Okay let’s start with a little disclaimer here: if there is one thing that I have learned after experimenting with different ways of eating, is that there are varying degrees of how many different foods people decide to exclude from their diet depending on their lifestyle. While most people think of the classic vegetarian as an herbivore that basically eats no meat, it’s really not that simple. There are various different ways of modifying one’s diet, none of which are really better for your body than another. It’s all about trying out different diets and deciding which ones make you feel the best about yourself and your body.
Personally, I have recently switched from being a full on omnivore (a person who eats all types of meat, animal products, and of course vegetables and grains) to a pescatarian that eats no meat except for fish and seafood. But for the rest of this post I’ll refer to myself as a vegetarian, mainly because pescatarian kind of sounds weird and I really rarely eat fish anyways.
Trust me when I say that becoming a vegetarian was never my idea. Sure I love eating healthy as much as the next girl, and I was definitely an animal lover at heart, but I was also the kind of girl who loved cheeseburgers and chicken wings.
For as long as I can remember, I had always been a bit of a foodie. Maybe my love of food began because of my many ethnic backgrounds (Greek, German, Jamaican, to list a few) and the ethnic backgrounds of my extended family (including Guyanese and even West African), or perhaps simply because my mom was a big believer in home cooked meals. Regardless the reasoning behind my culinary love affair, I know good food, and I was not one to discriminate against any kind of food that simply tasted good.
Sometime throughout my late childhood, probably when my mom realized that there are healthier options out there besides burgers and steaks, my family decided to completely cut red meat from our diet. For me it wasn’t a massive change; veggie burgers were a delicious option and I never really liked beef all that much anyways. A couple years later after my mom accidentally left the TV on a semi-graphic documentary about the unethical treatment of animals I decided vegetarianism was the way to go.
At first we were all on board but being a vegetarian was hard, especially for a kid who was barely eight. After a couple months we went back to our meat eating ways.
So flash forward to the present day. I ate a pretty average diet, eating vegetarian some days, and meat the rest. That was of course until one day we decided to pay a visit to an uber popular vegan restaurant. As my mom dug into her quinoa, kale, and sweet potato power bowl, it was like a switch ticked in her mind: vegetarian was the diet she wanted to fully adopt! Healthy, unprocessed, cruelty free food that was good for the environment and our bodies. What sounded better than that?
I, on the other hand, wasn’t quite convinced. I was the food lover, the spice queen, the flavor connoisseur. Being vegetarian meant giving up one of my favourite foods, chicken, for food that I viewed as flavorless and boring. I decided to compromise with my mother; I would increase the amount of vegetarian meals I ate as long as we could still eat meat occasionally.
So that’s what we did, and let me tell you the amazing effects it had on my mind and body. Suddenly I had more energy, less bloating, a wide variety of new, fresh meals, and a good conscience. By slowly reducing the amount of meat I ate, I realized that the vegetarian life was the one for me. However I still eat fish (so technically I’m a pescatarian) but that’s occasional and veggies and soy products are the main thing that make up my meals. Now I’ve found a little obsession with searching for new, delicious vegetarian recipes, and my Pinterest food board is growing steadily by the day. I feel invigorated and inspired by my new diet which has somehow increased my love for food, not decreased it like I thought it would.
I recommend vegetarianism to anyone who is considering a shift in lifestyle. Even to those girls most devoted to meat, I suggest incorporating more and more vegetarian meals into your weekly diet and research the many positives about becoming vegetarian. You’ll be surprised at how good you feel about your new healthy diet, the change your helping to make for our earth and animals and how amazing the food can actually be!
Love you all, Ana. ♥