My one year anniversary as a vegetarian

Marilyn Monroe blowing out one birthday candle atop her cake

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.

My new self in my former pantsFortunately 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!

Images:

  • Marilyn: valzulu
  • Before/after:  tis my current self in my former self's pants
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Comments (8) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Bekka - July 6, 2010 3:03 PM

Congrats Ashley. I'm still an omnivore, but I like your blog anyways :)

Ashley - July 6, 2010 3:09 PM

Thanks and thanks Bekka! Your comment made me smile, as it reads like we're in AA or confession, and admitting how long it's been since our last indulgence.

Hope all is well with you!

Casey - July 8, 2010 9:30 PM

I just found your blog by doing my own research ect I beginning august 1st am going veg any pointers inspiration ect for a beginner?

casey - July 9, 2010 8:26 AM

congrats on your aniversary of healthy and concious living of vegitariansm. i along with my family on the first of august are giving up meat and switching to a vegitarian lifestyle any pointers for beginners?

Ashley - July 14, 2010 6:18 AM

Casey--

Thanks for your comment, and congratulations on your Aug. 1st decision to move your family to a vegetarian diet -- that's exciting! I intend on writing more blog posts to help newcomers, or folks trying out vegetarian eating for a short period of time, to make that transition easier.

I did write a post a few months ago on 6 steps to go meatless. In it, I note which steps were particularly helpful for me. The bottom line, for me, was doing enough research where I felt like I knew how to eat and cook without meat. Surprisingly I didn't really know either before my transition, so it was real kick in the ass for me.

Let me know what you think of the post, or if you have specific questions you're curious about and I'd be happy to either answer them in a comment, via e-mail (freshlyvegetarian@gmail.com), or blog the question & answer.

Good luck to you and your family!

Ken - July 14, 2010 7:35 AM

Congrats, Ash!

Ashley - July 14, 2010 7:45 AM

Thanks Ken!

Real Estates - July 16, 2010 10:18 PM

Thanks for your mention, and approval on your Aug. 1st resolution to displace your association to a vegetarian fast -- that's interesting! I specify on penning many blog posts to exploit newcomers, or folks trying out vegetarian ingestion for a victimize period of period, to egest that shift easier

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