Proud to be Vegetarian

Come this August, I’ll have been a dedicated Vegetarian for 5 years. One of the most common questions I get asked by family and friends is, ‘Do you miss meat?’ My question has been from the beginning: No. And it’s 100% true – I don’t. Why not? My body feels better, for one, though I still have weight to lose to make myself healthier. I’m not clogging up arteries as much or weighing my gut down with undigested and tainted meats. I feel better emotionally, for not eating cows, goats, chickens, ducks, lambs, fish, etc…But above all, I feel more like a whole person, and that I’m making a difference in saving the lives of animals…and my children are here to see all of this.

Other questions I’ve been asked more than once:
Is being a Vegetarian hard?
Do you only eat salads?
How do you eat out?
Isn’t buying Organic more expensive?
Why are you raising your kids Vegetarian?
Do you ever ‘cheat’?
When will this diet phase end – you’ll eat meat again, won’t you?
(And my all-time favorite to hate) But, where do you get your protein?

Well, I’ll answer those for you…

  • For me, no, being a Vegetarian is not hard. I made the choice for the right reasons (for animal rights, environmental reasons, and of course, my health). Any choice we make in life is easy to live with if you made it for the right reasons.
  • I love salads – it’s a fantastic way to pack in a bunch of fresh veggies and fruits (as well as nuts, too!) into one dish. But no, I don’t only eat salads. A plant-based diet means you can eat any veggie, fruit, grain, legume, nut, or meat-replacement. I eat colorfully and with variety.
  • I eat out like I would eat at home – with the exception that if I go somewhere new, I ask about what their foods are cooked in (lard for example, is a no-no…as are oils that have animal products in them like oyster sauce). If I eat Mexican, I usually omit the rice and beans, as often times they are cooked with chicken stock. But I have my favorite places to eat that are Vegan, like The Loving Hut.
  • Yes, buying Organic CAN be more expensive…but if you find the right places to shop and take advantage of local markets, you can find great deals on organic foods.
  • Some parents freak out and look at me as if I’m a monster when I explain that my son has never had meat and my daughter has been a Vegetarian for half of her life. She was 5 when I made the choice for myself, and I did ask her what she wanted to do. In all reality, if a child understood that an egg would grow up to be a baby chicken, and that their burgers from McD’s are actually made from ground up cow parts…most kids would be appalled and refuse to eat such things. Children are more compassionate and innocent than adults. My daughter made the choice herself, and she wants to be a full-blown Vegan for the rest of her life. As for my son, he was only 1yr old and didn’t have much of a choice. But he also understands it now, and doesn’t see why some kids eat chickens and turkeys and baby goats. He doesn’t ‘get it’ because he’s been raised slightly differently than most kids his age.
  • I don’t ever cheat on meats, though there have been times when we were served something that had meat by accident, in which instinctively spit out (recently my hubby brought home rolled tacos stuffed with a vegetarian potato filling…and one of the rolled tacos had beef in it). There have been other times when we’ve refused to eat something simply because I didn’t know what the ingredients were. Some might find this anal – I call it being aware and conscientious of what I put in my body.
  • As for my diet being a phase – it’s not. This is my lifestyle and nope, I won’t be eating meat down the road. I feel very certain and passionate about that. Once the connection is made between animal and food, I can’t go back – nor would I want to.
  • Where do we get our protein? Bwahahahahahahah! Look up your favorite vegetables and fruits online some time – and you’ll see that many are PACKED with protein. I’m not kidding…having a full serving of broccoli is like having a serving of lean meat. Most of us are not raised with a nutritional degree, so this is something I had to learn myself, when making the switch to a Vegetarian lifestyle. I suggest those who truly think a Vegetarian or Vegan don’t get enough protein in their diets research the topic thoroughly. Another thing to remember is that (especially in the USA) people eat more protein than they actually need.

