Five years ago, today, I became a vegetarian. I’ve always loved celebrating my anniversary each year, and now that I’ve reached five years, it feels so official!
Valentines Day of 2008, I made a seafood pasta, and I had no idea it would be the last meat I’d eat. The next day, there was a huge meat recall in the US, and after seeing the horrific images on the news, I stubbornly swore off meat. About a week later, I realized that my newly adopted vegetarian lifestyle had basically cured my lifelong stomach issues. For as long as I could remember (and getting really bad in middle school), I had issues that mimicked IBS. After trips to specialists, tests for IBS, lactose intolerance, Crohn’s, Celiacs, etc., there was no diagnosis. I just had an awful digestive system. It was embarrassing, painful, annoying … I could go on and on. So, when I realized that my stomach was suddenly feeling amazing, I decided I’d stick with the new food choices.
Fives years later, I am so proud to be a vegetarian. My choice was originally based around disgust for the modern meat processing industry, but it’s evolved into sticking with my choice because of animal rights. I’ve struggled between vegetarianism and veganism, but for now, I love where I am. I love animals so much, and I am one of those ‘weirdos’ who thinks they have souls. It would break my heart to know that I am eating a living being … I am also very excited that we’ll be passing this kind way of eating onto our future babies. Of course, they’ll eventually be able to decide for themselves … but in the beginning, we’ll nourish them with plants!
This milestone seems like even more of an accomplishment because of the shit you have to deal with when being a vegetarian. Suddenly, everyone else thinks they know what’s best for you. People cannot believe I live without bacon. They insist I must be missing vital nutrients (don’t get me started on the ‘how do you get your protein’ topic). People say it’s too hard. They couldn’t ‘just eat salad’. The truth is, I really liked meat before becoming a vegetarian. I love food in general, and Jimmy and I have always enjoyed cooking at home. But this doesn’t come down to what I like and don’t like. It comes down to a choice I made. I chose to eat more consciously. I decided that a hotdog … or bacon … or chicken sandwich (while tasty) is not worth an animal dying for. I’m not the type to preach about my beliefs, but it has definitely irked me at times that people are so against this lifestyle.
I hope that in the next five years, popular culture becomes more open to vegetarian eating. Last year, the USDA suggested Meatless Mondays, but immediately revoked the statement after the meat industry went crazy about it. To me, it’s like blind eating. You’ll shovel anything into your body if the food industry labels it as food. For me, that’s not okay. I also not so secretly hope that Jimmy will become a vegetarian in the next five years … He eats a vegetarian diet about 80% of the time, but I’ve always dreamed of the day he decides to become a real vegetarian.
This post has turned into a brain dumb, so I’ll wrap it up. Basically, I am proud of myself for sticking with something for five years. It’s truly changed my life, and I am so happy to have made the choice.