March marks the 10 year anniversary of my life sans meat. When I was 15, I became a pescatarian. Ten years have some how gone by, and I couldn’t let it go without a celebration! To celebrate, this whole week will be dedicated to vegetarian meals, recipes, and lifestyle. Happy Veggiversary!!
When I first stop eating meat at 15, I did so for many reasons. I no longer liked the idea of eating animals. I wanted to eat a diet more focused in vegetables and fruit. I enjoyed the reported health benefits of a diet without meat. I tried to be a vegetarian once before, when I was 13, and that time I didn’t eat fish. It was especially hard, because my parents didn’t understand my decision and decided I had to prepare most my meals on my own. This left me eating a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cereal, and junk food. I felt sick and found out I was pretty anemic. The whole experiment lasted only a few months.
When I was 15, I decided to give it another go, but this time decided to keep eating fish. I admit that fish are animals and deserve compassion as much as any other animal. My reasoning for eating fish is that it has allowed me to maintain not eating other meat over the past 10 years. If I cut-off eating fish, I fear that I would end up eating meat again. In honor of my Veggiversary, I am going to go the whole week without eating fish. Maybe I’ll realize that I don’t feel limited at all, and will continue from there. We all do what we can, right?
Over my last ten years sans meat, I have seen the world change a lot – at least my little corner of the world. In 2001, there weren’t many vegetarian options offered at restaurants. Sometimes I would find a veggie burger, but often I would be stuck with a salad minus the meat. I often felt restricted when I went out to eat. Supermarkets stocked some vegetarian products, but not many. Morningstar was already producing their chick patty’s though, so I focused on eating those for many meals. In fact, I still eat those a few times a week. I am a fool for Morningstar products.
In the last few years, I have seen vegetarian options skyrocket. I am sure this also has something to do with me moving from suburbia to international-Washington, DC then to vegan-friendly Ithaca, and lastly to we-have-everything NYC. Still, even in my hometown, I feel that every restaurant has numerous vegetarian options and most supermarkets are stock full of meal starters for the non-meat eater.
Also, when I first became a vegetarian, I knew literally one other person who was one. Now, a lot of my friends are either vegetarians, pescatarians, or try to eat a reduced-meat diet. It is not that I am seeking out people that don’t eat meat, it’s just that I believe more people are becoming conscience about the food they consume, and it has thus lead them to reduce their meat consumption. I even feel that I’ve had to justify my decision to forgo meat a lot less in the past few years. Maybe the world is waking up to the idea of a less meat-based diet? Or maybe it’s just becoming friendly to those of us who choose that path? Probably the later, because Americans still love their hamburgers, but still, it’s a welcome change.