I would say I believed more in the pressure of following a certain diet as a thing that would make the world a better place until I tried to go vegetarian and then that changed my views on food, now I believe people should not be guilt tripped into making any health decision by a movement, maybe we all should learn what our bodies love and do more of that. To some being vegan works, to some, they feel less energetic, and all of these opinions are valid. With that being said, here’s how the idea came about…
I would say I’m quite adventurous, more of I don’t like the guilty of not knowing how it could have been if I tried haunting me, I have had it before, such unpleasant thought and guilt. After having a successful 2020 where I challenged myself not to buy any new clothes and give away the ones I don’t wear anymore, I decided to look for a new challenge to embark on in 2021, since I thought I could handle it. I mean I did, for six months, not bad for my first time not eating meat for that long.
I started out excited, like how I googled different dietary types, I knew the difference between vegan and vegetarian by heart, I decided to eat fish and eggs, I told my family about it and got support, after few weeks of jokes and them not believing me of course. I didn’t know how much meat was a part of our daily lives as much as when I started this challenge, I think when you abstain from something, that’ how a big deal it becomes to you and so I started to see meat everywhere and I had to order eggs as quickly as I can to hide away from meat temptation and me changing my mind.
I also realized the power of the message that we say when it comes to food, I have shared how I once read a study that branded a certain food as unhealthy, only for another study suggesting that we add the same food to our meals years later. I think that was when I realized maybe I just need to explore with my food, but also during the challenge is when I saw how different groups that support different dietary options brand the actions of people who eat differently from them. Let’s take an example vegans, they have been known for saying stuffs like “my body would not be a grave for a dead animal”, a message like that makes a vegan feel good and it can gross a meat eater, but is not a strong reason why one would go vegan, or at least stay one for a long time. Like we are all in one way or another storing dead things, plant needs the soil to grow, the soil is made up of a lot of dead organisms as well, but maybe I’m overthinking the statement.
There’s also the notion of a healthy diet, healthy vs unhealthy foods. I think a certain lifestyle as a whole can have healthy options but it doesn’t mean it is healthy for everyone to follow the lifestyle or everything that’s labeled and recommended by that lifestyle is healthy. In my kind of thinking, the food that is healthy is the one that comes directly from the soil, per the book I’m reading called Lose Weight, Feel Great (which is the best health book I have read so far), it has to have one ingredient.
But recently there have been a lot of processed food marketed as healthy, I think we are getting confused by marketing and branding. This also puts a lot of guilty in the way we eat, which makes us enjoy the food less, you know how you eat chicken and think it’s unhealthy or it’s something you shouldn’t be doing because it is ‘junk food’. Food is just food, to be enjoyed and not eat it while you feel guilty because of the messages you have heard, how different is that from you calling people ‘dirty’ for eating a certain food that you are not used to eating, a lot of these messages make us guilty when eating, but they do nothing to change our longtime dietary choices.
Anyway, if you have been planning to go vegetarian, here’s some tips that will help you in your deitary changes;
- Have a strong why and share with people close to you so that they can hold you accountable. Don’t do it out of guilt, it never works.
- Have a plan for when you go to places where you know meat will be there, plan before you get to a wedding and they offer meat, know what you will do in the situation while you are on your way there.
- Replace meat with something, I did eggs. Like if everyone is having meat, train your brain to have something else that you think is of equal value to meat.
- Don’t have the mindset that it will be hard at the beginning, you never tackle a task that way. It’s not that hard, it’s just replacing meat for sometime
- Be creative and use this opportunity to play chef with your vegetarian options, discover veggies in a new light, love the veggies. If you cook something and you love it, make more of it, reward yourself.
I have found this new way of thinking about health and food and also listening more to my body more liberating for me than the guilt approach, I really enjoyed doing the challenge for six months, I fell in love with veggies and different ways of preparing them, I stopped because honestly my BIG WHY was guilt, and by now you know which message in particular made me feel guilty.