For the last few years I have been an on again off again vegetarian. I know for a fact that I feel better when I am a vegetarian. The “off again” part comes from my taste for steak and meat dishes that I have eaten for the past 26 years of my life. It also comes from the fact that trying to live on a vegetarian diet correctly is difficult. Everyone has their own idea of what is correct and what isn’t, so here’s mine: If I am a vegetarian and eating all sorts of chips, bagels, refined grains, and pastas, then I don’t want to be a vegetarian – I’d rather just eat the meat; If I am a vegetarian eating large salads, fruits, and limiting my refined carbohydrates and added sugars, then I am happy.
It’s a challenge to balance being a vegetarian and social obligations, including work and holidays. Also being on the run, and not just constantly eating granola bars (which I don’t approve of), is hard too! Especially when you are hungry – you should never starve yourself! I crave bagels, and those large soft pretzels when I do this. I just don’t want to be a vegetarian for the wrong reasons. I don’t want to be a vegetarian to indulge in highly processed goods that cause me to crave them again and again, and enjoy them not only for their taste, but also because they are acceptable and easy to fit in my bag – with minimal preparation.
Everyone I surround myself with eats meat. I’ve heard that you are an average of the five or so people closest to you, but I disagree – at least in my eating styles. I don’t have any vegan or vegetarian friends, but I do love the people close to me and I’m not giving them up! So keeping up this lifestyle, especially when those I live with make different dinners, is another challenge entirely.
On Christmas I got a Ninja Blender. Normally I don’t like blending things, because nothing ever gets blended correctly. Also I don’t like cold drinks in New England freezing winters. I asked for a blender anyway, and I got it. This was part of my latest plan – to be vegetarian again!
Not only have I been vegetarian since using my blender a few days after Christmas, but I have just switched, only 5 days ago, to a fully vegan diet.
All of my circumstances are still the same. I still have the same friends, and live with the same people, who eat differently. Friends and strangers alike ask me about my eating style (not just now- but before when I was vegetarian as well), and sometimes it’s exhausting sticking up for myself. People ask me “how” and “why” and although I have read many books, and taken nutrition and biochemistry courses, it’s hard to get the facts straight when explaining to friends. They start with a simple question, I answer, they challenge, I answer, they get deeper and deeper into questioning me as though I am supposed to be a world renowned nutritionist, and eventually I throw my hands up and explain that I really don’t know all the answers. I just know that I feel better when eating this way. And then somehow my explanation is not academically or socially correct.
All this because I packed my own meals, didn’t eat the main dish, or asked for a vegetarian option. See how it can be challenging?
Here I am again, but this time, being more extreme. Being vegan will help me rid myself of those cravings. It’s already been 5 days. I am fine. I am more than fine. I am happy, well rested, and motivated. I am motivated to find a new community of people to share my journey with, both on the web and in person.