If you weren’t aware (because let’s face it, I’ve been fairly quiet on here of late), I decided to become a vegetarian about 6 months ago. It was something I’d been quietly toying with for a while, but found quite difficult to make the jump – I could hear my 11 year old self hounding my older sister for choosing to become vegetarian all those years ago.
But why would you limit your diet?
Why would you eat fake meat when you could eat real meat?
I guess I felt like a hypocrite for that. Though they say you become wiser with age…but that’s obviously actually really true. I was ignorant, partly because I was young but mostly because it was easier to be.
So what changed?
Well, obviously I grew up. And I’ve become more aware of what I’m eating. Suddenly these plates of food sat in front of me are the horrific slaughter processes they take to get there, the sad fact that these animals were alive for only one reason: to die, to be eaten. I decided that I didn’t want to be contributing to that anymore.
For my health
Another huge reason to go veggie for me, was health. A close family member had recently suffered a heart attack (and thankfully is totally fine now!) and came away from it knowing that they would need to change their diet. There are some meats that are linked with health issues (red/processed meat for example) and the guidance isn’t necessarily to cut it out completely, but reduce it to a small amount. The NHS website gives advice on that!
Reducing my environmental impact
Another massive reason to become vegetarian was the environmental impact. Reducing meat consumption reduces that impact: if a family of four switched to one veggie meal per week for a year, they’d save the equivalent of 5800 miles driven, 630 showers or 10 tennis courts worth of land! (Stats from Meatless Farm). Again – you don’t need to cut meat out completely to reduce that impact. There’s a great article about it from the BBC.
How I’ve benefitted from a vegetarian diet
I expected to be limiting my diet when I decided to become a vegetarian. After all, I was cutting out a huge part of my meals. But I actually think I’m eating a way bigger variety of food now. I’m trying new things all the time, falling in love with various cookbooks (Joe Wicks Veggie Lean in 15 and MOB Veggie are both absolutely incredible) and trying the ever-growing trends with alternative meats. Beyond meat burgers, Meatless Farm mince, anything Quorn chicken (the nuggets and pies are to die for!)… there’s so much choice and more and more big name brands are jumping on the bandwagon. I genuinely think it’s never been easier to be vegetarian!
And whilst I’m not fully vegan, plant-based milks have become a huge part of my life too. Coconut and almond milk especially taste amazing and add so much flavour. I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on so much great food!
I’m not perfect…
I think it’s also important to acknowledge that change, most often, does not happen overnight. I managed a full month before I caved and ate some chicken – which ended up being a fairly disappointing meal. I wavered a few times, to be completely honest. There were moments where I was in a restaurant and the only thing I wanted on the menu was a meat dish. If you’re considering going vegetarian, I think it’s important to acknowledge that you’re not a bad person for having those moments – especially at the beginning. 6 months down the road, I’m really put off of pretty much all meat now and I don’t have any of those cravings anymore. I can’t remember the last time I slipped up!
More than just meat
But I’m still getting there. Whilst I’ve successfully adopted a vegetarian diet, I know there are still things I could change. I’ve got a leather handbag (which, I can’t deny I’m utterly in love with – though not because it’s leather!), I am consuming a lot more cheese since going veggie – which is still contributing to a lot of the problems I’ve mentioned, I’m driving a car and I’m flying on planes. I don’t want to come across like I think I’m some almighty person just because I don’t eat meat anymore!
But one thing I will say, is that eating vegetarian food is more accessible (and enjoyable) than you think. I know it isn’t possible for everybody, but I’d really recommend giving it a try, even if it is just one meal/day per week. 🌱