My Vegetarian Click

Since Mark and I married 11 years ago, we haven’t been huge meat eaters.  I’ve served the staple vegetarian meals of spaghetti w/jar sauce and bean burritos for a very long time.  About three years ago we saw the movie “Fast Food Nation” (never read the book though) and our attitudes were forever changed as far as beef was concerned.  We immediately decided to give up burgers, steaks, and the like.  Since Mark has always been anti-pork and doesn’t like fish that much, it left us with just chicken.  As time passed we ate less and less chicken.  It would be on the menu about twice a week and I’d always nonchalantly say “We don’t eat that much meat, I wish I could just be a vegetarian.”  But I grew up, like a lot of people, in a culture where every meal revolved around the meat so it never seemed like a realistic goal.

Then in February of 2008 I was at a birthday party at my neighbor’s house and sat down with a plate of meatballs.  Mark arrived late to the party with Callee (b/c she’d been napping) and as he entered I said “Hey, try the meatballs. They’re really good.”  He looked at me in utter disbelief.  I said “WHAT?” Then instantly answered my own question.   Shit!  I’d forgotten that I didn’t eat beef.  It had been almost a year and I’d had a complete brain fart and eaten red meat!  I felt so guilty and a little sick because of it. It was a few weeks later that my click occurred and I became a vegetarian.

I was reading “Divine Guidance: How to Have a Dialogue with God and Your Guardian Angels” by Doreen Virtue, Ph.D. and I got to the part where she described how she came to be a vegetarian.  She is an intuitive and one day asked for guidance on how to have a clearer “vision.”  The guidance she received was that she should remove meat from her diet.  The moment I read that I KNEW it was what I had to do also.  I didn’t know why, it just made sense at the time.  I had been casually, even jokingly, saying it for months and in that moment I decided to do it.  That night I prepared our last chicken dinner and I haven’t looked back since.  It was February of 08 but I don’t remember the day.

In the beginning people would ask me why I was a vegetarian.  I didn’t really know.  My standard answer was “all the reasons I guess…health, animals, the environment.”  I have since learned more and have some details to add to my whys.  I won’t get into them here, but a couple of documentaries (Food Inc. and The Corporation) were very eye-opening in showing the treatment of animals by big companies as well as some of the tricks of the trade that are not only harmful and painful to the animals but to us when we consume them.  I also read the book Skinny Bitch, which I highly recommend (if you can handle some pretty R-rated language) for learning more about what is in our food and what the animals have to go through before becoming our food.

Being vegetarian is a choice I’ve made for myself only.  My family has the option to eat what they want.  Bella is a self-made vegetarian.  We learned that the hard way when we once tried to force her to try chicken.  Callee eats chicken nuggets and turkey sandwiches whenever she has the opportunity and Mark keeps his chicken intake down to 2 times a month or less.

I don’t believe everyone should be vegetarians.  I think our bodies are all different and thus we need different diets to sustain ourselves.  I know for me it works and I have never felt healthier in my entire life than I have since I gave up meat.  Other people have different reactions though when they try to go veg.  I do think it is important to be informed and ask questions about whether or not companies are humanely treating the animals and the employees and also look for products that don’t contain hormones and antibiotics.  But other than that, I have no recommendations for what other people should or shouldn’t eat.  Do what feels right for your body.  The body will let you know and it’s up to you to listen and act!

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6 thoughts on “My Vegetarian Click

  1. Renee December 11, 2009 / 8:21 am

    When people hear I’m vegetarian, they assume it’s for health and I always have to explain that, no, it’s not about health (for me). It’s about guilt and nothing else. I just can’t stop thinking about the animals dying just so I can have food. They also assume I eat fish and sometimes even that I eat chicken!

    But I feel the same, that it’s my choice for myself and everyone else can do what they want.

    I also once had a friend go on and on about how it wasn’t possible to be a vegetarian and be overweight, so I pointed out that even a vegan can eat an entire bag of potato chips. 🙂

    • lesleehorner December 11, 2009 / 2:12 pm

      When I became vegetarian my friend Susan actually warned me about people she knew gaining weight b/c they started overdosing on carbs. I’ve done pretty well though and have found a healthy balance. I’ve maintained my weight longer than ever in my life!

  2. julian December 11, 2009 / 2:05 pm

    Hey Leslie… long time no hear, huh. Sorry I haven’t been by in a while.

    A few years ago I ate vegetarian for about seven months. I had thought about it for a couple of years or so but there was a girl I met who really presented the idea to me in such a way that pushed me to eating that vegetarian. Of course it didn’t hurt anything that I was crushing on her and wanted to date her. 🙂

    Anyway, my reason was for spiritual aspects but after short while my body began feeling (the only way i know to describe it is) weird… kind of weak or flimsy.

    So I went back to eating meat. I try to limit my consumption to very small portions and always give thanks and prayer for the life that was taken so that mine could continue.

    • lesleehorner December 11, 2009 / 2:18 pm

      I stopped by your blog last week. I wanted to listen to your band again, but couldn’t find the link to it.

      I went to a nutritionist who really buys into the whole blood type diet thing. Supposedly type O’s need to eat meat. (But my friend Renee is an O and has been a vegetarian for a while without any issues, so who knows.)

      It is great that you do the blessing thing. Did you ever read the book “Mutant Message Down Under”? Your comment reminded me of that…

  3. Erin December 14, 2009 / 8:24 pm

    I’ve debated becoming a vegetarian for months now, but I feel off when I eliminate meat entirely from my diet. I figure my body knows what it needs, so now I only buy happy meat. I mostly eat chicken, so I buy happy chickens that led normal, barn roaming lives. The more I read about the food industry, the more horrified I become – my outrage is mainly on behalf of the animals, but I know there are so many other reasons to be outraged including the health of people, the health of the environment, and how all of these things are in a lot of danger. 😦

    Anyway, I think my biggest trouble with going veggie is that my body needs protein or it feels funny. I was not able to get enough without the occasional chicken. What do you do to get protein? I don’t know if I’ll ever go completely veggie, but I am content with the direction I’m currently moving with my diet (less meat, happy meat, but some meat to keep me feeling balanced). 🙂

    • Renee December 15, 2009 / 7:58 am

      You should be able to easily get plenty of protein going vegetarian. There is a ton of protein in beans, soy, many fruits and vegetables, whole grains (my bread has 4 grams of protein per slice). And if you continue eating dairy products and eggs, there is a TON of protein in those products (cheese, yogurt, milk, eggs, etc.).

      If you aren’t able to get enough protein without meat, you’re probably not eating a healthy, well-balanced diet. You need to do more research and make an effort to get those foods.

      I just had a physical and full blood workup in August. I’ve been vegetarian almost two years. I feel great and my protein levels were very solidly in the healthy range.

      Leslee mentioned the blood type diet, which says people with type O “need” meat. Well, I’m O+, so there goes that theory. 😉

      Honestly, though, being veggie isn’t for everyone. If it’s something you really want, then do it and make it work for you. If it’s not something you want, then don’t. I can’t speak for everyone, but *I* won’t judge you either way. 🙂

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