Happy Anniversary to ME! It’s my one year anniversary of becoming a vegetarian! Technically it was January 1st because last January I decided to stop making excuses for not leading the life I wanted, I decided to find contentment in the stage God had me in, I decided that if I wanted to become a vegetarian, I couldn’t wait until I moved out of my parents… I had finally found my “big girl” job and I had the money to purchase my own groceries without feeling the need to save money by eating whatever they cooked. I could be the deciding factor in my diet and what I put in my body! From that day forward, I decided to jump right in to a vegetarian lifestyle. I must say… it has not been a perfect vegetarian year, but it has been completely transformative!
Well the meat wasn’t too difficult. I’d say the hardest part was giving up Chick-fil-A chicken nuggets. One day for work, I was in charge of picking up the chicken nuggets for a speaking event we had at our local hospital – talk about tough! That nugget smell consumed my car and it was a struggle to just.say.no. I did though, I didn’t eat any chicken nuggets from Chick-fil-A that day or any day of 2014. The other difficult part of giving up the meat was bacon. Mmm… I loved bacon! It was never fun to smell bacon that woke me up on a Saturday morning. I have also had zero bacon in 2014 though.
There were a few areas of a vegetarian lifestyle that I didn’t quite nail down in 2014.
I had fish every now and then. My excuse was that I missed out on most nutrients that a fish provides so fish every now and then wasn’t so bad. Of course, I could just take some Omega 3 supplements, which I should, but a lot of them are coated with a gelatin based capsule which would be non-vegetarian. Of course, I could have ordered a vegetarian Omega 3 supplement, but I didn’t… so occasionally I’d have tuna at Subway or a fish inspired dish like shrimp & grits at a wedding when I did not have many other alternatives. I’d like to decrease that consumption in 2015.
Other non-vegetarian items…
Marshmallows!!!!! I love a good s’more! Like… seriously love it! I had zero qualms about eating a marshmallow this past year and honestly, it’s tough for me to say that I’ll be able to change that in 2015. They are not something I eat frequently, but when I eat them… I absolutely love them!!! For those of you who don’t understand the issue with marshmallows, they’re made with gelatin and gelatin is a substance that comes from the joints of animals and therefore is not considered vegetarian. It’s what creates the chewy texture. You’ll find gelatin in gel-like capsules & chewy candies. Another thing I wasn’t too cautious about was candy I ate. I’m fairly certain I had my fair share of gelatin in candy this past year.
Then, there was the time I accidentally ate a piece of sausage and I thought my life was over. Yes, I see where you’d think I was being overly dramatic, but you go without eating meat for 5 months and then accidentally swallow one piece of greasy sausage from a Papa John’s pizza and see how your digestive track treats you! Based on how it felt, I’d venture to guess that my digestive tract was not super happy with me that night. I almost called into work sick – and I can assure you that never happens! I was back and forth to the bathroom all night, I was balled up in pain when I was actually in my bed, I felt like there were tiny little men trying to beat there way out of my body and wanted to come directly through my skin. Pain…. severe pain. I think most vegetarian’s start off in a place where they don’t want to be a burden on anyone… then something like this happens. I had agreed to split a pizza with Nick that night and for convenience and cheapness, I was okay with us getting part veggie and part meat. Either way Nick was going to eat his meat and either way I was going to eat my veggies… at least I saved half of the meat on that pizza that day is how I saw it. So we try to be easy on others and make sacrifices in that way, then they come and bite us in the rear because apparently one little greasy gross piece of sausage found it’s way on my veggie pizza and I missed it until I had already chewed it… and begrudgingly swallowed it, thinking that everything would be okay with one tiny piece of sausage. Mistake of the year, ladies & gents! Now I’m the difficult vegetarian that you roll your eyes at because I don’t want any meat near my food!
Overall I’d say my year as a vegetarian has been successful. I’ve increased my wealth of knowledge ten fold when it comes to a vegetarian and vegan lifestyle. I’ve been inspired to live a more cruel free life and I’ve gotten comfortable in my own vegetarian skin to have the nerve to stand up for what I believe in and to easily explain to those who don’t understand why I choose this life for me.
Celebrating my one year anniversary of this vegetarian lifestyle with my favorite #vegan double #chocolate cookie! It hasn’t been perfect, but it’s been transformative!! So thankful for this wealth of knowledge over the past year and the supportive friends/family who make an effort to understand and who try to provide options for me when I eat with them! Looking forward to 2015 and striving to improve my vegetarian/vegan ways for a healthier me and a more sustainable environment! #vegetarian #anniversary #healthyliving #happylife #thankful #sweettooth
So why am I a vegetarian?
