For a long time, especially during and right after college, I declared myself with a playful smirk, ”an anti-vegetarian.” Not meaning I was personally against them or their beliefs, just that my personal diet consisted of pretty much everything but veggies. I loved pasta, fruits, nuts, grains, and especially meat. Gifted luckily with an above average metabolism, I grew up eating a diet (including copious amounts of junk food) that should have resulted in me competing in US Sumo Championships, but instead I stayed lanky, even skinny by many people’s standards.
Now as I sit here seeing the age of 40 crest just over the horizon, heading my way with unstopping and unslowing force, I started to tweak my diet a bit. I slowed way down on the red meat, almost never purchasing it to cook at home. I began eating more fruits and grains, and moving my meat consumption over to white meats and fish. I knew about vegetarianism, and beyond that the vegan lifestyle, but it wasn’t anything that I ever thought I would consider. Too much change to my routines. Too much change to my diet.
Whenever I was confronted with someone who asked me how I could eat meat knowing what happens to those animals on the factory farms and in the slaughterhouses, I would respond with admitted cognitive dissonance. I knew the horrors were true, I knew the terrors inflicted on the animals in my mind, but I made sure never to watch footage of those things and in avoiding that I allowed myself to continue eating what I wanted. I never mocked them for their choice, just admitted that it wasn’t one I was willing to make…yet.
Then I watched a documentary called Vegucated on Netflix, which listed it as a journey film watching three people try the vegan lifestyle for six weeks. My wife and I figured it would be safe, more about diet and food choices than anything else (which was mostly true). But about halfway through the six weeks, the three subjects went to a film screening which could easily be labeled “vegan propaganda”. Finally those images I had spent my life trying to avoid and ignore thrust in front of me. The revulsion, nausea and pain were immediate and lasting. I won’t go into details, suffice it to say it was effective.
My wife and I immediately decided to make a slow change over to vegetarianism with the longer goal being the vegan lifestyle. We need to be very careful and take it slow, not only to avoid the shock to our systems, but she has a lot of food allergies and we need to make sure she can still get all the nutrients she needs while still keeping an avoidance diet. Also, like I said, I grew up dodging veggies at all costs, so there are copious amounts of them that I have never tried and my palette is definitely not ready for a truckload of leafy greens for breakfast.
I figured this would be a nifty new subject line on the blog for anyone who ever wondered what making a change like this would be like. Follow along and feel free to jump in at any point along the way. If you have recipes for vegan dishes or have tried making the switch yourself, leave a comment below and share.
It’s been almost a week since we chose to make the switch and I didn’t want to write about it the very next day because I wanted to see if we were really going to move forward with it. As of now, the light is green and we are a go.