This title is a little mis-leading… I’ve actually been vegetarian for around 8-months now, but it’s taken me a little while to actually knuckle down and write this (quelle surprise!), so forgive my shoddiness and allow me a little leeway this time…
My decision to go vegetarian wasn’t really a decision as such – it just sort of happened. I began to find myself swaying towards veggie options on restaurant menus, and when cooking at home I automatically started making meals that didn’t have meat in them. It was a totally unconscious thing and I didn’t realise I was doing it until Ben asked me one day why I kept serving him meatless meals.
Then Christmas rolled around and I found myself in the kitchen, preparing the turkey for cooking, and as I stood there rubbing seasoning and butter into it, I lifted it up by it’s wings and in that instant, realisation hit me like a ton of bricks. I looked at Ben and said, “I don’t think I can do this anymore”.
It was as simple as that.
So how have I found it since becoming a herbivore? I’ve had quite a few people ask me questions about it so I thought I might as well answer them here, for anyone that might be interested, or is thinking about embarking on the veggie life themselves: (Note: These are all genuine questions I’ve been asked)
Do you miss meat?
Not at all! I think because I gradually went off it rather than just going cold turkey (excuse the pun) perhaps it’s been an easier transition for me, but I genuinely don’t miss it at all – not even in a roast dinner!
What do you eat instead?
There’s so many different options that can replace meat in your meals! I tend to either use tofu or falafel, or I will use a vegetable of some sort instead (such as cauliflower in a curry). There’s also some brilliant vegetarian and vegan products available as direct replacement – I’m a big fan of the Linda McCartney range of sausages and burgers, and Quorn chicken nuggets are indistinguishable from the real thing!
Do you eat fish?
Nope, I don’t eat any animal.
Aren’t your meals boring?
Not at all! I eat the same meals as Ben – I just make two different versions; one with meat and one without! I’ve actually found that since I went veggie I’ve been more experimental in the kitchen, exploring different recipes and flavours, and our dinner times are a lot more diverse than they used to be.
Do you feel healthier?
Yes and no. I don’t quite feel like a new woman, ready to go out there roller-blading through the streets as the wind whips through my hair, but there have been some definite changes. Firstly, my skin is a lot better than it was. Although I’ve never had problem skin, I’ve always had hormonal break-outs, but these have pretty much completely disappeared now and my hair is in better condition than it ever has been before! I also find I’m not as sluggish and I have more energy – I used to be half asleep on the sofa by 9pm every night, but now I can easily stay up until 11pm and I’ll only go to bed then as I know I have to be up at 6am the next day for work. I don’t get the 3pm slump at work either. Within the first couple of months I dropped a dress size without trying, but seem to have plateaued at the size I am now with no signs of getting any smaller.
Do you take vitamins?
Yes, I take a multi-vitamin every morning as well as Vitamin D (I have to take this because of my skin cancer) and Magnesium and B12. If I’m feeling particularly groggy (ie hungover) then I’ll have a Berocca as well, because I find it gives me an extra little boost.
Do you find it easy to eat out?
This can be a tricky one for me as I’m allergic to nuts and a lot of the vegetarian options on pub or restaurant menus include nuts within the ingredients, however, I haven’t yet been somewhere and not been able to eat anything. Vegetarianism and Veganism is growing so rapidly that most places are able to cater for us, and I’m seeing a huge increase of venues offering separate fully veggie or vegan menus, which is brilliant!
Don’t you miss bacon?
You wouldn’t believe how many people have asked me this! Genuinely, the answer is no – Quorn do a pretty good replica (which I like to call facon) and at the end of the day, it’s the flavour we like, not the actual source of the product itself.
How do you get your protein/iron?
Lordy, lordy, I have had this said to me SO many times! Protein and iron aren’t exclusively found in meat and there are lots of other places to get it; for example, tofu, beans, grains, seeds, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, soy, oats – and that’s just the protein sources! Iron can be found in some green vegetables, tofu, soybeans etc. There’s also the option to take iron supplements if you want to top up your reserves, but I’ve not found it to be an issue so far, thankfully.
Isn’t it expensive to be veggie?
Not at all, our food shop has been a lot cheaper since we became a one-carnivore household! I do a Musclefood order to stock up Ben’s meat supply in the freezer and that will last around 2-3 months, so the main supermarket shop is just fruit, vegetables, dry store cupboard items and household supplies. Of course, frozen veg is also a great way to save a few pounds, so we always have a little stockpile of frozen spinach, broccoli, cauliflower and peas in the freezer.
Why bother? The meat industry is huge, you’re not going to make a difference!
This is true; I alone won’t make a difference, however my conscience can rest easy knowing I’m not adding to the situation. I don’t want to be the reason an animal dies, ever.
Are you going to make Ben a vegetarian?
Not at all. Ben is a committed carnivore and that’s absolutely fine if that’s what he wants to do. I wouldn’t ever try to push my beliefs on to someone else. He is his own person and can do whatever he wants to do!
I said at the very beginning when I stepped back from eating meat that I didn’t know if would be a phase or a lifelong thing and, if I’m honest, I still can’t say hand on heart that I 100% know I will never eat meat again. However, I can say that at this point in time, I don’t see myself ever making that dietary change. Did I think I’d last this long? Possibly not – I’m the flakiest person in the world, we all know that – but here I am, 7 months later and still a happy little herbivore; vegetarianism works for me in terms of both my diet and my sense of my place in the world. For me personally, animals are friends not food and I think they always will be. (10 points to whoever recognises that film reference!)
I might do a 1-year veggie anniversary update in January, but if anyone has any questions in the meantime, don’t hesitate to let me know either in the comments below or on any of my social media channels. I’m never going to preach to other people that they should ditch the meat and be veggie, but I’m happy to answer any questions people might have, as an ex meat-eater who has relatively newly embarked on this journey.
Oh and if anyone has any awesome veggie recipes or tips, give me a shout, I’m all about widening my skills in the kitchen!