After reading about how Lloyd transitioned to a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle (you can see the post here), I thought it would be fun to share my own experience.
Grab a cuppa, this is going to be a long one.
My name is Simone and I’ve been a vegetarian for twelve years.
And yes, that was totally supposed to sound like the introduction to an AA speech.
Up until then I had eaten meat my entire life without any kind of second thought. My favourite meat was chicken and if it was drizzled in lemon then all the more reason to eat it.
KFC was a Saturday staple in our house for years when I was growing up. I’d either join my dad and wait in the car whilst he bought a big bucket or I’d sit at home waiting in anticipation whilst I geared up for my Saturday in with my chicken and an episode of Charmed.
When I think about that now my nostalgia is tinged with mild nausea.
There was nothing about my upbringing that would have made me think any differently and I was pretty ignorant about the fact that my food didn’t have a face therefore it was just food. Where it came from I didn’t know and quite frankly never thought about.
Years later I made friends with two brothers who changed my life. They were the first vegetarians I had ever met and I was kind of in awe. They weren’t ashamed to tell anyone they were vegetarians; in fact they enjoyed speaking about it and were more than happy to share the research they had done on the subject. All of a sudden meat was no longer just this fleshy juicy food that I’d been eating my whole life. Meat was a cute bird that had been taken away from its mother; had it’s neck twisted to the point that it snapped, hung upside down on a conveyor and had its feathers plucked from its body before being prepped to become our food.
It left me shocked and upset. How could this be the norm? Don’t we eat animals that die from natural causes? It was a true awakening.
The change to being a vegetarian didn’t happen overnight (as much as I wished it could have). I managed to not eat meat for a whole week and then OOPS – I had a ham sandwich.
But…that was the last ham sandwich I have ever eaten!
I would like to have said that I had a supportive network at home in the early days but that wouldn’t be true. I think nowadays a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle is much more accepted but back then it was a still relatively new ‘movement’ that belonged to activists and hippies. My parents scoffed at me becoming vegetarian and thought it was a passing phase. Nobody tells you that to be a vegetarian means to have to be a ninja turtle (i,e have a hard shell) – and if you don’t have one then you better bloody grow one quickly.
The people who were supposed to support me the most left me in tears on more than one occasion. All of a sudden the fact that I was and am naturally pale was because “I don’t eat meat.” I was ridiculed, given health “advice” from people who had no right to tell me what was healthy and what was not, I was judged regularly for my choices and I couldn’t go a Christmas without my choices being brought to the limelight in ways that were only ever meant to get a kick out of everyone else but me.
This is rarely the case these days; my parents have now fully accepted that being vegetarian comes as part and parcel with me and although I will occasionally be the brunt of a joke here and there especially from colleagues I know it’s in jest.
When I became a vegetarian I must admit that I didn’t know a thing about food. My idea of cooking was to boil some pasta and toast some bread thus pasta and bread became my staple foods. I remember often feeling very tired and it was obviously because my diet was so bad at the time.
I’m happy to say that things are so different nowadays!
Being a vegetarian is something that has became a part of my identity. There is so much more to life than eating meat and contributing to the ethical and environmental issues that there are in the world. Lloyd being vegetarian too makes everything easier and although he is THE chef, I also partake in some cooking from time to time and we have some amazing vegan recipe books to assist us. Although I mostly eat vegan I don’t class myself as vegan…yet. I still eat cheese from time to time even though I’m lactose intolerant and it kills me (I’m a glutton for punishment). I think that I’m ready to take the next step but that will come with having our own place. Our own kitchen, our own fridge and freezer and our own fully stocked pantry.
All in all the road has been a bumpy one but it’s a journey that has been worth every second.
Do you have a story you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments!