For about five years now I am a vegetarian. This is something that has sparked a lot of interest, questions and comments by people around me. Especially in recent years with the vegan SoMe trend.
Regarding this, I would like to address something from the start. Being a vegetarian is a very personal choice. It is not a challenge or a trend and no one should be pressured in or out of it.
Is there a need for more awareness and action towards animal cruelty, pollution and out personal health? Of course, there is. Did I become more aware or healthy just by becoming a vegetarian? Absolutely not.
With that out of the way, if you are interested in learning more about my journey with vegetarianism and the lessons it taught me, keep on reading.
Cravings come, but go away
Becoming a vegetarian exists based on restriction. It sometimes sounds like a life-long battle with yourself. You choose to stop consuming meat, something that is a big part of humans’ diet for millennia. Of course, not everyone has a craving for it. But I and many others have definitely felt it.
In my first months as a vegetarian, cravings were a struggle. Every time I saw somebody eat meat or smelled one cooking, I felt uneasy. And this kept creeping in through the years.
I found out that you need to be very careful with your food. You are oblivious of how embedded meat is in your diet. In everyone’s diet. Everything you are used to ordering in the restaurant – out of your menu. Even salads are packed with meat. Moreover, not every restaurant provides vegetarian options, especially in Denmark, where I live. Thank god, deserts are still in my range.
It’s more social than you realize
When making the decision to become a vegetarian, you have your self or selfishness in mind.
You think that it will make you feel at peace with YOURSELF. How it will help your health journey. Or even how it will influence your relationship with nature.
What you don’t always consider is how social this decision becomes. You start by yourself. Then you realise you constantly need to new people. Every time you need to attend an event. The questions just keep coming – why you became a vegetarian? Is it because of the puppies? But do you miss it? What exactly do you eat? Is it healthy?
And this is mildly put annoying. It is so much than puppies and a one-minute explanation. It is how you feel and there is no explanation needed.
Another “problem” I have noticed is that I make people feel uncomfortable. What should they bring when they come to my place? What should they cook for me? Which restaurant should we go to?
It is a complicated situation. However, there are some things to keep in mind. First, don’t be obnoxious. Show your agility and good guest manners. Make people feel at ease around you. Second, never forget that this is YOUR choice and there is no need to defend or explain it. Be you and don’t let people talk you out or discriminate you for it.
Vegetarian doesn’t always equal healthy
I know, that’s news. But not only is the world full of unhealthy vegetarian options (chips for example), but there are many of them disguised as such.
There are many vegetarian foods full of additives and preservatives, waiting for you at the healthy section.
On the other side of the spectrum, you will have problems in defining the boundaries in your own diet. Not only do you need to battle for efficient proteins. Vegetarians tend to overconsume carbohydrates.
Of course, there are different types of carbs, but I won’t go deeper into this. Carbohydrates do provide plenty of health benefits. Still, even though this sounds innocent, their overuse can lead to many health complications.
Besides gaining weight, it can also negatively impact your blood sugar levels. Overtime a reach in carbs diet can raise your cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease.
Of course, this doesn’t mean going into extremes. Yet, being a vegetarian, you need to find your balance and rediscover your diet.
You don’t have to be obnoxious
As I already mentioned, I believe vegetarianism is a choice. It is a decision an individual needs to take on their own when they feel like it and for the right reasons.
Therefore, it is not surprising I don’t support aggressive and obnoxious behaviour. This behaviour can come from both sides – vegetarians, vegans and their opponents.
If you want to bring awareness of the importance of certain issues – do it with respect and lead by example.
It surely is important to talk about those things, but the publicity and controversy of the topic in recent years have done the opposite. They have turned a movement into a joke. We can do so much better!
I hope my experience has been valuable for some of you, going through this or just interested in the topic. Let me know what you think about it in the comments below.