I have been vegetarian for about 8 years now. Most people make their way to it by realizing that their food once was able to blink and breathe. Me, however — my path to not eating meat was through a boy. A really handsome boy that I was with for 8 years.
His choice was made out of honor for his mother who refused to eat meat for religious and humane purposes. I never met her, but from everything he told me about her, I would want to honor her amazing selflessness, too.
Now, he didn’t force it on me. I still ate chicken and steak in front him while he ate a side of peas or salad or soup. We lived in a very rural area at the time with less veggie friendly eating options. Even salads were hard to find without meat or with more than just lettuce and tomatoes. When he came over to eat with my family — all meat eating lovers — we would go out of our to have something more than mashed potatoes for him. And unfortunately, it wasn’t always more than pasta.
It was difficult to make two separate meals. I decided to cut out most meat — well, all meat originally — but it was hard for me to give up chicken. For a year and a half, I struggled. I would be golden for a week or two or three and then boom! Chicken! Lucky for me there is fake meat that was ultimately how I was able to make the full transition.
All together, it took me about a full year to convert and to commit. The sole reason of “because it’s a headache to make two meals” wasn’t enough to motivate me. So realizing that most people who go vegetarian and vegan do so because of PETA and animal rights, I did what any 15 year old girl in love did… watched slaughter house videos.
PETA had a ton of undercover and documentary footage. Yucky! All of it! It made me sad. The first night after watching a slew of slaughter on Youtube, we sat down for dinner with my parents. They had made chicken. The nerve!
And I ate it.
Yep, still took a few more nights of reading and watching about animal rights. How it eventually connected to me is even though I am only one person that is one person less in the massive population. Even more so, I didn’t want to eat a chicken while it was among the living, so why would I want to eat its dead body? (Most of my friend’s replies: BECAUSE ITS YUMMY!)
Later, I would come to find out about even more health benefits for going vegetarian. Even though, I’m still overweight, I do feel like vegetarianism has kept me at a fairly steady weight.
What has NOT served me is that I have to take vitamins, and I’m terrible at remembering. I believe I once forgot to take them for about 4 years! But I digress, it is no one’s fault but my own. This is what happens when I’m not living consciously.
I want to be a better vegetarian. This means researching what vitamins and minerals I need to supplement in my diet. Right now, I take 8, and I’m still weak, light headed, and irritable. It also means branching outside of my normal eating habits and… dare I say… learn to cook something other than pouring cereal into a bowl.
We’ll see how this goes.