Thursday, October 28, 2010

Being a veggie who doesn't like veggies much

Did you know that October is Vegetarian awareness month? Did you know that i'm a vegetarian? Probably not, because i don't really talk about it here. i'm a fairly new vegetarian and i've been thinking about sharing my story for a while, but it's obviously a controversial issue and i try to steer away from those kind of subjects here. i've had this post sat in my drafts all month long wondering whether to share my views or not, but, Elycia is trying to encourage vegetarianism and it's prompted me to share my thoughts on the matter. Check out her blog for info on how to get involved and read her story (even if you're not interested in veggie stuff her blog is worth a looksie as it's very lovely). It is something i am passionate about so i'll try and share my reasons for choosing to be veggie without trying to be to preachy.

i'd been vaguely considering turning vegetarian for many years before i took the plunge. i have never been a big meat eater, i simply don't like it. Beef and lamb have barely ever been in my diet.i hav e always been a fussy eater, so going veggie was going to be tricky. After my round the world trip in 07/08 though my food choices broadened somewhat, i fell in love with asian food in particular and i discovered tofu. i can't remember how or why i started to incorporate quorn into my diet (i think it might have something to do with my sweet veggie friend Katty B), but i've been eating the chicken and mince alternatives for a couple of years now. 

Up until July of this year i'd been living with my mum for the last 4 years. She was in control of the majority of the food that was bought and the meals that were cooked, so i didn't feel that i could go veggie as it would be imposing on her. At the beginning of the year i was watching an episode of Miami Ink which featured an elderly lady, she was in her late 80's but full of life and very healthy. When asked for tips on how to live such a long life she advised them to stop eating meat. That kind of played on my mind. i spent a stint in hospital last year due to ill health and it's made me more aware that i need to be putting more good stuff into my body and less bad stuff.

In May i decided that the day i moved out (which would be the 1st of July)  i would go vegetarian. It was a fresh start and there was no need for me to ever get in the habit of buying or cooking with meat. So i started to look into the positives and negatives. Kara mentioned Eating Animals on her blog and Elycia also recommended it to me so i got myself a copy and started to read my way through it. i got through about 20 pages before deciding i could never eat meat again. It terrified me! This is not an easy read, but if you are interested in what is going into your body and the journey that meat goes through before it lands on your plate then it is well worth it. Every time i pick up the book or watch something like Food inc. it just reconfirms that i made the right decision. So, i never had a final meat meal or anything like that, i can't even remember when the last time i ate meat was, i just stopped.

i have several reasons for being a vegetarian, ethical, health and economical. The livestock industry produces more CO2 emissions then the entire transport industry (yes that's planes, trains, boats, cars and any other transport you can think of!) and this is a massive concern to me.  Life being a veggie so far has been good, i'm feeling so much healthier, it's cheaper and i'm very happy with my decision, proud actually. i've also tried to extend my meat free choices to the beauty products that i buy, i always check the packaging now, & shoes/bags/belts too. i am not however, a vegan. i'm still incorporating dairy products into my diet. Obviously i realise that the dairy industry also has it's negatives, but i don't think i could cope without cheese, chocolate or milkshake! If you can, then you're my hero. i do try to be responsible about who i buy from, for example i tend to get happy eggs. i'm trying to do my bit but i feel that i can only take it so far. Trying to consider other foods that might contain animal products is also tricky, there are sooooo many! Luckily the packaging in the UK is pretty good so i always check the packets if i'm in doubt.

Cutting animal products out of my diet has forced me to try new foods, something that i've never been any good at. i can't say i like everything i try, but at least i am giving it a go and this is a huge step for me. i've found new ways to incorporate vegetables into my meals so i can't taste them and i've found i prefer it when i steam them. Soups are a good way to get lots of veg in for me as i can blend them. And looking at incorporating lentils, chickpeas and beans into my diet is something new i'm trying at the moment as they count towards your 5 a day too. It's all about what works for you. Fruit is even more of a struggle for me to eat, i can't stand the texture. i eat some types of berries but that's about all so i have to get by with smoothies and juices. 

Sometimes i feel like i am being awkward if i go to a friends house for dinner, but people are generally accepting of it and will do their best to accommodate. Eating out is limiting, there are often only a few veggie choices on the menu and sometimes only one! 

Because i have been eating less and less meat over the years and i never really liked it anyway, i didn't anticipate missing meat. i thought it would be easy and for the most part it is, i've adjusted very well to it.  i'll occasionally get a hankering for a hot dog, because i really loved hot dogs. But i'll just think about what awful stuff goes into those things and i won't really want it so much any more. About 4 months into my new veggie lifestyle, i came across my first stumbling block. i had originally decided when i chose to stop eating meat that i would continue to eat prawn and crab. Then i read about bycatch and this made me reconsider, so i haven't been eating them. However, i found my first trip to a sushi bar really really hard! My flatmate keeps telling me that vegetarianism isn't a religion and so i can make up my own rules, but i feel like if i'm going to do this i want to do it properly. i really feel like i might cave on the prawns though as really enjoy them. 

So what's the point in me telling you all this? Well i was hoping it might get you to re-think your food choices. i realise that being a vegetarian is not an option that a lot of people want to consider. But how about going one day a week without meat? Meat Free Mondays is a site dedicated to helping people do just this. You probably already eat a lot of meat free meals already!

Feel free to ask any questions in the comments, i'd be more then happy to answer them. And i hope you don't mind me interrupting my usual posts!


melissa said...

I find that going to friends and families houses for dinner is the hardest part. I don't want to be a burden and cooking veggie can be intimidating to non-vegetarians.

I've enlisted one meat free night a week in our house and much to my surprise, my meatatarian boyfriend doesn't mind.

Thanks for spreading the word!

Anonymous said...

I loved this post!!
I've recently decided to go Veggie myself! We should exchange some recipies!
I'll email you a great site to check out!

Keshet said...

Very interesting post! I'm not vegetarian, but I only meat on the Sabbath generally, so 90% of our meals are non-meat (since we keep kosher, a non-meat meal literally has NO meat, not even chicken stock, and was cooked in a pan that never had meat in it). Keeping kosher is another dietary restraint that I took on when I left home, and even though it makes life more complicated sometimes, I love living (and eating) what I believe. Never looked back!

elycia said...

this was a great post! thank you so much for participating and posting your story. you included a lot of great info for anyone thinking of going veg :)


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