Let me give you some insight to my eating habits. I am not a huge meat eater never have been. In the last 2 years I have had 2 steaks one of which ended up in the toilet after I violently hurled it up. We don’t eat red meat in our home. The only pork that gets consumed is bacon (but rarely because it’s usually turkey bacon), Ham (it makes us feel LESS poor) and every once in a while…ONCE in a while. As in I have fried Pork Chops once in the whole time I’ve lived in the apt (almost 3 years). So…It sounds boring but we buy mainly chicken and ground turkey. I don’t prepare seafood at home because the smell for me is so off putting it makes me want to throw up. I LOVE sushi. The most meat I eat is probably chicken nuggets, deli sandwiches and pepperoni…I LOVE vegetarian sandwiches. They are tasty. I could live without them. Chicken nuggets …Have you tried falafel? The only thing I am stuck on and can’t find a substitute for is Pepperoni.
Let’s talk about how much meat I eat in a week using this week as an example and for the sake of information starting with Thursday:
Thursday: Alice Springs chicken for dinner – 1 chicken breast feeds us both. So he has half and I have half except I cut my half in half and didn’t even finish that.
Friday: Sushi for dinner
Saturday: 6 piece chicken nugget meal from mickey D’s, Boneless Buffalo Chicken salad from chili’s (I only ate half the chicken- Lenny was so disappointed I wasted so much chicken)
Sunday: Italian sandwich from Publix for lunch.
Monday: Monday was a no meat day – even my Moe’s bowl was vegetarian (I prefer it that way)
Tuesday: 4 strips of bacon with early breakfast.
Wednesday: Still no meat.
So you see from this snapshot of my life. I don’t eat too much meat. Here’s the thing – It’s not the first time I have brought up such a radical life style change. No I suggested it once while living at home and well, that is was not well received. I tried twice with my mom and she just wouldn’t accept that I would CHOOSE to be meatless. Shrugs. I left it alone.
I didn’t start to think about it again until my baby brother did the kindest service of gifting me with a beautiful wonderful Vegetarian Sister in Law. The poor girl, I have bombarded her with a million and one questions about transitioning and alternatives for certain things I know I will end up craving. I have driven her crazy over the difference between kale and spinach in breakfasts and what does she eat for dinner. Dairy free cheese alternatives lol you name it I have asked it. I KNOW every vegetarian is different. Hell I have a friend who is totally okay with Chicken bouillon because it’s JUST chicken flavor and has no actual MEAT in it. I think that’s cheating but that’s okay. Both my SIL and another Veggie friend (I am surrounded by veggie heads!!) are okay with eating sushi (Mary is more pescetarian than anything and my SIL, I think she said she eats it because it’s good for her anemia though I couldn’t tell you if she identifies as a pescetarian). So now I have a good support team of people around me that understand what I am soon going to be going through. They are willing to welcome me with open arms.
See here is the thing about these Veggie heads I love so much – they do not judge. They have never judged me for eating meat. They have never judged me for being a huge baby about seafood and sushi. They don’t complain that I have a trillion questions and can’t seem to get a straight answer from google. They understand that I really can’t afford to go out and try a million different soy or TVP products. They get that what I am choosing to do is going to be hard an emotional. This is already getting a little emotional for me. I have a few friends who think I am simply out of my ever loving mind and I understand. I do. I understand the confusion. Why would I want to do this? Why would I do this to myself? Why do I think I can change my life this way? Why! WHY?
I am already getting opposition and the jokes. My feelings have already been hurt and I have been called a follower and a faker. I apparently want to change my life for the attention. I have been told I will fail and that I will be back eating shit food again in no time. I have been told it won’t be possible and that I shouldn’t change my life because my husband loves meat. I have been told I am burdening my husband with the want for change. I have been asked what difference I am making because I am only one person. There has been things said that I have let go and there are the whispers in my head repeating the things others have said. It’s discouraging and distracting.
On my way home from work every day my gut twists up and does all kinds of hurting. My feelings get sort of haywire and jumbled. I start to feel bad. I usually get stuck behind a chicken truck. What I see is terrible. I ask myself – Would I want to live and die like that? No. Not at all. Even if it is how I grew up. I know I shouldn’t cry over the chicken truck but…I do sometimes. I get caught up in my feelings and the chicken truck depresses me so much that I don’t want to even make dinner. When I try to get chicken down I gag over it. I am force feeding myself and it’s covered in guilt.
I stopped eating red meat on accident. My uncle was in town and he had left on the history channel while he slept. I walked across the tv and froze in horror. I had asked when I was little how they got the “fur” off of cows before we ate them. I remember asking because my mother refused to answer and my dad distracted me. I was maybe 6 when I started to feel bad for the cows. I was brushed off and so I forgot it but in the moment that I realized what was watching. I clearly remembered. I clearly remembered every single time I questioned my parents about why we ate me and why we had to hurt animals to eat meat and why did we need it to live. The documentary on the history channel was talking about how far meat processing has coming and showed how they would remove the skin from the cow. I’m going to let you know that I couldn’t say if this animal was alive or not but it didn’t matter. I was horrified. I was so horrified that I forgot what I was doing and went back to bed. It wasn’t serious for many. I know that in the back of your head you’re thinking that I am being dramatic but my reaction was so visceral I knew I had to stop. It wasn’t hard. I just stopped. It was easy to only eat chicken and turkey. Except the chicken trucks.
I am inadvertently vegetarian when I don’t think about it. I have gone a long week without eating meat and didn’t realize it. I only know about it because Lenny asked me about it. I just hate that some people assume that this was an overnight decision. My brother and his wife have been together for almost 2 years….it’s been sitting pretty close to the front of my brain for 2 y.e.a.r.s. Even if it was an overnight decision who gives a crap? Im not force feeding you fish and I certainly don’t plan on bashing you for eating meat. I have done it for 26 years so who am I to judge.
I am doing this for me. Not for my husband or my friends or the ideals of society. I am doing it for me. For my conscious and wellbeing. I feel like this is a GREAT step into a healthier life style in the long run. I can do a better job at self-sustained living being a vegetarian. I can save at least one life being one less person to eat land animals. This is my choice. I don’t think anyone should be torn down for their choice.
If you have nothing nice to say then don’t. If you want to be supportive then leave your favorite seafood recipes because im terrible at cooking any sort of seafood. I know its not going to be an overnight change for me. I know that I will slip up and feel terrible for it and I know that this isn’t going to be the greatest adventure I’ve ever been on but I also know that it’s what I want and if anyone I know can’t get on board with that then…I’m sorry but please don’t expect for me to dine with you. Yes we are all certainly allowed our differences in opinion but If it’s going to negatively impact my feelings I simply don’t have to deal with it.