I love celebrating and recognising milestones in my life, so today we have a celebration of my 25 years so far as a veggie. Now although I’ve touched on it a few times I’ve never written the whole post on my vegetarianism and how it has endured. So why not now?
I was brought up a meat-eater
As were most people in the early eighties I expect, my family were carnivorous. It was just the norm all around. Not knowing anything else as a young child I started eating meat. Even to this day, my Dad still serves meat, potatoes and two veg for dinner each and every night. Serving spag bolt is something a bit exotic. Even in 2019.
Now I wasn’t the best meat eater truth be told. I had a few texture problems. Gristle, gristle I hated the gristle. And the fat, I could get used to the fatty bits. And the bits that were too chewy, I couldn’t cope either.
But then I started questioning eating meat
I was a questioning child. Always keen to know more and asking why, why, why? If I received an answer I didn’t think was logical I started questioning more. And as I was disliking the actual eating of meat I was trying to understand why I had to eat it.
Being stubborn, strong willed and questioning is not a great recipe for an easy to raise child. Why do I have to eat it became the question. After a few refusals, my frugal and food waste averse parents started to realise this might be a real thing. Then slowly but surely I began to stop getting served meat.
Ethically I also did not like the idea of eating animals. They were living beings with personalities and feelings. Now I know they are born to enter the food chain, but that didn’t make it any easier for me. The idea still repelled me.
And cut off beef, then pork and chicken
And so I gradually stopped eating meat and animals one by one. Starting with beef, this was easily accepted as there were lots of BSE scares going round at this time as well. The menus started evolving and red meat was served less often, and I just had the potatoes and more veg. To be honest to this day, I still enjoy this sort of meal with lots of veg.
My gradual evolution to veggie continued with different meats being cut out, with the rest of the family still eating them apart from me. And so it began with small steps.
And finally fish
Compared to the speed of reducing my meat consumption, it took me much longer to cut out fish. As by then it was a big part of my diet, and my parents were worried about meeting my nutritional needs. Overcoming these barriers and dealing with their concerns took a lot of effort. I had to do lots and lots of research, and many library books were used for this purpose.
Then a true vegetarian
Once we had ascertained that I could physically survive, and even thrive without eating animals it was accepted that I could be a vegetarian. While being veggie was more difficult in those times given I was a child and we ate at home 99% of the time it was easy to evolve the menus to accommodate me.
At this time I started adopting the label of vegetarian and felt that I was a member of an unique club. Which made me excited. Inside I was contented I could live by my values.
Now 25 years a veggie
Nowadays I am still a proud veggie and have never ever regretted this decision. Which to be honest is one of the very few things I haven’t yo-yo’d about over the years. I guess it’s endured as I still fundamentally can’t get my head around the idea of eating animals and it still repels me.
Being veggie has been part of me for so long it’s now something I consider normal and part of me. And so do the others around me too.
It was harder initially
In most places in the UK, you could find places with one veggie item on the menu. Although in the more provincial towns, this was not always the case. France was well France. Everything comes with meat in it. Even dishes that are normally veggie, such a macoroni cheese , as I learned one year, come with ham. America was OK in big cities on the coast, but everywhere else served meat, meat and yet more meat.
When I travelled, I tended towards self-catering as food was so much easier to deal with. Local markets and supermarkets always stocked loads of veg and carbs. Which could be quickly transformed into a tasty meal. And there was always my backup choice of pizza. Even the most carnivorous nation has not yet served me meat on a Margarita pizza!
But is now cool today
Looking back, the change has been gradual. You used to have to search out the health food shops to get veggie sausages and homous. Now they are both commonplace in all supermarkets even the German budget ones.
And taking to further, veganism is now even more popular than vegetarianism. I still eat eggs and milk, hence I am veggie not vegan. Actually, truth be told most of my main meals are actually vegan. Vegan mains are always tasty and appealing to me.
Yet not necessarily healthy
I would never pretend being veggie is healthy. Most desserts are vegetarian, as are all cakes. And chocolate. As an owner of a very sweet tooth, I love cakes. And ice cream. And chocolate. Basically, all sweet things are good by me.
Morevover, I’d never advocate a veggie diet for healthy or weight loss reasons. It just isn’t the right prescription and you can still scoff plenty of crisps and cakes, which many of us veggies do.
What I eat as a veggie
To give you a flavour, here are some of my common meals.
- Porridge with jam
- Eggs and toast/beans
- Egg Sandwiches
- Scrambled egg, veg and sweet potatoes
- Salad sandwiches
- Salad with trains
- Veggie soup
- Veg curry
- Veg stew/casserole
- Beans and eggs
Over to you
- What are your thoughts?
- Are you vegetarian/vegan?
- Would you consider going veggie/vegan?