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Archive for September, 2008

I’m of the opinion that it’s important to give you, my reader, some kind of history (or genealogy, if you will) of why I’m vegetarian.

I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 13 years old. It started from a pretty typical adolescent headspace, centering around coming into an awareness that eating meat meant actually eating another critter. So, at 13, I decided to become vegetarian, largely out of a desire not to eat animals, but with a vague idea that it was “good for the environment.” I stayed vegetarian through my adolescence, which really meant just not eating anything that has meat in it. You know, potato chips, sometimes a veggie burrito or a quesadilla, everything but the meat at dinner, and lots of fake bacon (yum).

Sometime around my junior year of high school, I became aware of the complexities of the meat industrial system, and how simply cutting out meat didn’t necessarily mean I was saving the animals I hoped to spare with my diet. Turns out that purchasing and consuming dairy and eggs frequently contributes to the problematic relationship humans have with the food they eat — from the mistreatment of animals to the money still going towards the meat industry. I decided at that point that going vegan would do more to resist the eating structures I found problematic. At this point, my diet became a political stance.

As a vegan, sometimes I’d do really well and cook incredible food for myself. I learned to eat a lot of foods that varied from the standard fare I was raised on (rice, chicken, broccoli) and really broadened my dietary horizons. Somewhere in college I found myself with not enough hours in the day, and had a difficult time staying well-nourished. I was tired a lot and found I had issues keeping my blood sugar stable — I would be super irritable and feel faint not long after eating a meal. I decided to supplement my diet with some dairy and eggs and see how that felt. At some point, this became the healthiest way for me to eat and I “came out” as a lapsed vegan.

Post-college, I took it upon myself to heal my relationship with food. College left me in a state where I was eating mostly pre-packaged, frozen, or processed foods. My partner pointed out that I ate a lot of fake meat, but not much else. It was totally true! I started really focusing on what I ate. It took a whole year and a lot of taste adjustment to get to a healthy eating place — moving towards a more organic, whole foods, local diet, and being really conscientious not just of what I eat but where my food comes from.

At this point in my life, I feel really good about what I eat and calling myself a vegetarian. I think I finally enjoy eating food that is good for me, and I’m at a place where I can be conscientious about where that food comes from. I’ve come to the belief that food is such a huge part of our lives and deserves more credit and time that it gets. Plus, I’ve discovered that nectarines are really, really tasty…

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