365 days. That’s how long it has been since I last ate a piece of meat. I think it was a chicken nugget.
I looked in the mirror that night, April 23, 2016, and said no more. Never again. And that was it. I didn’t go back on that promise, and I never will. At first, people tried to talk me out of it. They would tell me it wasn’t healthy to not eat meat, they would tell me I’d become severely anemic, protein-deficient…. the list could go on forever. I took each comment hurled my way, each piece of “advice” that I never asked for and it would go in one ear and out the other. Because I was done.
But it wasn’t easy. And I’m not going to pretend it was. I spent several months questioning this decision, not because I didn’t want to do it, but because of what other people were saying. They acted as if my eating habits were an annoyance.
Sometimes, even a year later, I find myself eating out with friends when one of them orders a cheeseburger. I want it. But only for a second. All it takes is me thinking about the life that was lost to produce that burger and the craving is gone. I had learned to separate my meal from the reality of what it takes to make it. I had to “unlearn” what society taught me about food. Every piece of meat, every chicken nugget, every rack of ribs, every chicken leg, came from a living, breathing, feeling animal. I couldn’t pretend to be against animal abuse and continue to eat the same way. I just couldn’t stomach that. Some people can. I’m not one of them.
This past year has taught me so much about my own habits and the consequences my choices have. And I’m not just talking about factory farming and animal abuse either. Yes, those two things are a huge part of my decision, but they are not the only two. I read anything I could get my hands on about diet and the environment and I was blown away by how much the two are related. Here is an excerpt from an article from Time Magazine, which I will link for you here.
“Livestock alone accounts for more than 14 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.”
It’s a conscious choice. And I make it everyday. It’s not something I take lightly and those who know me can tell you this. I’m not pretending to be perfect, not at all. There has been no meat at all but I can’t claim to be 100 percent vegan. That would do a disservice to all of you reading this right now. Since Thanksgiving of 2016, I’ve been making the transition to a fully plant-based diet. My weakness? Cheese. It’s not often, not at all, but every once in a while, a little bit of cheese will sneak its way into a meal. Mainly on pizza and pasta dishes. If I’m at home, there’s no cheese. It’s eating out that I lose the fight. And that’s ok. It’s a process and I’m still working on it. It’s been a year and I’m almost at the finish line.
But here’s the thing… there really isn’t a finish line. It is a lifestyle and that doesn’t end. It’s a choice I will be making for the rest of my life.
If you want to join me but aren’t sure how, I am here to help you however I can! Comment on this post, text me, email me, do whatever you need to do to get ahold of me and I will work with you to figure out what works best in your life! I have a tab on this blog full of vegan recipes, try some of those out! Start small. Meatless Monday is very popular right now, hop on that train and then see if you can go a week and then a month… just build up each time. Netflix is full of documentaries you can watch to learn more as well, I will make a list of some of my favorites for you, but I encourage you to find more or share more if you have a favorite!
Forks Over Knives
Making this change is something anybody can do. No matter where you live (I live in a small town with no Whole Foods within a 100 mile radius, so don’t even try that excuse), how much money you make or don’t make, how much time you have… you can do it. You just have to find what works for you. Meal prep on the weekends, start a garden if you can to save money, buy in bulk. There are so many options. We even have online markets now that make it accessible from anywhere. Nobody needs meat. The question is, are you willing to give up a craving to save a life?
*Emotional manipulation is not my style which is why I chose not to include any graphic photos. Some people say that those are fair game to share but I like to let people look for themselves. If you want to continue your own research, I would recommend taking a look at them. It’s a grim reality but I think it’s important to know what you are supporting and what you are funding.