Monday, February 18, 2013

I Eat Veggies

So, I'm a vegetarian. 
For me, that means no meat - beef, fish, poultry, seafood, etc. But I still eat some animal products like honey, cheese, and eggs. I've posted a few vegetarian recipes here, so I wanted to talk about the reasons behind my decision; and often, when people find out I'm a vegetarian, they ask but why? so I thought you may be wondering the same.

I became a vegetarian for a few reasons:
To give you the full story, I have to back up a bit. I've never been a huge fan of meat. Growing up, I mostly ate cereal or poptarts (no shame!) for breakfast and PB&J for lunch. At dinner, my parents' rule required me to take a small portion (usually like six bites worth) of everything served that night - ham, rice, salad, and carrots, for example - and then I could have seconds of whatever. I'd eat my first round and then go back for more of the "side" dishes and skip the meat. When my dad made cheeseburgers, mine would be mini-size and sometimes I still couldn't finish it (perfect teasing fodder for my brothers - hah). 

Then I moved out. My skimp-on-the-meat trend continued and I started trying to eat a little healthier - more whole grains and fresh produce. When I started "going green" and analyzing my lifestyle, I switched to free-range and organic meat, which is about triple the price of conventional meat in my area, causing me to reduce my meat consumption further (spending $15 on three pounds of chicken sucks).

Fast forward to last year when my husband signed up for a free month-long trial of Amazon Prime. I took advantage of it by watching several food documentaries that ultimately convinced me to take my meat-free habits full-time:  Forks Over Knives, Vegucated, and Food, Inc. Before, I had read about factory farms and how damaging it is to the environment but the video footage really shook me. I love animals! How could I transport spiders safely out of my house (I've never been able to kill things - bugs or otherwise) and then sit down to a chicken dinner? It didn't feel right to me. These movies make for a depressing day-long marathon - but the information is important. I haven't eaten meat since.

And I feel fabulous. No better reason than that, right? There's no guarantee you'll become healthier by eating vegetarian - you could munch Teddy Grahams and potato chips all day. I just know I feel lighter (but still full) after a vegetarian meal and I seem to have more energy after eating rather than entering a lazy food-coma. I won't promise I'll never eat meat again, but this decision feels best for me right now :)

I'm curious - what do you eat? Would you ever consider becoming vegetarian?

14 comments:

  1. I don't think I could do it! Kudos to you!! I could maybe, maybe cut out red meat, but I don't think I would be able to not have chicken and fish. I would probably be the one who eats chips and Teddy Grahams all day =(

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    1. Thank you for the kind words:)

      You wouldn't be alone, haha - resisting Teddy Grahams is tough!

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  2. I was a vegetarian for 20 years, but finally had to give it up because my food allergies have gotten to the point that it was just too difficult. It's hard to be a vegetarian when you can't eat most nuts, or seeds, or soy, or most legumes and are lactose intolerant! I still don't eat that much meat, but having a serving or two of chicken each week has made vast improvements in my health!

    Anyhow, I'm glad it's working for you, and hopefully you'll never have to deal with the sorts of dietary restrictions that I have! I really miss my BBQ tofu!

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    1. That sucks! I'm not sure I could live without peanut butter ;)

      I completely understand why you started eating chicken again, though - gotta listen to your body!

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  3. I love this post :) I was a vegetarian (actually a pescatarian since I still ate sushi!)for about 3 years, beginning in grad school. I am also not a huge meat eater and I feel awesome when I exclude all meat from my diet. I stopped being a full-blown veg because I felt my friends would judge me if, for some random reason, I did eventually want to enjoy a hamburger or piece of chicken. So, although I am still 85% veg, I just don't title it!

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    1. I hear ya! I've only been full time veg for about 5 months, so I definitely don't want to sound like I'm an expert or will always skip meat. The true test comes this summer when I have to decline shrimp fresh off the grill . .

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  4. I've been a vegetarian for 25 years, with a year of being vegan mixed in there, and pescatarian and bacon-tarian tendencies! My sister is a vegetarian also, and she was like you as a child. She didn't like meat and had to be bribed with mashed potatoes after eating pot roast. I was a dedicated carnivore as a girl and my Texan grandfather never got over that I stopped eating meat.

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    1. Yes! Makes me feel less weird to hear your sister was the same way :) If I couldn't get my required meat down, I would mix bits of meat in with my mashed potatoes, rice, veggies, etc. to mask the texture.

      My dad doesn't quite know what to make of me, either . .

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  5. I've noticed that "full but not heavy" feeling after eating vegetarian meals rather than meat based ones.

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    1. That's the perfect way to describe it!

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  6. Love this post! I only wish I had the willpower to go vegetarian, cold turkey (horrible phrasing, LOL). I was raised in very much a "meat and potatoes" vein. My husband and I are slowly but surely adding more vegetarian meals to our diets, but it's difficult for me to maintain my energy level while nursing our almost-8-month-old without some sort of meat/additional protein source lately. I'm sure that we'll be passing our *borderline insane* love of animals on to our son, so it's only a matter of time before we take a leap into that world. I hate to impose dietary restrictions on family and friends (for the rare times we visit), so we'll see what variation of vegetarian we'll be. ;-)

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    1. I understand, you have to listen to your body!

      Yeah, I didn't want to impose my food choices on anyone when I made the switch, so I made a point of telling my parents/in-laws/friends they didn't have to feel obligated to make a special meal for me - and I just fill up on sides :)

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  7. My wife went vegan a few years back for health reasons -- mainly allergies to eggs, cheese, and milk. But she dropped the meat after reading books and viewing documentaries similar to the ones you mentioned.

    On top of that she is allergic to soy which makes things challenging. She ends up cooking most of her food at home from scratch.

    I'm like you -- I was never much of a meat eater throughout my life, so I decided to just give it all up when my wife chose the vegan path.

    Does your husband follow a vegetarian diet too? I've found it's been much easier to move forward as a team than if we were trying to change our food habits independently of each other.

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    1. Wow, eating must be tricky with all those allergies. I'd stick to cooking at home too - probably less of a headache!

      I'm the chef in our house, so my husband eats vegetarian meals with me most nights. But he usually orders a main course with meat when we go out to eat and he usually eats some meat at lunchtime since we eat lunch separately (we both eat at work). He completely supports my decision though, and we're happy with this compromise :)

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