March marked my 2 year vegetarian anniversary, or as I so endearingly call it my veggieversary. How exciting! I feel so empowered over the social misperception that eating meat is necessary for a healthy diet. I feel like I have evolved to a level of consciousness that is only understood amongst other vegetarians and, moreso by, vegans. I feel…GREAT! I am not turning back. Vegetarianism suits me and my lifestyle so there is no need for me to take up eating meat anymore.
So you want to go veg, but you are not quite sure how to transition. Follow my story in this series of blogs.
Two years ago I put down meat!
I was standing in the kitchen with my father discussing the latest news. I saw a report about animal abuse on a farm that sickened me beyond belief. Cows were walking on their forefeet and hardly able to hold their own weight. “Dad, how could people be so cruel? And we are eating that!” I was blown away at how people could be so mean to other living beings. God’s creatures!
That particular night I was cooking spaghetti for my family. Looking at the meat literally made me sick and I could not stand it. So, instead of pouring all the tomato sauce into the meat mixture I reserved some on the side for myself. That was the beginning of my stand!
At first, I only eat chicken and fish, excluding all other meats from my diet. But then, I thought, “chicken and fish are also animals. What makes them different from cow or pig meat?” I was not fully persuaded until I read about chicken and fish farms on www.goveg.com. Again, the abuse continued and my stomach turned. On top of that, I learned that animals are injected with extra hormones to make them grow big and fast because the quick pace American public cannot take a few seconds to slow down and cook and eat properly. (I’m guilty of that sometimes.) But the farming industry has to make a profit, and that profit does not come from slow grown, small herds. So, I made the plunge into full vegetarianism!
I quickly roamed the stacks of my local library to find out all that I could about this new diet. The very first book I checked out was The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Vegetarianism. I read that book with the usual commitment that I have when I decide upon a thing. I totally suggest that you pick it up, as it breaks down the entirity of the vegetarian lifestyle. It even spoke on my personal anxiety of revealing to my meat-eaters that I am, in fact, a full pledged vegetarian. Basically, The Idiot’s Guide suggests that you take the high road. There is no need to proclaim over a loud speaker that your diet is different. This, in deed, makes you a self-righteous individual that no one would want to deal with. So consider being nice. In fact, say nothing. I allow people the figure it out for themselves.
I always tell the story of when I went out with my brother during the first few months of my transition. We went to a not-so-veggie-friendly resturant. I had my personal reserves about going because I knew that finding something to eat from the menu would be hard to do. I mean, even the salad had meat in it. So I resolved that I would just order some side dishes and be done with it. My brother, on the other hand, took one look at the menu, looked at me and said with big watery puppy eyes, “Jaz, what are you gonna eat?” He felt so bad. And I felt bad for him. But as soon as he said that everybody at the table look at me and said, “Are you a vegetarian?” I bashfully hid my head in my menu. This incident just helped me to stand firm in my choice because at that moment I knew that I would not be standing alone, I had my meat-eaters to stand with me! From then on, my family has gone out of their way to ensure that I have a meal. So when taking your stand, allow others to form their own opinions before you give them one. Besides a radical vegetarian/vegan is somewhat of a oxymoron as our diet represents meekness toward ALL of God’s creatures.
Stay tuned for my next blog about my tranistion into vegetarianism:
Vegetarinism: Not Just About the Animals!