A lot of people say I’m impulsive. When I look back at some of the things I’ve done and decisions I’ve made, I’d have to agree. What I don’t agree with though, is saying it as a negative. Yes, I’m impulsive. It was an impulsive decision to go and work France for the summer when I was 20, which changed my life. It was an impulsive decision to go to the Philippines for three months, which ended up being the best three months of my life. It was an impulsive decision to leave my care job and make the full jump into marketing, which again was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
It was also a really impulsive decision to become vegetarian. We are not really a ‘carnivorous’ household anyway. The cats eat meat, but to be honest Lily Allen eats so much grass I reckon she could be swayed as well. There was no ‘big’ thing that made me make the decision. I saw a video of a little piggy on its was to the slaughter house, and I just thought “that’s it, that’s enough meat eating now”.
My goal was to start after holiday. There is so much Greek food I like that involves meat, I thought why not treat myself before I go for it. I spent my two weeks in Cyprus eating every animal going knowing that I would make up for it when I came back by committing to never eating them again. No fanfare, no big announcement, just a quiet decision not to eat animals that have been killed any more (unfortunately it will be very unrealistic for me to go vegan just yet because of my love for cheese).
I don’t really know what I expected. Fortunately I am no stranger to making diet changes. Because of my lactose intolerance I have to avoid milk like the plague unless I want to spend the next week off my tits on really strong codeine to combat the pain. So I walked into vegetarianism a bit cautious but also determined.
What I didn’t expect was how easy it really would be. After all, some vegetarians or vegans can’t go ten minutes without confirming to you that they are here to save all of the animals on the planet, so it can’t be something that is easy to do, can it? I mean, if it really is this easy, why are we all still killing cute fluffy little lambs?
Breakfast as a vegetarian is no problem for me at all. I usually favour crumpets or egg on toast. In actual fact, during my first couple of weeks, I went on a bit of a crumpet binge. They really don’t get enough credit, crumpets, in my opinion. They are always just quietly there in the background, not expecting any fanfare but saving you with their airy deliciousness and their holes that are able to be saturated fully with butter. I’m also surprised at the amount of people that do not put cheese on their crumpets. What the fuck are you up to? Sorry, but it is such an epic combination, I can’t help feeling like they should take kids aside in school and tell them, “Don’t have sex without protection, you will probably never EVER need to work out all of the angles of a triangle in real life and also, for the love of God, PUT CHEESE ON YOUR CRUMPETS”.
So breakfast was easy, but what about lunch? I’m one of those people who is partial to buying a salad from Sainsbury’s and filling it with turkey or chicken breast, because anyone that says a plain salad fills them up is a filthy liar and you should never trust them. This is where I thought the challenge would lie. But gloriously, I found a work around. Avocado, when added to a salad is filling af, and you can also smother it in cheese. Another life saving product from Sainsbury’s has been the Edamame bean salad and the vegetarian sushi. In actual fact, Sainsbury’s have proper had my back since I went vegetarian, and I have managed to earn myself a WHOPPING 128 Nectar points. THE MILKY BARS ARE ON ME.
Anyway, you would think dinner would present the biggest challenge, but it honestly didn’t. We ate a lot of vegetarian stuff anyway. Slow roasted vegetable pasta’s. Paneer tikka masala. Grilled halloumi, left right and centre. I have never eaten so many vegetables in my life, and as well as being healthier, it is a lot cheaper to fill your fridge with greens than it is to fill it with carcasses.
These all sound like small challenges in comparison to going out for dinner. Well another place that has had my back since going vegetarian is the Harvester. Ok, they are not the most glamorous of places, but when you have people to meet who have VERY different tastes then they are a no brainer. They just introduced the new menu at my one when I went out for dinner with a couple of school friends the other week, so I had the battered halloumi and fries. Let’s face it, if the Harvester have upped their vegetarian game, most restaurants will have now. If you are going to give it a crack, don’t worry about eating out, you’ll be fine.
In conclusion, what have the benefits been?
Well the main one is, I know I am not contributing to the little piggies being killed like the ones I saw on the Twitter video. It doesn’t make me feel particularly different as a person, but I know it counts for some good somewhere along the line.
The physical benefits have been more surprising. I know quite a few vegetarians, and I know quite a few staunch meat lovers. I’ve heard both sides of the story. I can see from a scientific perspective how both arguments carry weight. But for me personally, it has been the best thing I have ever done health wise. My IBS symptoms have all but gone. I still eat something that I probably shouldn’t on occasion and have to chill watching Gossip Girl while the pain passes, but it is no where near as often as it is when I eat meat. My mood has also been better (people that work with me may disagree, but I have never exactly been a ray of sunshine anyway). Since my life has become jam packed with vegetables, I have become more alert, more focused, and much to the disappointment of everyone around me I also have more energy. So much so that I’ve even broken my fidget spinner.
I never set out to make it a big thing (obviously this is what I am doing now, but I only want to write this for anyone thinking about it and thinking it may be really difficult). I never really set out a timeframe. I thought I’d try it an crack on for as long as I could, but honestly, it is so much less challenging than I thought, I highly doubt I’ll ever eat meat again. So if you are thinking about it, give it a try for a week, and see how you get on.
I am not a medically trained professional. If anyone mistakenly thinks I am and takes my advice as sound professional medical advice then you are an absolute melt. If you are thinking about giving this a go, there is plenty of information on the NHS website.