Hey everyone! For this week’s post, I’m going to be doing something a bit more serious & close to my heart. I’m going to be discussing why I went vegetarian & how it has impacted me. This subject closely relates to a lot of reasons why I’ve made certain decisions in recent years so, it can also give you a better insight on me as a person & maybe open your eyes to something you’ve never given much thought.
My childhood & teenage years were split between two farm towns in eastern & western Pennsylvania, both towns were very alike & different. My father has been a hunter for as long as my memory spans, I grew up eating deer meet & occasionally fresh chicken & beef from local butchers. Naturally, I thought this was normal. My parents were always against the frozen or fresh meats from Wal-Mart but never clearly explained why.
In my senior year of high school, I started working at my local McDonald’s to put gas in my new (used) car. I stayed employed there until the end of my freshman year of college. Over the course of the next 15 months – I started becoming hyper aware of the food I was not only putting in my body, but the choices those around me were making, & the people I was serving.
I’ve always had a sweet tooth & fast metabolism but I never ate straight junk food or straight fruits & veggies – like most things, I floated in the middle. Growing up, my mom only let me have happy meals on occasion. Of course, I wanted more than what I got & was often denied. As well, my mom never gave me a clear explanation why it was so bad.
When I was working at McDonald’s, I started recognizing how much salt was in the food. I could taste it in the pre-packaged vegetables & meat. It was also obvious from the layer of salt that resided in the French fry basin. It grossed me out to have to consume the food, but when you & are too lazy to pack a lunch at 6am for your 8am shift– you do what you gotta do. During my last couple months at McD’s, I started getting exposed to veganism on Twitter. Because of the culture I grew up in, I was never exposed to it previously. I knew one girl who was pescatarian in high school & that was all.
During one of my last few weeks at McD’s, I can remember standing in the grill as I was prepping my usual salt-filled salad. I looked around & simply thought, “what the hell am I putting into my body?”. I decided that once I was done with McD’s I was going to do a week-long vegan cleanse. Typically, when people talk about first cutting out meat & / or animal products, you typically hear “I had more energy / was easier to wake up in the morning / my mood was better / my skin cleared up”. Truthfully, I felt these. After feeling so great, I wanted to just continue the diet.
I noticed after another week that I had started craving meat & I gave into it. Why I gave into the cravings? Looking back, I have no clue. Possibly, because I was changing a huge part of my lifestyle & my body was simply craving what it had become accustomed to. I knew my body well enough to know that it can be sensitive towards food, so I decided to slowly phase meat out of my diet to help my body adjust more easily. It may have taken longer than what I would’ve liked but I listened to my body & it responded well. Unfortunately, there were barely any vegan options at our local Wal-Mart & good produce was scarce to come across, so while I was still living with my parents this was the best option at the time.
Until this point, I was only transitioning to vegetarianism for my own personal benefit. But as I discovered the cruelty & abuse that animals went through for the satisfaction of man, I truly found a reason to stick to a meat free diet. I didn’t want to do it for myself, I wanted to prevent cruelty & pain from happening to another being. This realization is what led me to eventually going cruelty free, choosing more organic foods, & avoiding genetically modified ingredients.
I later discussed my findings with my parents & I found out the reason we primarily ate deer meat, purchased from local butchers, or rarely ate fast food was because of the factory farmed meats & harmful ingredients. My dad also worked on a chicken farm while he was in high school & was completely turned off by the conditions the animals were in. It is their own way of protesting it & I have so much respect for it. A part of me wishes they would have educated me sooner, but I don’t think that it would’ve had the impact on me that finding the information on my own has.
Going vegetarian has completely changed my life & outlook. I’d love to do more related posts in the future so let me know your thoughts in the comments. ♡
Header image credit to StockSnap.io