Back in April I made the life choice to become a vegetarian. I did so by reducing the amount of meat I ate each week until the end of April when I finally quit eating meat altogether. I finally did so because I couldn’t stand the thought of animals being abused, neglected, and forced to spend their lives in a crate or confined area, Fast Food Nation certainly helped with this visual! But I also realized that being an environmentalist and a meat-eater was kind of a contradiction. Eating meat contributes to rainforests being cut down, particularly in the Amazon; it’s also a waste of freshwater resources, and contributes to increased greenhouse gases emissions = yikes! I’ve also learned about the different animals that I was consuming and how intelligent they are! Cows grieve, experience stress, and can be happy. Same with chickens and sheep. My dog has these same experiences, and I would never think about eating her, so how could I justify eating a cow or chicken that experiences the same emotions that I do!
This last 3 months have been both a struggle and a blessing. Here’s my small list of Pros and Cons.
-I’ve had to plan and think out more of what I eat
-I don’t always get to participate in family dinners because they contain meat
-Ignorant people asking me where I get my protein from. Trust me there is plenty of other food that has more protein per ounce than meat does!!
-Sometimes it would be nice to have a steak
-I’ve had to spend more time planning my meals and thinking about what goes into my body. (YES, I realize I also listed this as a con, but it’s also a pro too). I spend more time thinking about my food and things I’m consuming. I think I know more about what goes into my body before I became a vegetarian.
-I’ve discovered a ton of new food that I love! Asparagus, zucchini, brussel sprouts, different types of onions, peppers, soy milk, almond milk, and so on. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m more open minded about the foods i’m trying or what, but all the healthy stuff tastes sooooo good lately. I’ve also been cooking food that I may not have thought about before, such as avocado dark chocolate brownies.
-When our family goes out to eat for dinner at place that are dominate by meat (such as Outback) I’ve been able to try new foods that I may not have tried otherwise
-I know i’m making a positive difference and every time I crave a steak I just remember the good thing i’m doing
-I get to educate people on their choices too. For example, my family has not yet moved to the vegetarian side (yet), but they did buy half a cow from a local farmer that only slaughters one cow a month, that’s only 12 cows a year compared to the mass meat and dairy industry! So in my mind, that’s still a huge improvement.
I still have a lot to learn and am still growing, but I still feel like i’m making a positive impact and doing the right thing.