i grew up in a house of meat. nearly every evening dinner was worked around some form of deliciously prepared beef, pork, or chicken. i devoured it in all forms. my uncle was vegetarian for a portion of my childhood, but the idea didn't appeal to me till i was older. i had been researching and dabbling with the idea for several years before i actually woke up one morning and decided:
" this is it. it starts today."
i purchased a few fabulous books. stocked up on veggies, tofu, rice/beans, and leafy greens. and whispered a silent goodbye to the one meat dish that would occasionally tug on my heart strings: the juicy grilled burger. that day was months and months ago--and here i am. still going strong. i've gotten a lot of eyebrows. a lot of jokes on my behalf. a lot of sacrifice and thought from my family (especially during this holiday season). but it's all been fabulous.
i dabbled with the thought of giving up dairy too. for years i've drank only soy milk-- so i thought it might be possible to do the vegan thing. but i decided that the proteins and nutrients in some dairy-- eggs specifically-- were too important to give up at this time. maybe, in the years to come, as i become more versed in vegetarian recipes and foods, i can make that change if i feel strongly about it. but for now- the hard boiled egg and cheese are still making appearances on my plate.
the one thing people ask the most is how i feel. do i feel different? better? and the answer is, surprisingly, i do. i literally feel lighter. it's like my insides are floating in air. i feel fresh. not heavy. i'm still tiered after a long 12 hour shift. i still occasionally have to cover the dark circles under my eyes. kicking meat isn't a one-stop cure for all of life's woes. but it has greatly improved the way i feel.
as for why i chose this. the reasons vary. i desired this fresh feeling i now attain. but i had also dedicated myself to learning about WHERE my food came from. when you discover how the animals are treated. what toxins are forced upon them. and how unclean the processing is. you'll be emptying the freezer into the garbage can. i understand that we are exposed to substances everyday-- and that its impossible to free yourself from all of them-- but if i know there is something i can do to cut down on what i am exposed to-- i plan on doing it.
think about our world. so many children suffering with asthma. ADD. autism. allergies. things that were relatively unheard of, even 10 or 15 years ago, are now rampant. we wonder why many kids have hormonal imbalances. or why we have so many antibiotic resistant infections. and it can all be linked back to what we eat. when an animal is pumped full of growth hormone and give copious amounts of antibiotics to prevent infection, WE the consumer of such product, are ingesting the same things.
its the harrowing truth of our food industry.
the facts can be true of our veggies, as well. so i take great care in finding and purchasing organic or locally grown produce. even with my eggs--i make sure to purchase them from chickens that were not given antibiotics or hormones. and who were cage-free--not locked into windowless crates and force-fed.
it might seem like an impossible task to rid yourself these things. but i do what i can. i cannot turn a blind eye to it. and i don't want to.
it's not for everyone. but it's something i am oh-so-happy i have done for myself.