On my 25th birthday, I woke up and had my regular breakfast of scrambled eggs and bacon. While chewing on the bacon I had a realization.
“I actually don’t like this,” I thought to myself, while the bacon was being masticated in my mouth.
“You know what, I actually don’t like meat and poultry,” I said to myself, after swallowing the chewed-off meat.
And this is when I turned to vegetarianism. No one forced me, no one advocated it, no one suggested it.
“Being a vegetarian was solely my choice.”
It was a unanimous choice by my body and my mind. My body craved healthier foods while my mind kept telling me that eating animals was unfair.
My biggest problem was that I knew nothing about vegetarianism. I never thought about the nutrients I got and the possible deficiencies I could have.
This was the when I first realized how clueless about food I was. I believed in myths that never existed.
“It’s impossible to survive without meat,” everyone I knew would say.
“Vegetarians suffered from malnutrition and have lower energy than meat lovers,” people close to me said.
“It’s expensive and the meat cravings are unbearable,” my family said to me.
I believed in other myths as well. I believed that fake meat is a must-have. I was scared that vegetarian meals would be plain boring.
But that’s what they were – just myths! There was nothing true about them.
Even when I was pregnant I was on a vegetarian diet. I was told that pregnant women must eat meat. Although, when I consulted a nutritionist, she told me that I could remain vegetarian. I simply added more nuts, beans, dried fruits, and nut butter to my meal plan. An added bonus of going vegetarian when you’re pregnant- you won’t gain weight and you’ll bounce back to your pre-pregnancy weight much faster.
When I turned vegetarian, I learned how annoying and hard it could be to explain to my family, friends, and other people over and over again about my decision. Most of my friends and family members scoffed at my decision and rolled their eyes every time I ordered meatless meals at restaurants.
My friends still call me a “crazy vegan girl” and my parents still believe I’m developing anorexia. This is the hardest thing for me. I’ve never craved meat, but I always crave support. However, when I see a homeless animal, or all those cruel farms, I reassure myself that I’m on the right track and that I’ll keep on living without meat. I also stopped comparing my eating habits to those who live with me or know me.
“I keep on reminding myself that whether I eat meat or not, I can still be judged all the time.”
You can never please everyone. People could also not like my dressing style, my occupation, or my lifestyle habits.
After multiple meal plans, I’ve finally found the one that is the best for my body. I learned how to turn boring meals into vegetarian masterpieces. It took a lot of practice, time, patience, and fights with my mom, but I finally learned to stick to my eating habits and master some basic cooking skills. I learned what flavors and foods inspire me, and what I like and dislike.
Becoming vegetarian isn’t about strict food restrictions, it’s not about starvation. It’s just a matter of choice. No matter what food choices you make, you need to always get the right amount of nutrients from your diet. I, myself, am not a big fan of having supplements, and try to get all the essential nutrients and antioxidants from whole foods.
“I believe that all vegetarians must include nuts, seaweed, lentils, whole grains, beans and dried fruit in their daily meal plan.”
One thing is clear now – I’m proud of myself and my eating habits. No one will ever make me eat meat products if I don’t want them. If you’re considering to be vegetarian, listen to your inner voice and make your own choice.