When I was about 13, I remember eating lunch at Friendly’s with my mom and brothers. I had some kind of bacon supermelt. No, not a BLT, no trying to fool you that you were eating vegetables, it was all about the bacon. Bacon, a slice of tomato, some cheese. The end. When I went to eat it, my little brother started “Oinking” at me. I ran into the bathroom and cried, and didn’t eat any pork at all for years.
I’m pretty sure that’s where it began.
I stopped eating meat in 2007, a year after I married my husband. There was no sharp impetus, just a myriad of events throughout my life like the one mentioned above, that always made me feel a little creepy crawly for eating it. When we were living in Hawaii we went deep sea fishing, when my family came to visit, and that was the final push I needed.
I am not in this picture. I was to the right hiding out behind a van on the dock, not wanting to watch what would happen next.
It was shortly after this that I approached my husband about me not eating meat anymore. He didn’t have a problem with it. As long as I didn’t force it upon him. I didn’t force it, but I didn’t cook any meat, and didn’t have any meat in the house after that. My husband is a great guy, he really is, and he has never ever complained about missing meat at all. He ate meat out of the house, and while he was in Iraq he ate plenty of disgusting things that I don’t even want to know about.
When he came back, I had been vegan for about a year. It was something I felt very strongly about, and talked about a lot. At some point during our numerous phone conversations, he decided he would do it as a 30 day trial. Before the 30 days were up, he just decided to stick with it.
Together, we were vegan until I was pregnant. I am aware that you can have a perfectly healthy vegan pregnancy. Before I was pregnant, it was something I expected, something I wanted, but in less than 12 weeks, it all went out the window. Not only because of cravings, but my husband and I sat down and had a serious discussion about what the best decision for our family would be. And we decided to be vegetarian.
For my own benefit, and for anyone who cares to know, I want to lay out why I am vegetarian. Like most things in life, there are multiple reasons:
First, I am a vegetarian for ethical reasons. I am not going to argue whether or not people are “supposed” to eat animals, but I do think that the way animals used for human consumption are raised is despicable. Everyone has seen the videos (if you haven’t, try here or here), the conditions they live in are horrible, the lives they live are horrible, what they die for, and the way that they do is unnecessary. At the heart of it, that is why I am vegetarian. The other reasons are more happy coincidences.
Second, I am a vegetarian for the environment. I do try to be an environmentally friendly person, although that has grown out of my being vegetarian, rather than the other way around. We put so much energy and resources into creating animal flesh for people to eat; energy that could be going to much more important venues.
Third, I am a vegetarian for my health. Saturated fat and cholesterol come from animal products. Ergo, the fewer you consume, the healthier you will be. Hooray! You’re doing good something good for yourself, while doing something good for someone else. If you are wondering about protein, or vitamins, others have said it before, better than me: Where do you get your protein?, Don’t you need Vitamin B12?
Some questions I get about being vegetarian:
Will Simon be vegetarian? Simon already is a vegetarian. Will he be a vegetarian for the rest of his life? I don’t know. I am raising him in a way that I feel is the best for him. I will teach Simon all about why I don’t believe eating animals is right, but he will be able to make his own decisions, have his own opinions, and I will love him. Because really at the end of the day, I want him to always know that
What about free range meat? Free range meat, is not better. I actually posted about this on my other blog, when talking about Whole Foods. Any demand for meat, is still a demand for meat. Free range meat would not be an option for me. I can appreciate what people who try to buy free range are trying to do, but I personally do not think they’re actually accomplishing much.
Do you feel like a hypocrite? Honestly, every day. Now that I’ve linked to my past blog, you can see that being vegan was something I felt strongly about, and lived completely. Will I ever go back there? I don’t know. In the meantime, I still try to follow a vegan diet as often as I can. We had the best vegan Mac and Cheese recipe ever for dinner tonight. I just can’t label myself that way anymore.
Is your husband vegetarian? Yes, he is. That really surprises people, I guess because he is a fairly large person, and because of his job. He says that he is mainly vegetarian for health reasons. While I’ve never pushed it on him, I think he is mainly vegetarian because I am.
Where do you eat out/buy your food? Vegetarian food is anything other than meat. There is plenty in your grocery store that is not meat, right? I’d say more than 3/4 of the store, in fact. The whole produce section, for example. You definitely learn to cook differently, and that was one of my favorite parts about the switch to vegetarianism. Eating out can be trickier depending on where you are, and even more so with a baby. Incidentally, we eat at Friendly’s a lot! It is very kid friendly, and you can swap out any burger for a vegetarian or vegan option. And they don’t even bat an eyelash when you do. When we were living in Missouri it was a little harder, but there are definitely options at places like Ruby Tuesday, Olive Garden, etc. And there is always pizza.
Since I stopped eating meat, my mom, youngest brother, husband, and best friend have followed suit. I’m really happy to see so many people in my life that I care about making such an influential decision.
I get asked why I am vegetarian fairly often, and while I will answer that it is for ethical reasons, I definitely try to redirect the conversation. I’m working on trying to be less intimidated by other people’s opinions, and on being able to think on my feet. My hopes are that having written it out for the world to read, I’ll have an easier time verbalizing my reasoning when someone asks me to speak it.
*All of these pictures were taken at Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, NY. I took my mom there for a trip last year for her birthday.*
As always, if you have a question I didn’t address, a personal question, something you want to discuss, or a comment about something I wrote, please shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!