Sunday, November 8, 2009

Becoming Vegetarian

It has been almost a year since my husband and I both decided to go vegetarian. We had been cutting away at meat in our diet for a while. We gave up most beef after we both had gotten sick at a very, very well-known fast food joint. My stomach couldn't handle hamburgers, or even the thought, after that.

I cooked a lot with chicken, and sometimes bacon and ham (gifts from my meat family). Gradually, though, we started cutting down the chicken in our meals. We ate a lot of fajitas and stirfry and soon I was only eating half or a fourth of a piece of chicken a day.

Then we visited England and Paris last December. It was the most amazing trip I had ever gone on, and the food was an adventure in itself. What we found in England were vegetarian options and we tried them--- and they were amazing (especially at The Blue Note Cafe in Glastonbury). I couldn't believe the substitutes that English places had--- they were so amazing!

A week after we returned home, we were going out for a friend's birthday party at a local Mexican place. We were talking about the food, and then talking about our diet. We didn't eat a lot of meat. It made us feel pretty bad sometimes, and before, it just seemed difficult. I come from a meat-eating family. As I write this, I have my father, brother, uncles, and cousins probably out pushing the bush for deer. Growing up, it would have been impossible for me to become vegetarian since I lived in the middle of nowhere. I live in Fargo (biggest city in North Dakota) and it can prove difficult looking for places to eat sometimes. However, I have re-learned how to cook and I really enjoy it. Actually, I feel much more adventurous than before! I don't plan my meals around meat any longer (and even rarely substitutes). Most importantly, I feel physically better. I am also very lucky that my husband and I are on the same page with our eating habits. And that I am such an adaptable cook.

I thought I should talk about my choice of being vegetarian. Recently, I have been very surprised at the amount of articles surrounding Jonathon Foer's Eating Animals. I fully intend to read this book in the future, but I started becoming enthralled by the articles popping up all over the place. They aren't just about the book, but about people's own eating habits. I am surprised more and more of how people are now attempting to cut meat out of their diets, even for a few days out of the week. My own local paper even had a recipe for this very reason this past week!

I don't like to tell people what to do about their diet, but I do encourage people to learn more about it. Maybe try new things. Coming from such a meat-eating family, it was a hard choice to wrap my head around changing my diet in such a drastic way. Now I eat more ethnic foods that I had never heard of, and they are more amazing than I could have imagined.

The reason why I don't like telling people directly is that I remember the summer when I was sixteen and staying out in Seattle baby-sitting my little cousin. My oldest cousin (two years older than my mother) took me around downtown to see the Puget Sound, the Space Needle, and to the most amazing bookstore I had ever seen called The Elliot Bay Company. We went out to lunch with his son (a few years old than myself). I recall him mentioning that he was vegetarian and it took me back. I was silly, and sixteen, and said something like, "I come from a meat-eating family. I don't even know what to think about that." And, as embarrassing as it is now, I was speaking the truth of that moment. I didn't have any idea how to do it and it seemed impossible. That moment stuck out in my head for a reason, and maybe, I knew that someday I could do it. I just knew I couldn't do it then. I think sometimes just telling people about it gets them to think about it, and maybe one day, they will make a choice. It took me ten years to decide that enough was enough.

Great articles about Eating Animals from The Huffington Post:

Recent articles on vegetarianism:

My favorite vegetarian recipe blog ever


Picture: Vegan burgers at The Blue Note Cafe in Glastonbury, England

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