My veggie journey
When I was younger I went through the, “I’m going to be a vegetarian” phase. I’m not really sure what sparked it. I do remember one of the reasons I stopped eating beef was that my Chinese zodiac was an Ox and my kid logic told me, “I can’t eat myself”! Despite how silly the reasoning was, I haven’t eaten beef in nearly 20 years. I’ve kept it up mainly for health and environmental reasons, but it was never my favorite meat in the first place. Chicken and pork, however, I couldn’t resist.
Over the years I have gone in and out of vegetarianism. I go through detox phases where I’ll be a vegetarian for a few weeks at a time. The longest was for 3 months while I was in yoga teacher training, which was when I fully experienced the benefits of being a vegetarian.
But what about protein?
When I first told people I was going vegetarian, a few of my friends were concerned. They thought I’d be weaker and get sick more often because I wouldn’t get the protein and energy I could get from meat. As misinformed as this was, I appreciated their concern, but I actually never felt healthier or more energized than in those few months.
In fact, I got sick less than I normally do and that was in the middle of flu season. I could see and feel the difference from when I was a vegetarian vs. when I was not. As long as you make sure you’re eating properly balanced meals, you can get the same, if not more nutrition from a plant-based diet.
Reasons for going vegetarian.
Aside from health, since I’m trying to live a more sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle, I’ve realized I need to better align my actions with my beliefs. The production of meat is one of the leading causes of pollution, water and land depletion, as well as deforestation. If I really want to reduce my carbon footprint, I can no longer ignore my consumption of meat as a contributing factor.
To learn more about the impact of animal agriculture on the environment, I recommend watching ‘Cowspiracy’ on Netflix.
What is a weekday vegetarian?
A weekday vegetarian is exactly what it sounds like. During the week, you don’t eat anything with a face and on the weekends its your choice. Basically cutting 70% of your meat intake. This idea is fully explained by Graham Hill, founder of Treehugger.com, in this Ted Talk.
Why not go full vegetarian?
I don’t believe everyone needs to be a vegetarian, but I do think everyone could eat less meat in general. Even so, each person should make their own decision about how they go about it. Maybe it’s 1 meal a week, 1 day a week, weekday veg, full vegetarian or vegan. The more we reduce our demand for meat, the more water, land, and resources we can save.
What I’ve learned from my past experiences is that if you force yourself to do something you’re not 100% ready to commit to, it won’t last. If you stick to your own personal limits and pick a solution that’s right for you, you’re more likely to stay with it. For me, it’s difficult to think I’ll never have a piece of sushi, chicken, or bacon ever again, which is why I’m starting out as a weekday vegetarian.
Share with #simplyconscious
Have you ever thought about or tried going vegetarian? What was your strategy? Did you struggle or find it easy? Let me know in the comments below or #simplyconscious on social media with your experience.