Vegetarian Pros and Woes: Things I've Learned Since Going Veggie
I've been a veggie since late March this year, but I’ve kept it on the down-low as I wasn’t sure if I could 100% commit. And, if I’m honest I was put off by today’s relentless online call-out culture and feared people questioning why I wasn’t vegan or why I still owned a leather handbag.
Going vegetarian is something that has niggled in the back of my mind throughout most of my teenage years and for all of my adult life. I’ve always felt I *should* be veggie, as it aligns with a lot of my other values: I’m a feminist, try to be as environmentally-friendly as possible and grew up passionate about wild animals and their conservation.
I’ve also known a lot of veggies and vegans; my best friend growing up didn’t eat meat and is now vegan and now my closest friends as an adult share my values.
Before this year, I was a huge meat eater. I’m the sort of person - or I was - to order steak pink and pick every last bit of chicken straight from the bone when my mum cooked a Sunday roast.
So, I had a lot of hesitations about becoming veggie. Would I be able to do it this time? Or would I fail again like the past couple of times I’d tried.
My expectations of going veggie?
I’d be a lot healthier, I’d be judged, I’d cause a fuss and I would feel like I was missing out.
Today, I’m debunking my own expectations and telling you what I have experienced in my 10 months as a veggie - the good, the bad and the ugly.
It’s not as restricting as you think.
I was definitely one of those people that thought - what am I going to eat if I go veggie? Will I be hungry? Will I go into a restaurant and not be able to eat anything? What if the only option is something I absolutely detest?
As a fussy eater, the thought of restricting my choices even further scared me. However, I can safely say that I’ve never had to go hungry or felt like I was on a Bushtucker trial!
I’m pretty lucky in Hull; there are so many amazing options that don’t involve the same-old-same-old mushroom risotto and spicy bean burgers.
Sometimes you have to compromise.
In saying that, of course there are times where you have to settle for good old garlic bread and chips, when your really fancy a delicious bacon and cheese burger and your non-veggie boyfriend orders that exact delicious bacon and cheese burger.
But, hey ho, it’s not the end of the world.
And, there’s been times where I have ordered something absolutely amazing that my carnivorous family hadn’t even thought to order because it was marked with a green ‘V’.
Root Vegetable Wellington anyone? Perhaps a goats cheese stack and vegetable burger?
It’s pushed my out of my comfort zone, in a good way.
Continuing from my point above, it’s forced me to order stuff I would have never have even glanced at before. I’ve discovered a new love for mushrooms, as well as butternut squash and pumpkin seed pizza. Yes, it’s a thing in Hull.
Everyone slags off vegans to you.
This one, I was not expecting at all. It’s quite funny actually but a lot of meat-eaters, upon finding that I am a veggie say stuff like “Oh, well at least you’re not vegan!” or “I don’t mind vegetarians but vegans are too preachy.”
I’m not sure how they expect me to respond, as if I’m going to say “Yeah those bastard vegans, sharing very similar values to me and doing a great thing for our planet.”
If you’re a veggie, have you experienced this prejudice? Crazyyy.
It’s easy to slip up.
Not eating meat is fine, for the most part. It’s obvious that you can’t order the Sirloin, or a battered sausage. But, it’s the little things you forget about.
For example, I ordered scrumps/scraps on my chips a couple of months ago. Not really registering that they would probably have been in very close contact with meat and fish.
Sweets and some chocolates are another one. And, prawn crackers - for me, that’s an easy one to forget for some reason. (Thai crackers are a brilliant alternative though and super spicy.)
If I can do it, anyone can - even if it’s for a day per week.
As I’ve just gone on about, I loved eating meat and had no aversion to it before turning veggie. I would order half a roast chicken, medium rare steak and chicken and chips was my drunk food.
I’ve learned a lot about myself and how I can achieve stuff if I put my mind to it. And, if I can do it, anyone can.
Please let me know if you’d like to know more about my veggie journey. It’s something I try to keep to myself, unless asked, as I know there are people who are a lot more qualified to talk about the topic. But, I think what I could bring to the table (no pun intended) is experience in going veggie as someone who never thought it was possible, but who managed to succeed.