Four hundred days and forty pounds ago, I became a vegetarian.
After a full year of not eating animal meat, I must say that I've never felt better. I recently got a full check-up, including extensive blood tests and learned that I was in top shape. My protein, iron, b-vitamins and the rest were all happily in check. Well, everything minus a vitamin-d deficiency, that's only natural when you live in a place like Seattle.
Thinking back, becoming a vegetarian wasn't as hard as I originally thought it would be. I would go through phases where I would try out vegetarianism, but it never stuck longer than a week or so because I had no clue on how to sustain a healthy vegetarian diet and couldn't imagine a life without unagi sushi rolls or hot dogs at a baseball game. Then one Sunday afternoon, after lamenting to a vegetarian friend about feeling unhealthy, he suggested I consider vegetarianism. My roommate at the time had Peter Singer's The Ethics of What We Eat in his bookshelf, which complimented this suggestion, so I picked it up and read it cover-to-cover that same afternoon. That was one of many books/videos I devoured in a few weeks time--ranging in topic from Indian cookbooks to basic nutrients that every diet needs.
While I had read about, and seen mistreatment of animals before, this time I had done it; I had scared myself into never being able to eat meat again. I could no longer call myself an animal lover and continue to eat them.
Fortunately for me, I had several changes begin at once -- moving into a new apartment, promotion at work, actually utilizing my gym membership, quit drinking, you get the idea -- so ditching meat hardly seemed foreign and new, as everything at that time felt foreign and new.
Just weeks after switching my diet from animal-based to plant-based, the weight began to fall off. Granted it was a stressful time both personally and professionally, the numbers were surprising (take note of the image to the right, showcasing my former size-14 pants compared to now).
One year later, my friends no longer try to entice me back to omnivoreland through short rib all-you-can-eats; my family no longer interrogates me on where I'm getting my protein. In this last year, I've rediscovered Seattle and my very own kitchen. I've learned how vegetarian/vegan-friendly certain joints in this city can be, and to sing their praises so they don't go out of business. My own kitchen has quadrupled in function and equipment. Top Ramen is no longer apart of my weekly menu; I now have favorite chefs, know the many wonders of a spring foam pan and am considered a foodie by some.
To infinity and beyond (OK, I may have seen Toy Story 3 this weekend and it's still rubbing off); I love being a vegetarian and look forward to many more years!
- Marilyn: valzulu
- Before/after: tis my current self in my former self's pants