This post is a bit overdue I think, but I have never put it into words before and I have never explained it in such detail so here goes.
I have only been a vegetarian for 9 months. I feel like I should have been a vegetarian my whole life. Just like running, fitness, frizzy hair and sarcasm are part of who I am, being an animal lover is as well. Unfortunately, the disgust I now feel for animal cruelty took 26 years to truly surface.
I was the definition of a carnivore. I ate all meat (I did not discriminate) and I ate it all rare. I was the asshole that said “I don’t give a shit, the animals taste good.” That asshole part of me slowly died during the months of November and December 2011. I am not even sure how it happened but I watched a video of undercover footage of a Butterball Turkey farm. I could barely watch it and was definitely crying at my desk at work. I spoke to Melissa about it every day for weeks. She told me she used to be a vegetarian as well and gave me some of her thoughts and tips. I heard about Oprah’s special on veganism (note: I never watched it and I’ve heard mixed reviews, but that is not what this is about). I did, however, watch the video part of the special of Lisa Ling’s tour of a slaughterhouse. I watched the entire video and I cried. I realized that prior to this I chose to ignore what was happening to the animals before they arrived on my plate. I ignored these videos that I knew existed because I did not want to see the way humans act towards other living creatures.
I did not make the decision to become a vegetarian that moment. I made my decision on New Year’s Eve 2011 after weeks, and tears, and plenty of drinks and chats with my friend Michelle (who is a saint for listening to me literally wail that night). I said before that part of me died when I made this decision, and when that happened, more importantly, another more eager and compassionate part awoke.
I was clueless when I started. It was so new to me. I had to learn, I had to evolve. I researched. The healthy living community helped me more than I could ever say. Personal stories and tips and recipes got me through each day! I also watched Forks Over Knives, a “feature film that examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting animal-based and processed foods.” It was extremely informative, if not mind-blowing. I have a list of videos and books that I still want to watch and read on the subject! The reason I became a vegetarian is apparent and will be with me everyday, I want to live a cruelty-free lifestyle. The environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet are an added bonus. I am now very aware of what types of food enter my body. I eat whole ingredients and I buy organic when I can. I am not interested in eating food that was grown with pesticides, chemicals or that was genetically engineered. I believe that my dietary choices will help me live a longer, healthier life.
Fun fact time? Ok!
- I had no resistance from my friends or family, only unconditional support. Sarcastic comments about not eating meat were expected and they do not offend me. I am not throwing red paint on anyone.
- It is not hard at all to switch your diet from 100% meat to 0% meat. When doing it for the right reasons, you will not miss it at all.
- I do not eat any meat, fish or any faux meats.
- I cut down my dairy intake significantly, but I am not a vegan.
- I have discovered and eaten so many amazing foods I would have never tried prior.
- I cook a lot. I am forced to. I enjoy it, but I still suck at it.
- I no longer eat any fast food, there’s nothing for me too eat. BONUS!
- I get plenty of protein through my diet. You do not need to make that the first question.
- I slowly switched all of my household (and beauty) products to cruelty-free products. Slowly though, because it is expensive.
- The only leather I wear now is my running sneakers, and I am in the process of looking for an alternative.
I am still learning and adjusting each day, but I can honestly say that I have never been happier, healthier or a better runner.
If anyone has any questions (or comments) – please do not hesitate to contact me or leave a comment! It is definitely an interesting (and emotional) transition. I would never have gotten through it without advice from friends and family and online resources and blogs!
I think I will add more of this aspect of my life into my blog. It is very important to me. Let me know if you would like that, what you want to know, don’t want to know etc.!
Here are the links to the blogs that I used all of the time!
Matt Frazier of No Meat Athlete – http://www.nomeatathlete.com/
Veggie Fitness – http://veggiefitness.com/
Forks Over Knives - http://www.forksoverknives.com/