Our lifestyle editor Katie Hayward looks at the things that she learnt going Vegetarian.
“Before I opted to become vegetarian back in 2015, I had some setbacks about the idea of cutting meat out of my diet completely. It’s been over 1 year of no meat and I can say I am proud as well as feeling rewarded. Here are some of the things I’ve learned since becoming a Vegetarian:
It is easier than I first thought
I had friends who were vegetarian way before I was and I was always one of the people who would question “What do you eat?” because I was genuinely interested. Of course cheese, pasta and vegetables are your typical options, but what I was interested in was what to eat on a daily basis. When I first became vegetarian, I stocked up on Bean and Veggie burgers, panic bought cheese like it was going out of fashion and found myself honestly confused on where to look but eventually it became second nature to me. I didn’t miss bacon as I could easily buy a ‘fakeon’ which is exactly as the name depicts. Previously loved chicken was simply replaced with Quorn products, it was much easier than I thought and before I knew it, I had been meat free for over 1 month.
Some people are ignorant towards the meat industry
This is by no means a dig at meat eaters because I was one for over 20 years and I won’t lie and say I was always aware of the cruelty in the meat industry, because I wasn’t. There have been times I wished I was still ignorant towards it because then I wouldn’t feel guilty about eating a chicken ceaser salad or a carbonara, but if people actually took the time to watch the documentaries and read up on the meat and farming industry, I think they would be extremely shocked and consider rethinking their usual diet.
I don’t miss any meat products
In the past I’ve had meat eaters say to me “Don’t you miss bacon!? …I couldn’t live without Chicken” which has always grated on me, as if I missed Bacon and Chicken enough I sure as hell would still be eating it, but with so many vegetarian options to delve into, it doesn’t give me chance to miss them.
I haven’t lost weight or gotten any healthier
This was one of the main questions my friends and others around me would ask as soon as I mentioned I was vegetarian – “Are you doing it to lose weight?” I never became veggie to lose weight,but if it happened it would just be an added bonus. Sadly, that never happened and I’ve found myself replacing meat with carbs or cheese which is never the best plan. Vegetarian may be portrayed as the perfect lifestyle but it is nowhere near. Many vegetarian foods are packed with salt and sugar, just the same as processed meats. No matter what your diet, balance is key and processed foods should always be in lower supply.
I can still eat out and not be a ‘fussy eater’
This was one of my worries when changing over to vegetarianism, the fear of missing out on some of my favourite restaurants and finding new dishes to try, as well as not missing out on places friends wanted to go. Previously, I had never looked for a vegetarian option when I was a meat eater but I quickly found that all of the restaurants I have been to since have offered worthy vegetarian options.
Certain people can be extremely judgemental about your eating habits.
I never realised just how much food came up in conversation with friends until switching to a vegetarian diet. The subject usually arises due to people taking curiosity to what I eat at particular restaurants but can aptly lead to a (small minority) few individuals being extremely judgemental over my food choices, which seems wholly unfair as I would not choose to comment on their dietary decisions. A popular comment is “You’re not helping any animals by having that bean burger” – I completely understand this and have never actually said I would be helping, however, my preference is that I do not want to eat meat. In my personal opinion, I do not respect what the meat industry stands for but this does not mean I think I’m saving all animals or that I judge anyone else for their lifestyle choices.
All in all, I hope this gave a good insight to being a vegetarian for anyone considering giving it a try. Either way we are all free to choose our own preferences in life and should accept each other no matter what is on our plates.”
For more information on Vegetarianism visit the Vegetarian Society.
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