Becoming vegetarian

I’m a vegan now, but I wasn’t always.

At age three I had an epiphany and made the connection between what I was eating and where it came from. But being young, I was easily fooled. Call it “chicken” and I wouldn’t eat it; call it “meat” and I would.

For me, meat was a frozen patty in a box in the freezer. I hadn’t really thought about the connection until I was ten. That’s when I moved from Toronto, a large metropolis where it’s easy to be removed from the origins of food, to a tiny, farming town in Germany.

Jean and AlineI was already shunning fish. Especially if I’d bite in and see a chunk of scaly skin. I started passing fish sticks under the table to my dog. But when I saw the local butcher kill a pig in the driveway of a neighbor’s house, my meat-eating days ended. I was in the back seat of the family car and we were driving away. To this day, I can picture the scene in slow motion. The blood, the cruel smiles on the kids’ faces as they participated in the event. Ugh. It was a nightmare. I’ve always loved animals and I didn’t want to be part of that.

Fortunately, my family was practically vegetarian. My mother has never liked meat and didn’t object to my change in eating habits. I still ate eggs and cheese and drank milk, but I was becoming a conscientious consumer. I started to learn about food and what we need to be healthy.

The next year, I moved back to Canada. I packed PB&J for lunch and blended in with the other kids. I didn’t make a big deal about my choices and neither did they.

Not everyone thought me being a vegetarian was a good idea. When I was 15, a boyfriend begged me to eat a burger. That’s the only time I’ve fallen for peer pressure. I ate the burger but told him I wouldn’t do that again. He relented. A few months later though, just to be polite, I had a chicken casserole at his mom’s house. I realized that I couldn’t keep “being nice” so I explained to her that I didn’t eat meat and I didn’t lapse again.

My grandmother’s husband said I’d be dead by twenty if I stuck with a vegetarian diet. I called him on my twentieth birthday to remind him that not only was I very much alive, but I’d grown nine inches and gained about 40 pounds since I was ten (gained in a good way–I was tall and slim and healthy). He forgot his warnings though, so I didn’t have the pleasure of gloating.

Being a vegetarian suited me fine. I’d met a couple of vegans when I in college but thought they were a bit extreme. I mean, what was wrong with dairy and eggs? Luckily, in my mid twenties, a friend handed me a copy of John Robbins, Diet for a New America. It’s a book that changed my life. It was absolutely eye-opening. It led me on my path to veganism.

But that’s a post for another day.

6 thoughts on “Becoming vegetarian

  1. This is a great post! I am a vegetarian too and when you talked about people pressuring you, man I know what that feels like. Or when people think they are being rational and they say “but they are raised for us to eat” ugh!!

    Brittany Michelle
    blog.thesapphirebee.com

    • Thanks for writing! Isn’t that pressure the worst? Especially in high school. There’s enough to worry about. It was like someone wanted me to smoke crack or something: “Try it!” 😛

      Luckily I’m used to it or people got used to me. I don’t like the “raised for use to eat” argument either. I don’t think the animals are on board with that one! These days, I get “what about protein?” a lot. I’ll write a post about that soon!

      Thanks for visiting my baby blog! So glad to know another veghead 🙂

  2. Great post! I just heard about “being dead from eating vegetarian” from my father in-law last week! HA HA! We were having dinner at their house when they asked my why I didn’t eat the chicken, so I said ” I AM NOT EATING MEAT ANY MORE, I have become vegetarian” and the the first he said to me was that I would get sick:-) It is funny that I have not only become sick, I feel like million dollars and I feel how my body cleanses every single day! My skin cleared up however I always had break outs, and since stopped eating meet and most of the dairy products – my skin never looked better! So I know how it feels with all the pressure and having to explain to your partners, parents and friends why you made the choice you made! People think you are actually crazy and all I want to tell them is to ” DO YOUR RESEARCH people, be open minded, do not get stuck in the society where killing animals is a norm, and where antibiotics in food is another norm!” People are just to lazy to care about their health and about lives of animals that are being taken to feed humanity! That is really sad! THUMBS up for vegans who make this world a better place!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Thanks for commenting – Glad you like my story. It’s funny how so many people still associate being vegetarian with being sickly. I’m reading The China Study now, and it’s the opposite. Meat is unhealthy! You and I are proof that no meat does a body good. The cruelty, the antibiotics, the fat and cholesterol–the meat industry does a good job of hiding all that info!

  3. Hi there, thanks so much for sharing your story. There are so many similarities in our paths to becoming vegetarians/vegans and it’s great to be able to connect. Good luck on your journey, can’t wait to read the continuation. Much love, Donna x

  4. Thanks for stopping by. I looked at your blog too. It’s great to find other like-minded people. I love your non-judgmental attitude and how you write about “the journey” and how everyone has to discover compassion on their own terms. I agree. That’s the best way to make it stick. I admit impatience sometimes because I want the world to be better now. So I keep plugging away…

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