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JBLM spouses’ Diet Shift Changes Her Life

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These days we live in a world where dietary restrictions are the norm. Whether going gluten free for health reasons or adapting to a vegetarian/vegan/raw diet for personal ones, it is easy to come across an individual forgoing certain foods. Army spouse Brittne Elliot-Hilde knows this all too well, stating that physical symptoms catapulted her into vegetarianism, and even a brief period with veganism during high school. "I used to have horrible stomach aches growing up, and the day I stopped eating meat was when the stomach pains went away. I never really enjoyed the taste of meat, only eating for the convenience anyways. [Since cutting out meat] I feel much healthier without it but I think everyone's body is designed differently and some people need meat."

The symptoms that Elliot-Hilde was experiencing can be quite common. A simple search on the internet shows forums dedicated to the correlation between meat and stomach pain, with results ranging from an individual having several possible digestive conditions, such as intolerance to meat or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Though one should typically go to a doctor, it is possible to feel better by cutting meat out of one's diet. When your body ingests meat, enzymes help break down protein - but the lack of enzymes would mean that the proteins are not properly broken down, resulting undigested meat. This then causes numerous ‘side effects' such as gas, bloating, or stomach pain. Not only can cutting meat from a diet benefit an individual physically, but also mentally as well. In a recent study conducted by Nutrition Journal, two groups of subjects underwent a test in which one group withheld from eating meat, while the other consumed meat on a regular basis during the two week study. Results indicated that the group that stopped eating meat scored better than meat eaters on questionnaires and Depression, Stress and Anxiety scales.

Though the challenge of cutting meat out of a diet can sound like a huge challenge, Elliot-Hilde has found a comfortable medium while cooking at home, stating that while she is a vegetarian, and she does cook meat for her family. "I'm fortunate because my husband will eat ‘mock' meat and tofu products, and I will be feeding poultry and fish to my son until he is old enough to decide if he wants to eat other meats." Tofu can be usually be found in the refrigerated section of your local grocer's produce aisle, while ‘mock' meat can be found in the deep freeze aisles. Cookbooks can also help steer you in the right direction, "my favorite have been Vegetarian by Nicola Graimes and 365 Easy Vegetarian Recipes by Sally Hunt, states Elliot-Hilde. Eating at restaurants does not have to be a challenge either, and websites like will help you narrow down your search to vegetarian friendly restaurants in the area, such as Tofu Hut in Lacey or Quickie Too in Tacoma.

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