With the nationwide trend of “veganuary” and “I am vegan now” in fine swing, I thought it might be time to see what all the fuss is about. Taking baby steps, I decided to become a vegetarian first and then perhaps in the future to cut out dairy and all other animal products. How hard could it be really?
I had plans to write this blog post when I first turned the corner but then decided to wait a while and see how I went. It has now been three months since I made the choice to become a vegetarian and I really do wish I had done it sooner.
A little background first for you may be better to try and put things into context. Growing up we did have meat dishes on the table but it was mostly chicken, pork or sometimes beef. Therefore, I feel that I didn’t have much exposure to the more exotic dishes (like duck, rabbit etc) until I hit my late teens / mid twenties. Preferring the vegetarian option whenever I would go out, I was not very adventurous when it came to meat.
When I was into the gym and training it was always chicken and veggies as a staple so I guess meat was a regular part of my diet. But I never really enjoyed it. If I went to someones house for tea I would always really dread having to eat meat but try and be polite and eat it anyway. That, or my husband would quickly swap my meat for his veggies and we would compromise to eat the best bits that we both liked.
Vegetarian food has always interested me because it is more varied. Having quite a few friends that were vegetarian meant that I was always experimenting with new dishes whenever they would come over for a get together. Looking down on my plate and seeing one bit of meat and a side just made me feel like I was eating to exist rather than to enjoy. So I knew things had to change and soon.
Midlife changes (crisis)
This August, I went for a birthday meal at my favourite restaurant and it was like a little switch was flicked. I said to my husband – “I am going to become a vegetarian.” Queue eye roll.
Being naturally creative, my mind is always buzzing with ideas and I think that he just thought that I was “having one of my brain waves” and that it would be nothing more. “You will miss bacon though G.” – he wasn’t wrong.
Three months on – bacon is probably the only thing that I do miss. Recently, I did try a close alternative in the quorn bacon range that was just about okay – but I guess it is true that nothing really 100% replaces bacon. However, knowing that I haven’t eaten any animal makes me feel comforted so I can do without bacon for that reason. People have all sorts of different reasons for changing their diets, becoming vegetarians or vegans etc. About 95% of my own personal reasons are to do with taste preference and wanting to actually enjoy food rather than moral or political reasons.
Things I have found easy:
- Labels. Food is labeled really well as suitable for vegetarians and normally includes a V on the front also which is really easy to spot.
- Vegetarianism seems to include a lot of vegetables and cheese – both of which I adore.
- Cooking is fun again! How many ways can make vegetables interesting? Endless amounts it would seem.
Things I have found hard:
- Bacon – I miss that undeniable salty greasy taste (especially when hungover!!)
- Animal products are in a LOT of things that you wouldn’t first think. So many sweets contain hidden gelatine and colourings which contain animal products.
- Now handling raw meat makes me feel a bit yuk.