitor and review User's access to, viewing of, or use of the Website and/or the Materials contained on or in the Website, but YPAL is under no obligation to do so.

10. Indemnification

User agrees to indemnify, defend, and hold YPAL harmless against any and all claims, actions, judgments, damages, or losses, including, without limitation, direct, indirect, incidental, special, consequential, exemplary, and punitive damages, of whatever nature, as well as attorneys' fees, that arise from, are related to, or are connected with, User's access to, viewing of, or use of the Website or the Materials contained on or in the Website, any breach of these Terms and Conditions of Use, or any violation by User of any right of any third party.

11. Remedies

User understands and agrees that any breach of this Agreement by User will result in immediate and irreparable injury to YPAL in an amount that is difficult to ascertain; therefore, YPAL shall be entitled to proceed directly to court to obtain the remedies of specific performance and injunctive relief without the necessity of posting a bond or other undertakings therewith. YPAL's right to seek specific performance and injunctive relief is in addition to all other remedies otherwise available to YPAL, including, without limitation, recovering from User for damages and reasonable attorney's fees incurred during YPAL's enforcement of the Terms and Conditions of Use or any part thereof. All of YPAL's remedies for any breach of this Terms and Conditions of Use shall be cumulative and the pursuit of one remedy shall not be deemed to exclude any other remedies.

12. Governing Law

Any claim relating to the Website shall be governed by the laws of the Commonwealth of Kentucky without regard to its conflict of law rules or principals.

13. Refund Policy

YPAL's general policy is that there are no refunds for a member or non-member registration for any YPAL event or any other purchase/sale/transaction made involving a YPAL event and/or through YPAL's website.

14. Communication

By providing your information when signing up to join YPAL as a member, you are consenting to the use of your email address for the purpose of receiving promotional emails and email announcements from YPAL. If you wish to stop receiving these emails, you must opt-out by clicking on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of all email communications from YPAL. You also may opt-out by contacting with the subject “UNSUBSCRIBE” from the email you wish to unsubscribe.

YPAL Website Privacy Notice

Your privacy is very important to us. Accordingly, Young Professional Association of Louisville's ("YPAL") has developed this privacy notice in order for you to understand how we collect, use, communicate, disclose and make use of personal information ("Website Privacy Notice").

By agreeing to the Website Privacy Notice, you consent, understand and agree that YPAL can and may collect personal information for purposes of its membership database or other purposes necessary for its activities.

  1. Personal data should be relevant to the purposes for which it is to be used, and, to the extent necessary for those purposes, should be accurate, complete, and up-to-date.
  2. YPAL will protect personal information by reasonable security safeguards against loss or theft, as well as unauthorized access, disclosure, copying, use or modification. While YPAL will make reasonable efforts to ensure the integrity and security of our network and systems, we cannot guarantee against all risks, including, but not limited to the risk of third-party "hackers."
  3. YPAL will make readily available to customers information about its policies and practices relating to the management of personal information.
  4. YPAL does not seek or knowingly collect the personal information of children, nor are any portions of this website directed at children.
  5. If you have questions or concerns about YPAL's Website Privacy policies and practices, please contact us.
    Attention: Website Privacy Inquiries
    614 W Main St #6000
    Louisville, KY 40202
    Telephone: 502-625-0017
  6. YPAL reserves the right to revise, amend, or modify this policy at any time and in any manner. When we change the policy in a material way a notice will be posted on our Website along with the updated privacy notice. Your use of our Website and any other services provided by YPAL after such changes are implemented constitutes your acknowledgement and acceptance of these changes. Please consult this Website Privacy Notice prior to every use for any changes.

YPAL WebsiteTerms of UsePrivacy Policy Notice