I grew up with a family that ate a lot of meat. As a kid, I hunted with my dad, and I thoroughly enjoyed eating bacon and tri-tip every other weekend. I always commented on vegetarians, telling everyone I knew that I could never go vegetarian, I could never give up meat, I would miss meat too much. It's healthier and more well-balanced to be eating meat, and one person not eating meat does not make a difference to the environment.
Well, I'm here to break the news and just say it.
I stopped eating meat.
I know, I know. Hold the gasps of horror and silence the screaming children. I'm OK, I promise.
I never saw this change coming, but I'm here, over a month into my new vegetarian lifestyle, and I am surviving. In fact, I am doing much better than I thought I would be, and not eating meat has actually been one-hundred times easier than I thought it would be.
So, let me break down some of these meat-myths for all of you reading at home.
Not eating meat, or cutting back on how much meat you eat, actually lowers your risk of developing heart disease.
You get enough protein from other foods such as eggs, beans, nuts, seeds, peas, and soy products, so going meat-less is not unhealthy.
I thought it would be hard to stop eating meat, that I would find myself lying awake at night dreaming of a juicy steak, a thick slab of bacon, or even a McDonalds cheeseburger. Surprisingly enough, 'going vegetarian' has been a relatively easy transition. Sure, I get the annoyed eye-rolls when I tell servers I don't want meat in my pasta or on my pizza, but who cares.
When I first decided to cut meat out of my diet, I left fish in my diet, purely for the sake of eating sushi. I was a pescatarian. In the last two weeks, I have decided to go strictly vegetarian from now on. I can sacrifice a little bit of my sushi obsession and get a veggie or tofu roll instead.
Going vegetarian is easy, and I have learned a lot about myself and the world around me in the past month. I have opened myself up to new foods, I have discovered a newfound appreciation for veggies, I decided I absolutely love tofu, and I have become much more aware of the effect one person can really have on the world. Sure, one vegetarian is not going to stop global warming, but if I can help reduce my own impact in any small way, I might as well give it a try.
I am not here to tell everyone to stop eating meat entirely. I respect your decisions and your choices, and I hope you do the same for me. But I do encourage you to test yourself, see how much meat you are really eating in your everyday diet. Challenge yourself to eat a little less red meat and a few more plants. Your heart might thank you later.
So far, I am loving being vegetarian, and I cannot wait to keep challenging myself.
Who knows, maybe I will try being vegan next.