EDIT: I just realised that “the change” is what people call menopause. Woops 😉 I am not going through menopause at 22!
Well, I haven’t written in 2 months! (it seems so much longer). And I felt prompted to write this after seeing that Quorn are trying to make more vegan products. It made me quite excited and while people can be put off by vegetarians and vegans because they feel preached too, that’s not what I’m here to do. Of course, it’d be nice if more people ate less meat but I prefer to show that through enjoying my lifestyle instead of demonizing others.
I became vegetarian when I was 12. A friend of my cousin who was vegan has come back from leafleting and showed me information on animal testing and factory farming. After reading through them I was distraught at the thought of animals being caused pain for my gain. I cooked for myself at 12 but lived mainly off of ready meals because I had never really been taught how to cook but I had to eat. I told my parents I didn’t want to eat meat anymore and that was fine, no problem. After a while I realised that doing this on my own at 12 was going to be really hard, almost impossible, with my parents eating meat everyday and no one else in my family being vegetarian. So I brought chicken back into my different, simply because it meant I could eat more meals and it was my favourite. After a while I just gave up. I was a kid trying to change my lifestyle while living in a home with a lifestyle of the opposite. I started eating meat again if only so I could actually continue to eat.
Jump to January 2012. A vegetarian friend posted something about factory farming on Facebook, I remembered going vegetarian when I was younger and asked myself why I hadn’t done it again sooner. I’d be married almost a year and moved out 6 months before. Why didn’t I even think about it? The only reason I’d gone back was due to practicality and now I was an adult and able to cook more things and had my own money to buy alternative products. So in a split second, I did it. I said to my husband, “I don’t want to eat meat anymore” and that was it.
I’ve never really been very good at keeping at something, when it gets hard I crumble but this is the one thing I have truly kept going no matter how I’ve felt. Even if I told myself “what’s the point?” In 2 and a half years, I haven’t once intentionally eaten anything that contains the body parts of an animal. At first I was hardcore, advocating, protesting and after a while I allowed things to settle into a normal life rhythm. I often gets obsessed with something and after the come down, I lose interest but I learnt to include these things in my life without it overtaking everything else (a big deal!). While my husband still eats meat, if I ever feel like giving up he will always talk me out of it. Despite how he feels about meat he supports my choices and doesn’t let me give up on them which was something I didn’t really have back home. If I wanted to quit I was just told to quit.
I even spent some time learning vegan recipes and cutting out almost all animal products, the only problem there is that my husband eats all animal products and we can’t afford to buy two sets of shopping. I had never felt the need to force him into veganism. As a fussy eater, he would starve on a vegan diet. I have however decreased his meat consumption, he would have meat for most meals, now he has it two or three times a week which is what is supposed to be the healthy amount anyway. He likes some vegetarian products so it helps to be able to cook the same thing for both of us and when all else fails there’s always pasta! 😉
I feel happier in myself being vegetarian. While being vegan would of course be a happier option for living beings alike, it’s a case of situation, finance and health that hold me back. While it can make going to restaurants a bit of a pain, I’m happy knowing I’m not eating anything that has died for me to consume. Owning pets for me is more rewarding because I can appreciate their lives more without seeing the term “animal” as derogatory. The thought of eating meat for me isn’t something pleasant. When I see it in front of me and think it smells good, I think of how if I met that animal, I would most likely bond with it and appreciate it as a life like any human. And at that point, I know I can’t eat it. I don’t want anyone or anything to die for me when it’s not necessary and to know that no one does, makes me feel happy.