On top of what I put inside my body – just as important is what I put on my body. We do our best to ensure our clothing, shoes, accessories, etc…are man-made with synthetic or natural fibers. No leather. No suede. No products that are tested on animals. I keep our house clean of this stuff. I’m comfortable in my own skin – and want animals wearing theirs. And if you know anything about animal-testing, you know how awful the industry is. I don’t want any part of it. And neither do my kids. Last time I was in a particular store, we were walking through the rug section and my five-year old son noticed a cowhide hanging on display. I didn’t say anything to him about what it was, other than to honestly answer his question of ‘Is that real cow fur, mommy?’ He was appalled and confused that someone would want cow skin as a rug in their home.I don’t lie to my kids about the world. I protect them from the worst parts, but I also want them to know the truth about it when they do ask.

Is it really wrong for my son to grow up respecting animals and their right to live beside us without fear of being tortured, eaten, or skinned alive?

Is it really wrong for my children to look at me as an adult who has compassion for animals that suffer and die at the hands of humans?

Is it really wrong for people to know more about what they eat and what they wear, and the truth about what the process entails?

My answer to those three questions is a big and fat NO. It’s not wrong. It’s about awareness. That’s what it is. Be aware of what you eat, of where it came from and the process it took to get to you. Be it meats, dairy, vegetables or fruits. I just ask for people to open their eyes…and see.

I don’t want people to see me as a hippie freak – I want them to see why I’m proud of being a Vegetarian.

vegetarian-plate

10 thoughts on “Proud to be Vegetarian

  1. Suzie says:

    I think everyone has to do what they think is best for them. If a vegan lifestyle makes you happy, then good for you! I don’t think you should be judged for it, though that should apply in reverse to meat eaters as well.

    I could never be a vegan. Anytime I go without meat, I’m starving. My body just processes vegetables extremely fast. Even pastas and rice, no matter how much I eat, will leave me hungry a couple hours later. I hate salads. I only eat fresh veggies if I can dip them in ranch dressing and cooked veggies have to be smothered in melted butter. Despite that, my body feels awesome and I couldn’t be healthier. I work out, eat small portions, and have no extra weight to lose. So my diet works for me.

    It does bother me if animals are mistreated in slaughterhouses, and I do wish they’d improve conditions, but it won’t stop me from eating meat. If I had the time, I’d go out and hunt for my own meat, making it as painless as possible for the animal. I’ve done it before. God knows just about any other way they might die would be far worse than me doing it. There are places in the world where before travel and trade became easier the only choice was meat for most of the year. This is particularly true of the far north such as in Alaska. Back before transportation improved, the only thing people could eat is fish and whatever animals they hunted.

    The human body is a remarkable thing that can adapt well to whatever environment we are in. There are places where people can’t afford the luxury of meat and so they go without it because they have no choice. They certainly survive. So we can go either way, but honestly I’m pretty sure I’d die without chicken, beef, and eggs in my diet. Life wouldn’t be worth living.

    Kudos to you, though, for taking a stand on your own dietary choices. If it works, why change it? I sure as heck don’t care what anyone says about my food choices 🙂

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    • hodgescheryl says:

      Well said Suzie (; I myself love fruits and veggies I do eat a small amount of meat sometimes when my body craves it. A few years ago I was diagnosed with RA and fibromyalgia I had been told by some health guru’s and a few other sufferers that if I stopped eating animal hormones, meat,milk,etc..that I would start feeling better within a year! A year in a half later nothing changed in fact my hair started falling out and I was getting sick often. I knew RA caused few of the effects I was having, like being tired, but had nothing to do with these NEW problems so my medical doctor told me to go back to my regular diet ( with meat) and within a month there was a major improvement with my health, my hair immediately stopped thinning and “I” felt better than before I changed my diet originally. So yes, I agree that we as “individuals” need to do what’s best for us and our bodies, I’m a big believer now in giving my body what IT craves. Of course I’m not miraculously healed from RA and fibromyalgia but I haven’t felt as bad as I did when I changed my diet (( ;

      Like

  2. Ty_Savoy (@Ty_Savoy) says:

    A good new documentary movie out last year – ‘Speciesism, The Movie’. SpeciesismTheMovie.com

    The young filmmaker, Mark Devries explores the issues of animal exploitation in a way I’ve never before seen on film.

    The film is out on file sharing torrent sites.

    Like

  3. Todd Jordan says:

    Amazing Trish. So much compassion, not only for the life of self and others but for animals, and the relation of all of this to your children is fascinating. Your blog really makes me think. Thank you…

    Like

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