Being a teacher, kids often find out little bits and pieces about my life, and want to more. So, naturally, they ask lots of questions. Among these being: Do you have kids? Are you married? Do you have a boyfriend? Do you like to party? (They ask this when they find out that I am a college student, earning my degree to become a full time teacher). And the question that I get most often is…. You don’t eat meat?! At all?!
After four weeks of this, it made me think, again, about why I am a vegetarian, and what a big part of my lifestyle it has become. It’s second nature, now, but when I stop and think about it, it is actually really important to me.
I still haven’t been able to bring myself to re-watch those PETA videos I saw back in 6th grade. I am sure they haven’t changed a bit, and they are still the reason I stopped eating meat. Regardless, I have learned so much. Originally, I stopped eating meat in high school because of the lovely cruelty-free aspect. Always having been an animal lover, this was a pretty clear and easy choice for me. It was not, however, and easy choice made by me for my parents. This began sophomore year of high school and my dad had NO idea what to buy for me. Bless his heart, he tried so hard, but even I had little information about what a true vegetarian ate. So, he began to buy all things Boca. To this day I think that Boca is vomitatious. On the same token, my mom refused to let me stop eating meat unless I kept fish in my diet. She said “You’ll never be able to get enough protein to stay healthy without at least fish…” So, I listened to her, and until recently, fish has been a part of my diet. And it’s always been a little hard for me to hear people discrediting my choices because ‘“real” vegetarians don’t eat fish because fish is meat.’
To say the least, my vegetarianism didn’t last much longer than a few months. It was hard, and the temptation was strong. I left it alone for a while and revisited it a few years later. I didn’t eat meat for two years, and then began feeling utterly exhausted and completely fatigued at all times… so I though perhaps it was my diet. While I was making better choices and was better equipped (being an independent college student) to make these choices, I still was not well informed. I reverted to eating meat, again. This lasted for a few months, and I soon realized how gross, dirty, grimy, and awful about myself it made me feel at all times. AGAIN, I decided to cut meat out. My fickle relationship with vegetarianism has led me to the point that I am in my life now…
I have learned so much about my lifestyle choice – which is what it is – a complete lifestyle change. I have learned the way that all animals that produce consumable products are treated, and how that affects what ends up on (not necessarily mine, per se) MY plate. I learned that often they are sick, too weak to walk, and laden with bacteria and disease when they arrive at the slaughterhouses. I learned that fish are made to swim in tiny spaces filled with disgustingly disgusting water. I learned (more) about chickens and the amount of them that one person consumes in their lifetime, and how they are raised… and even the conditions that they are forced to produce eggs.
Not only have I chosen vegetarianism for myself as a way to support the well being of these animals that deserve to be treated with respect, but I have also chosen it to become a healthier person. After doing this project (where I learned the sheer number of types of vegetarians that exist, and omg!) I have made many changes to my diet, and I have even become more attentive to my protein consumption. I feel better about being a healthier and more astute and aware about the world around me. More importantly, after talking with Nick, I am pretty sure (not anytime soon by ANY means) that a completely vegan lifestyle is in my future. We’ll see when that decision comes, it’s a big one, and it means cutting out my addiction to cheese, but I feel that it’s probably the path that I am headed down at this rate. ;)
Just to show that vegetarian food can still be delicious tasting AND enticing, I thought I would show a few yummy looking meals that are veg friendly :)
If you're thinking about going veg, one of my favorite favorite favorite healthy and fresh snack is homemade guacamole. Here's the recipe for you to try at home!
2 avocados, diced
1 small tomato, diced
1/3 of a red onion, diced
1 tsp (or more!) of diced chilis
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt and pepper
1 tbsp fresh cilantro
1/2 of a lime, squeezed
Accompany with your favorite (corn) tortilla chips! Yum!
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