I was the last person who ever thought they would go vegetarian. I used to worship at the altar of meat and it featured in every dinner (and most lunches) I ate every day. BUT – I was also the first person to admit that if I had to kill my own animals for food then I probably would be eating spinach 24/7. I just knew there was no way I could kill something just so I had something to eat (especially when there were other alternatives that are just as delicious).
Now, this is not a blog about me saying that eating meat is wrong. Not at all. I don’t presume to make judgement calls on other people’s lifestyles, the entire content of this website is just my opinion of what has worked for me.*
It is however, a blog about integrity. I knew that I couldn’t actually kill an animal in order to eat it, but in our often de-sensitised, disconnected western world, I was able to just avoid thinking about it. Without seeing a farm, an animal or a slaughterhouse, all I was doing was buying something pre-packaged from a supermarket. My mind was able to disconnect from an action I felt went against my morals to what I was actively and happily putting into my body every day.
It wasn’t anything revolutionary that made me finally make the shift to a ‘plant-powered’ lifestyle. I’d like to say I was so moved for animal welfare that I was chose to turf the tush once and for all but in truth, it was simply a new diet designed to shift energy levels that lead me down this path. I was tired of feeling tired, of doing everything right like exercising and getting 8 hours sleep and still feeling unmotivated, exhausted and wanting to faceplant on my bed as soon as I got home from work. My research on the internet led me to discover Kris Carr, an amazing woman diagnosed with a rare stage 4 cancer who quit her job and changed her entire diet and lifestyle in order to heal her body. I was inspired to use her advice to do a 21 day detox to cleanse my body and get my energy levels pumping again. This detox included: no meat, no dairy, no alcohol, no sugar, no caffeine. (“no life!” I thought. But then again, I wasn’t feeling like I had much of a life when I was so tired all the time either!) Now I didn’t exactly follow everything to the letter: I think I had a glass of wine during the detox when a friend was over from London and I had a couple of coffees as well, but I stuck to my no meat mantra. At first I had no idea what to cook, but after finding some awesome recipes filled with beans and lentils and wholegrains I noticed that I actually didn’t miss meat. I was forced to be a bit more creative with spices and flavours instead of relying on meat to be the star attraction on the plate.
When my detox ended, I allowed myself to go back to meat but after the literature I had read about its effects on our body I wasn’t in a huge rush to load myself up with it, and when I did finally have some steak again, I realised that I just actually didn’t like it all that much. Not enough to balance out all the other factors anyway.
This then led me to reading more and more about our diet and how it effects our health and then, finally, to the process of animal farming and to watching the chilling movie, “Earthlings”. For anyone who’s seen that, you can imagine how that was the final nail in the coffin of my decision.
As someone who used to give the confused “but – why?!” look to people when they told me they were vegetarian, I’m now finding myself on the other side of the gaze. It’s a strange topic: whether you eat meat or not is often as polarising as whether are a smoker or non-smoker. No one seems really bothered by the type of car you drive, but if you don’t eat meat then it triggers some emotion that is deep-seated in people… I think the important thing is just to stay true to yourself, treat other people’s opinions with kindness, and remember to keep your sense of humour!
I choose to be vegetarian now for many reasons: my own integrity, my health and wellness and my feelings around the idea of caring for animals. That’s why the recipes that I post on this site will all be healthy and all be vegetarian. I find that I have much more passion now when I’m creating my meals through knowing that I’m putting more veges into my body and creating a diet that is kinder to my body and aligned with my values.
If you are suffering from low energy you could try cutting back on meat and dairy – it definitely made a difference in my energy levels!
*Most health experts do agree that generally we should be cutting down our meat consumption, and there are certainly many arguments for becoming vegetarian when you look into the realms of animal welfare and climate change as well. If you’re interested in exploring these subjects further I suggest reading “Crazy Sexy Diet” by Kris Carr (cancer survivor and wellness warrier) or “Thrive” by Brendan Brazier (vegan Ironman).