I realised the other day that if you don’t follow me on social media you probably don’t know that I’m now vegetarian. Annoyingly I didn’t note down the day I became a vegetarian but I think it’s been six months now. It’s gone crazily fast!! I thought I’d share a little about my vegetarian story as it might interest some of you. Please remember that this is just my experience and my personal beliefs. Nothing I say is meant to offend you if you have different beliefs or eating habits.
For as long as I can remember I’ve never really enjoyed eating meat. I couldn’t stand fish, hated lamb and venison, and didn’t really like steak. My meals were mostly chicken-based with a bit of beef mince and pulled pork here and there. There have also been periods in my life where I’ve gone chicken-only or mostly vegetarian.
About a year ago we got really into documentaries, and this habit only increased when Netflix launched here in New Zealand. A lot of the documentaries we were watching were about food and the effects different food has on our bodies and on the environment. The more I looked into things and thought about it, I decided vegetarianism was the way to go for me. So I decided that was that and became a vegetarian pretty quickly.
The reasons why I’m vegetarian
So that gives you a little bit of an idea of the background of my relationship with meat and what led me to the idea of vegetarianism, but you might be wondering what reasons actually made me become vegetarian.
The first is that when I thought about it, I simply don’t like eating meat – I don’t like the taste or the texture.
The second reason is health. Whenever I eat less meat, I feel so much better. I’m not trying to say that not eating meat will be healthier for you because I’m not an expert or a doctor but the research I did led me to believe that it could be healthier and that’s what I’ve found. I feel so much better for cutting it out.
The third reason is animals. I’m not your typical animal lover – I’ve never actually had any pets – but I do believe that animals should be allowed to just live.
The hard parts
I honestly haven’t found it as hard as I thought it would be. Of course there have been hard bits but I’m slowly learning different meals to cook and I’ve found good snacks and even takeaways to have when I’m out and about. The hardest part is when I go to someone’s house. In these situations, I always just mention to the host that I’m vegetarian. If I feel like there won’t be much to eat then I just make sure I time my eating around it so I don’t have to eat at the event. Another tricky part is that my boyfriend decided not to go vegetarian, which means whoever cooks that night has to make considerations for the other’s diet. It’s not that big of a deal but it definitely is a little bit more work and involves more preparation.
I’m not an expert, and like I said I’m only 6 months in, but I’ve learned quite a bit so far. If you’re thinking about going vegetarian (or vegan) these are my tips:
- Find a vegetarian friend who can help you. A couple of months in, I was feeling a little stuck with food ideas – the amazing Amanda who is a vegan gave me some recipes and tips for grocery shopping and these have been so helpful.
- Be okay with making mistakes. I really think this is so important. Right at the beginning I actually forgot that I was vegetarian and ate meat out of habit. I felt pretty silly and could’ve easily got annoyed with myself but I just laughed it off.
- You do you. When you’re vegetarian, everyone is suddenly concerned with your eating habits. It’s likely some meat-eaters will lecture you about not getting enough protein and iron, and some vegans might lecture you about still eating dairy and eggs. You decide what’s best for you and just do that. Whether that’s being vegan, being vegetarian or eating meat.
- Be prepared. While things haven’t been too hard for me, I definitely need to prepare more than I did before. I think about my meals more and I make sure I’ve got snacks on me 99% of the time.
- Get familiar with the nutrients you need. While being vegetarian or vegan still allows you to get all the nutrients you need, the truth is that you are cutting out a food group so you need to make sure you’re doing it healthily. Simply cutting out meat isn’t enough, you need to replace it with other foods like beans, brown rice and a wider variety of vegetables. I’d recommend seeing a nutritionist if you’re concerned or unsure of where to start. I’m actually going to start looking for one this week just to make sure I’m doing things right. I also want to get some blood tests done to make sure everything is at a healthy level.
I hope this gives you a little insight into my new journey of vegetarianism and helps you out if you’re wanting to make a change to your diet. Remember this is just my journey and my thoughts. You do you.