I've been vegetarian for almost 3 years. It was an easy change for me. I didn't switch because of health reasons, I've just never much cared for meat. I remember being in college, ready to make the change and be done with meat, but at that stage in my life, I had no idea what I'd eat. I find that funny now, but at the time, I didn't know anyone who was vegetarian and didn't have any knowledge about how I could not eat meat. So I continued to eat meat, sparingly, until one weekend, almost exactly 3 years ago, I had a really bad burger while out at a restaurant. You know, the kind where you take a bite and your teeth bite into something hard? Gross!! Who knows what that was. And, I thought to myself, "Why am I eating this? I'd much rather have some pasta or a salad." So, that was the end of my meat-eating days.
Today, I'm a happy vegetarian, transitioning into a vegan. Most of my meals are vegan. Sometimes I find myself adding cheese or having a cookie that's not vegan (Oreo's aren't vegan...right??). And, if any of you know me, you know my weakness for ice cream. Although, I'll have to take my brother's advice and try some rice ice cream, he says it's better than the stuff made with dairy. But, if given the choice, I would much rather have some yummy grains and vegetables for my dinner.
I've been searching the web lately, looking for vegan blogs, recipes, books, etc. I've found TONS, as you could imagine. And, find myself wanting to keep reading, until the wee hours of the night. Last night, I found this wonderful recipe for buckwheat tabbouleh and lettuce wraps. After I went to bed, I couldn't sleep! I kept imagining the crunchy romaine lettuce along with the delicious buckwheat tabbouleh. I couldn't get it out of my mind...seriously! *sigh* So, today I ventured to the store and bought some romaine, parsley, and tomatoes to make a delicious lunch for myself. Unfortunately, a certain baby (you've seen his picture before on this blog) decided not to nap well and I didn't have time to prepare such a wonderfully, delicious lunch for myself today. :( You can bet your bottom dollar that I'll be making the tabbouleh tonight so I can have a feast tomorrow!
Going back to becoming vegan, one of my reasons for doing so is health related. I've started reading books about vegan eating and am learning about the wonderful health benefits. Did you know, that if you have a health condition such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or osteoporosis, they can be changed WITHOUT MEDICATION if you only change your diet? Amazing. It's hard to do, but if your life depended on it, I imagine one would make that change. I don't have any health conditions myself, but want to be as healthy as I can and be able to care for my family.
My other reason for becoming vegan is the animal welfare aspect. I love all animals and shudder to think of how most of the cows, pigs, and chickens spend their entire lives. Even the animals who don't become dinner on your plate don't have it easy, such as the egg-laying hens and cows who give us milk. I won't go down that road, but if you're interested in learning about that, you can read A Diet for a New America, Food Inc., and others on that subject. I don't want to contribute to the suffering of those animals, and I also don't want to feed my family meat containing loads of hormones and antibacterials in addition to other gross stuff. Any meat, eggs, and milk I do purchase is organic, and comes from free range animals who are kept in a humane environment. Also, meat is eaten sparingly through the week.
There's an added benefit to being vegetarian or vegan. (I'm realizing that his may sound like I'm standing on top of a soap box, preaching my sermon, please don't see it that way. I'm only describing my reasons for my way of eating). Eating vegetarian or vegan is cheaper...you aren't buying meat. Also, it's better for the environment!! Yep, that's right. In a day where we're all trying to be more "green", eating vegetarian (even one day a week) can help the environment. There would be a reduction in the carbon footprint, water usage, and fossil fuel dependence. Go to www.meatlessmonday.com for more information.
I'm very happy to be vegetarian and am enjoying continuing my quest to being vegan. I just need a little more will power to put back the ice cream.