Vegetarianism, my history and why I just like salads

I’ve been vegetarian now for 13 weeks, yay!

It has been fairly pain free to me and we’ve easily made chances in our house to make sure we’re not missing anything from cutting our animal intake. I have had a few slip ups where I forgot that gelatin was in some candies, I love candy, so this is a hard thing to let up, hah, but I have found some yummy alternatives, so I’m now a lot more prepared to say no to the office sweets.

We tend to eat a lot of cheese in our house, so going completely plant based will be a step too far for us, right now. When possible I will make the choice to eat more vegan meals but it is cheese that brings me back to non-plant based. Perhaps one day I will make the change over, but for now, I’m content with my choice.

My decision to go vegetarian is 50% environmental, 25% health and 25% animal cruelty. The environmental impact on animal farming is huge and the way some of our environments are crumbling is quite scary. The lack of water in my home country is concerning, and yet a lot of our farms still use practices that require a lot of water to function. I know by reducing what I need from animal farming isn’t going to necessarily be kind to the farmers who live off this kind of farming, but as a society we need to start living more innovatively, and looking at ways we can change our current practices to keep changing consumer demands.

Environmental impact is something I’m definitely going to focus on in 2020, I know that almond milk might not be the best alternative to diary milk, due to the amount of water that is needed to grow almond trees. And avocadoes are also quite taxing on land, so shouldn’t be a staple in diets, it should be a treated as a sometimes food. So literally just cutting meat is not going to be the end of this journey.

My health had always been quite good (I’m touching wood now, hah) other than my arthritis, I don’t get sick too much, and I barely ever take time off work. Back in the days when I worked for social services in Australia, you were rewarded if you had less than 5 sick days a year, I didn’t hit 5 ever over the 7 years I worked for them. So I’ve always been quite good at looking after myself. Something that has changed by eating vegetarian is that the amount of fibre in my diet has increased dramatically and my digestive system feels a lot smoother and better. I am wayyy more regular with bathroom visits and I do not need a coffee kick start. TMI I know, but this is a big chance that I didn’t know about when we did Veganuary last year, and D and I didn’t really know what was happening, I definitely googled it to make sure it was normal, hah. Spoiler it is! And that’s due to increased fibre content in the food we’re eating.

And finally animal cruelty is fairly self-explanatory. No one likes to see an animal go through trauma. We have moved over to cruelty free products for cleaning and personal hygiene, and it’s actually quite easy to do these days, so really there isn’t an excuse not to pick up the cruelty free product over the animal tested product.

Vegetarian before it was a label…

From a little girl I’ve always chosen vegetables over meat, I did eat fruit but in the hierarchy of eating it was veg on top, fruit in the middle, and animal products at the bottom. My mum cooked the meals during the week, and she knew I didn’t like meat, but between us all having different likes and dislikes refused to cook multiple meals so we all ate the same and took our complaints the best way mums know how, “unless you’re cooking, you’ll eat what your given” hah, just kidding, she tried to accommodate our requests as much as possible.

Though when I was in my mid-teens, I really didn’t want to eat meat, and she gave me the task of proving to her I could get everything I needed health wise from vegetables. There was no internet back then, and the only food books I knew of were the recipes books she had, and she had quite a few. One was purely centred on vegetables and I showed her I could get everything I needed from eating plant based. Neither of us knew there was a label for this kind of eating, I just didn’t want to eat meat.

So for a really long time I didn’t eat meat. I ate everything else, but just skipped meat. Even when I moved away to live in Sydney I can’t remember eating a lot of meat, hah I ate pumpkin soup for almost every meal, I loved that sh*t.

This went on even when I moved back home to live with my parents for a period of time. And then I met my first boyfriend and his family were farmers and lived way out west, on a farm with sheep and some crops. He had told them I didn’t eat a lot of meat, and well I guess they didn’t know what that meant, so they served me the biggest plate of spaghetti Bolognese, it was at least 500g of mincemeat, hah, I think I gave my bf a bit of a sad look knowing that I needed to be polite and eat it. So I did, well I ate a small part of it, and that was the end of me not eating meat.

Years went by being a meat eater, and I ate all kinds of varieties, even kangaroo, but then I started to study nutrition at university and I was shocked by the fact that Australians consumed like 44kg of chickens per person per year. Like that’s a crap tone of chicken, no one needs to eat that much, so that pushed right back into tofu and vegetables.

This backwards and forwards with being a vegetarian has lasted through adult hood. I’ll often choose a salad over anything else on the menu, due to the fact I love salads. I do love burgers too, and during the wedding diet D was always cursing me for choosing another salad cos he hates lettuce and at a restaurant he wants to try what I’m eating, hah, he doesn’t want to try lettuce.

So my lack of love for red meat has seen me dabble in what is now labelled as vegetarianism. Who knows how long we’ll stay vegetarian for now, but I know for me it feels right. I don’t miss anything. The way the food industry is moving means people giving up animal products don’t need to feel like they are missing out. And meatless burgers are pretty darn tasty these days.

Have you given up meat?

How did it impact on your life?

Peace out for now

B

Photos by Edgar Castrejon on Unsplash, Jordan Christian on Unsplash, Lefteris kallergis on Unsplash, Free To Use Sounds on Unsplash, Anna Pelzer on Unsplash

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