I do it for my health. I’ve never felt better! Even when I’m not working out consistently, I still fit in my clothes. Since cutting back on dairy & eggs in August, I’ve cleared up my face of any breakouts. Although I haven’t been tested, I’d venture to say that my heart is healthier, my arteries are not clogged, and my cholesterol is at a healthy number. I believe I have a greater chance of not getting cancer or degenerative diseases due to this lifestyle. I find my protein in other alternatives, which I realize is everyone’s main concern. I understand why, I’ve been that person too, but I find my protein in nuts and beans and alternative meats such as tofu. As a runner, protein can be more difficult to find and can be more difficult to get the right amount in a day, but if you’re striving for a healthy vegetarian lifestyle, it can most certainly be done! My protein isn’t perfect every day, but I’m conscious of what I put in my body and I strive for as much protein as I can get my hands on.
I do it for the environment. The amount of energy it takes to produce the amount of meat our country consumes is astronomical. Small farms are depleting because we’re not supporting their local fruits & veggies or their local chicken coops. We’ve increased our consumption so much that larger industries such as Tyson and Sanderson Farms now control local farmers. Because we’re not eating local, we’re also increasing our gas emissions from the transportation of all this meat. Meat production uses an unexplainable amount of water. According to this Vegetarian Guide, a pound of potatoes takes less than 95%+ of water to produce than one pound of beef or chicken. 95% LESS. We’re wasting 95% or more of our water on one pound of animal that we’re going to eat. Statistics like these baffle me and an instill a strong desire to become as vegetarian or vegan friendly as I can. I understand not everyone reacts the same way, but if you reduced your meat consumption in half, you’d make a huge impact on our economy and environment!
I do it for the animals. I know we don’t see dogs & cats on the same playing field as cows & pigs, but why shouldn’t we? I can assure you I will not be eating my cats or dog anytime soon. The way these animals are treated in mass production break my heart. To create veal, they take a baby away from it’s mother instantly and stick it in a crate so it builds no muscle so you get perfectly tender meat. It doesn’t feed off it’s mother like God intended. On a side note: I cannot understand for the life of my why it’s illegal to kill a baby deer during hunting season, but creating veal is not. Chickens are injected with steroids so they grow big enough to sell. They grow so big that their legs can’t support them and eventually their legs snap and they’re stuck in one location until it’s time to be killed. They live in undesirable environments where the workers who work in their chicken coops are all suffering from diseases because of the nastiness of the environment. I personally have a difficult time seeing how this is humane and acceptable.
It’s cheaper. Meat is expensive… there is no doubt about that. Good quality meat, lean meat, is even more expensive. Factor in the health risks you create from consuming so many meat products and you have doctor bills to tend to. Even though some vegetarian cooking supplies are expensive too and eating healthier in general has become a dollar guzzler in this country, you will save money in the long run by eating more fruits & vegetables and not buying meat on every grocery store run. Beans are CHEAP-O! And so full of nutrients!
I don’t share this with you to make you feel bad, I promise, or to come across as “better than thou” because I’m most certainly not! I only share it so that you see the perspective of a vegetarian and why I chose this lifestyle over the past year and will continue to choose this lifestyle. It was because someone pointed out this information to me and I used it in a way that made sense for my life. I’m proud of what my changes have been able to do for the environment. I realize not everyone is going to make the change to a vegetarian or vegan. I would not be satisfied with myself if I didn’t encourage you to at least consider consuming LESS animal product though, not getting rid of it entirely (although that would be the ideal), but just consuming less. It would have a far greater impact on the world than making zero changes to your diet. Even if you don’t care about the harm caused to the environment or what happens to animals during the process, think about your own health and your own budget – if your not doing it for others, do it for yourself! And even if everything I said has zero impact on how you live your life moving forward, all I ask is that you’re more understanding of your vegetarian & vegan friends and that you choose to support them even if it’s not something you agree with or comprehend.
Here’s to a healthy & happy 2015! Happy Vegetarian Anniversary to Me! And if you made it this far… THANK YOU! I know a vegetarian on her soap box isn’t exactly what you wanted to hear on this Saturday morning, but I appreciate your time. Thanks for celebrating with me by allowing me to share my passion & knowledge with you!!