I did it. I made up my mind and at the start of the year, I just went for it. I became a vegetarian. It is something that has always been in my mind because I love animals but as a fussy eater, as somebody who was brought up on meat and not having anyone in my immediate family who was a vegetarian it just wasn’t the norm when I was growing up. And I think that is the problem with a lot of things in life, isn’t it? We just follow what the norm is. If somebody had said to me that the only way for me to eat meat was to kill it myself, I would have become a vegetarian years ago but it’s all made too easy for us. We go to the shop, there it is all packaged up, not resembling an animal whatsoever and we end up being completely detached from where our food comes from and the processes it has to go through to end up on our shelves. But through research, speaking to others and by gradually cutting meat out of my diet throughout last year, I decided to become a full-time vegetarian (in my 30’s) and this is how those first 6 months have gone…
Cutting Back Helped
I think if I had gone cold turkey it would have been a bit of a shock to the system but because I developed a red meat aversion during my last pregnancy and only ate a few meat types as it was, it was far easier to cut back and to then go vegetarian from there. Cutting back is easy because you can just work a few meat-free meals into your week and come on, who doesn’t like pasta?! Plus I also found that cutting back meant that I began to go off it. I was eventually only down to having chicken and then during one meal of chicken and chips I had to stop eating because it just didn’t taste right to me. I guess the change in diet had led to my body adapting and then this led to my New Year decision.
No More Meat
I just said to my husband one day, that’s it, I can’t eat meat anymore. He decided that he was still ok with eating it but that he was going to keep up with the meat-free days we had been doing. The children are still very young to decide (and I think a diet needs to be an individuals choice) but we did talk to Jake about it all and he asked a lot of really good questions which we have always answered honestly. He is now aware of what each meat is but he has told us he would like to keep eating it and I am perfectly ok with that. So, for now, I am the only vegetarian in the house.
I know that one thing that often holds people back from becoming vegetarian is knowing what meals to eat instead and making different meals for each family member. For us, our meals have always been slightly divided anyway. During the week I always feed the children at around 4:30/5pm as that’s when they are hungry so we don’t eat with them then (only altogether at weekends). I cook for them and my husband cooks for us once he is home from work. As we have quite different tastes when it comes to food, we would often eat a variation anyway so it wasn’t a big change to have to swap my meat for something else.
As for what to eat, the selection of vegetarian/vegan meals and alternatives is so big now that you are just spoilt for choice. It may take you a while to find a favourite burger or sausage as they all have varying textures and tastes but once you find what you love, you won’t miss real meat. Now, I’m by no means a whizz in the kitchen so I’m afraid I won’t be starting up blogs with recipes but there are loads out there if you like being in the kitchen (I just rely on the hubby!)
Ok, so we haven’t been able to go out a lot because Covid-19 hit and we’ve been in lockdown since March but just like above, there are so many fantastic vegetarian options on menus these days. Plus, don’t be scared to ask if a meal can be adapted, most food places are happy to help you as much as they can.
Eating At Other People’s
So, again, this hasn’t happened much during this time but when it has, the hosts have been very accommodating. I mean if there was no meat-free option I would be happy to eat just potatoes and vegetables for my meal anyway as I wouldn’t expect a whole other meal to be made if they weren’t sure what to serve up or if they weren’t aware that I had changed my diet (it’s not something I think about bringing up in conversation really). It may be tricky in some circumstances but only time will tell with this one.
Overall, I am so happy I made this change. I do not miss meat, I am really happy that I am no longer apart of a system that can result in animal cruelty and premature death and I am reducing my carbon footprint too. So far, so good and considering I’ve gone 37 years eating meat, it just goes to show that it is never too late to make this change.
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