I did a lot of thing in my early years in college due to peer pressure. I found a crowd I really wanted to be a part of, so I did everything I could to assimilate into that crowd. I wore long floral skirts, I put hair wraps in my hair, I obsessed over the Grateful Dead, and I stopped eating meat.
That last one was really the only one I look back on as a positive change in my life. I mean, I’m glad I lived that life for awhile, but DAMN…hippies are JUDGMENTAL. God forbid you listen to top 40 radio or shave your legs.
(I shaved my legs.)
I remained a vegatarian for 5+ years, even doing a brief stint as a vegan in an effort simply to see if I could do it. But then, life got crazy, I fell in love with a meat-eater, and all of that fell to the wayside.
The problem is, I have always missed being a vegetarian. I stuck to it for as long as I did for several reasons.
- Health: I was forced to make healthier decisions. Now, when life got crazy with a kid, school, and work…I found myself eating more crackers out of the vending machine than vegetables. That’s part of the reason I gave it up. But when I had time to think and plan? I planned well. I ate well.
- Global Economy: It always felt weird that many of the pounds of ground beef we ate were raised on land that could have been used to harvest grain for the local starving people. I was never a big fan of the global impact of the meat industry. That weighed heavier on me than any of the “animal cruelty” arguments did.
- Pride: I know it sounds like a lame reason, but I was always proud to be a vegetarian. I can’t really explain why, but I loved wearing that label.
The pride thing is the one that hits me the most. And as silly as it sounds, it’s the part that always has me thinking about going back to the meatless lifestyle.
Here’s the thing. It’s summertime here. I’m addicted to Farmer’s Markets. I get to roast the SHIT out of some fresh veggies (my favorite method of cooking all vegetables: ROASTING!) every night and the fruit is beautiful and ripe. I was thinking last night that the only reason I was eating the pork on my plate was because I felt like I should, but in reality I just wanted to put more zucchini in the spot on the plate.
There are times when I love meat. And I don’t ever hate it, but in reality? I’ve always been more of a veggie/meat/grain kind of gal. Like last night, I wanted to skip the meat but I didn’t because that just felt…weird.
So…why not? Summertime in Alabama is a great time to give up eating meat. There’s so many options to choose from. I’ve been reading up on how to be an athlete without meat. And I need some inspiration in the kitchen.
Am I making some sort of permanent life change? Hell no. Since when did those ever work for me? Nope. Right now, I’m giving up eating meat. I’m going to see if I can manage it and still keep my family fed their omnivore diets. I’m going to research fueling on plants and grains. I’m going to roast the SHIT out of some vegetables. And just see if I can gain back some of that pride over my diet.
It’s silly, but the more I analyze my relationship with food, the more I try to make decisions that encourage good feelings about food instead of bad. So, going with a plan that allows me to be proud of what I’m eating? Seems like a good instinct to follow.