Saturday, 27 April 2013

V is for ... Vegetarian

V is for ... Vegetarian.

I've been a vegetarian since I was about 12 or 13. I suppose it was a sort of 'transition'. I remember starting to think "I'm eating a pig" and being particularly disturbed. I remember being disgusted by the sight of the meat and fish at the meat section of the supermarket. I remember hating the smell. I remember seeing a raw chicken with it's head chopped off and its legs tied together in the kitchen at home ready to be roasted and once again thinking how utterly disgusting. I started to hate the smell of meat being cooked. Most of you love the smell of bacon sizzling in the pan, or burgers on a barbeque, but to me it smelled more and more disgusting.
One of my close friends when I was growing up was vegetarian (I think actually semi-vegetarian; I think I remember she ate fish), and maybe she had an influence on my transition. I ate dinner on occasion at her house, and I remember their meals being quite simple yet yummy. Simple homemade soups, beans on toast or egg on toast, sandwiches, and salads. I loved the simplicity. One of my other friends during my teenage years was a vegetarian, and I remember her family being very into animal rights. They didn't wear leather, fur, went on animal rights protests, and were vegan. I suppose they influenced me somewhat, because even though I already had an interest in the subject of vegetarianism, my eyes were now opening to the world of animal rights.
There are many differing opinions when it comes to animal rights, and deciding on where you personally stand is sometimes tough. I don't agree with caged chickens and their often horrendous conditions, and I don't agree with the way that cows are forced to constantly produce milk, but I do think milk is a natural product to consume, which is why I'm not vegan. I understand that human consumption drives such high quantities of production, but I think we need to focus on more natural methods, rather than such industrious techniques. I don't wear fur and I'm really not a fan of leather, but I understand in cases where it may be useful; I just wish that the animal wasn't killed just to be eaten and worn. I prefer nature's process.
When it comes to testing on animals, the thought hurts me inside, yet a small part of me perks up and says we need to test all those medicines and chemicals somehow before using them on humans. Then another part of me says isn't there another way?
I think the issue of sustainability has become an important factor in vegetarianism for me. It wasn't why I became vegetarian, but it is a very powerful argument for a vegetarian diet. The amount of resources used to feed animals raised to produce meat greatly outweighs that used to produce plant based products, and also produces less food than if the land was used to produce plant based foods. Our planet prefers a vegetarian diet. 
I have always had an issue with eggs. It is an unfertilized baby chicken, and whether that counts to me as eating part of an animal is difficult. Plus, it is immensely difficult to avoid eating eggs; they are in so many foods. I tried to avoid them for a long time, not cooking with them myself and only eating them when in other foods, such as baked goods. Now I eat more of them because they contain vital nutrients, and because they are unavoidable. Gelatin on the other hand disgusts me and I do not ever want to eat it, but it's everywhere and often difficult to avoid. Another food which really disgusts me to eat is fish. I hate everything about it, and always have. Some vegetarians do eat fish and I have never understood why. I would rather go hungry. 
Whenever anyone asks my why I became a vegetarian, I never have one, direct answer. Just as I said before, it really was more of a transition. It was about me coming to realise that eating meat really isn't part of me. It was about understanding how meat is produced, and about discovering all of the issues involved in animal rights. It was about learning the issues involved with producing meat - ethical issues, sustainability issues, production issues and health issues.
It was about looking at all the parts, and concluding that they all play an important part as to why I am vegetarian.


  1. This is a great post! I'm not a vegetarian but I've considered it for as long as I can remember. I love animals and I feel guilty partaking in the horrendous lives they live. :( But I think it would be hard to create meals without meat, it's hard enough to think of meals all the time, every day, with meat. I think it's great that you're so passionate about being vegetarian though. I hope that some day we all go this way and it no longer feels difficult, it just becomes life.

    Have fun with the rest of the challenge. :)

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I think you should definitely try some meatless meals! There are so many books and internet sites you can check out...maybe just try a few nights a week and see how it goes! :)