Thursday, July 5, 2012
Why I Made the "Crazy" Decision to be a Vegetarian
"Actually, I'm a vegetarian."
I say this a lot.
And everybody always thinks I'm crazy. The question that soon follows is, "well, what made you decide you wanted to be a vegetarian?"
Here's the story.
I would estimate about 95% of the time, people tell me that there is NO way they could ever be a vegetarian. Ever. And you know what I tell them? I tell them that I felt the same way before I was a vegetarian.
In fact, I was adamantly against vegetarianism. I thought it was irrational, unhealthy, and downright stupid. I thought wrong. I was so against vegatarianism in my early teenage years that when my good friend, Leah, made the decision to be a vegetarian in high school, I just railed on her, day after day. I appreciate her patience with me. "There's simply no way you can be getting the protein and iron you need," I would tell her. She would politely argue back, but I was deaf to any opinion but my own. I was always a health nut, and so I thought I had the right to argue.
I don't enjoy bringing up previous love interests, but this one is important to the story. During the August when I was 17, I was dating a boy named Justin. He was a vegetarian, and so I began warming up to the idea. He was healthy, so being a vegetarian obviously didn't bring death.
During this time, I felt very run down and tired, no matter how much sleep I got. This went on for quite some time. It got to the point where I couldn't make it through the day without taking a nap or swallowing pain killers, due to my headaches. I came to find out that I actually had a parasite. This parasite was derived from pork.
Soon after I found this out, I was visiting Justin. I went for about 2 weeks without eating meat and didn't even realize it. And I already felt a lot better. I came to the conclusion that I could make this lifestyle change. I could be a vegetarian.
I promptly did a colon cleanse and rid myself of the parasite. I transitioned to a vegetarian lifestyle. I felt amazing! I couldn't believe how much better I felt. I felt lighter and more energetic. I felt full of life.
My decision didn't go over well with my family. They thought I was being irrational, or that I had been brainwashed (to this day my brother still calls my being a vegetarian an "irrational dietary need.) I tried to make them feel better by saying that I would eat meat only on special occasions. I didn't really plan to abide by this, however.
Thanksgiving came around. This was the first big, food-oriented holiday that occured since my choice to be a vegetarian. I knew I would be confronted with my concession to my family that I would eat meat on special occasions.
I stared at the turkey on my plate. It was absolutely repulsive to me. I ate all the food around it. Still the thought of eating the turkey made me want to throw up. I just couldn't do it. I quickly tried to escape to the trash can before my family noticed that I wasn't going to eat my turkey, but they noticed as soon as I stood up.
They bombarded me with statements of why I was being dumb but I still didn't eat the turkey. Then, to my horror, my brother and my dad pinned me down to the floor and stuffed the turkey in my mouth! I pretended to swallow so they would leave me alone, and then I quickly ran into the bathroom and spit it out. They haven't tried to force me to eat meat since then.
I am just one month shy of being a vegetarian for 3 years. And I think it's safe to say that, to date, it's the best decision I ever made. The benefits are enormous:
Being a vegetarian is good for me physically. I feel cleaner, more resilient. And I am strong, even though I am not overloaded with protein. I am in the best shape of my life. I run and I run and I run and I run and I run. Man oh man do I run. And in ski season, I'm on the slopes at least 2 days a week. For once in my life, I am an athlete, and being a vegetarian certainly isn't stopping me. My mom was very concerned that I wasn't getting enough protein or iron. So I went to my primary care doctor and asked her about it. "Oh being a vegetarian is great! I'm one too!" she said. She then did some tests and we found out that I have perfectly normal levels of iron.
Being a vegetarian is good for the planet. Yeah, I'm a bit of a hippie. So sue me. But we all share this planet, and I think it's my duty to be a responsibile steward. Vegetarianism is extremely good for the environment. Don't believe me? I've done tons of research on it. We'll talk, if you have a different opinion and feel you are more informed than me.
Being a vegetarian is good for me spiritually. I won't go into detail, because it's deeply personal. But it's true.
So there's my story. I know it's tempting to say that you could never be a vegetarian. But take it from a former steak lover: you CAN. I did it, and I have not regretted it one moment.
*If you are a Mormon and need my doctrinal justification for being a vegetarian, feel free to ask. I've fought that battle before.
*I won't try to convince you to be a vegetarian. It's your health, not mine. But if you are interested in the facts about why a vegetarian lifestyle is better for you, ask away. I've done a lot of research on the subject.
Posted by hollyharris at 1:02 PM