Real footage, true stories, facts… somewhere along the way in getting keen to them, I stopped eating meat “cold turkey” in 2000. It was somewhat gradual with my pre-teen pork and later beef boycott, then I went all in. I remember my last supper in Mankato, MN, I had pad thai with chicken take-out in Emily’s apartment. My thoughts took over my palate, I picked the chicken out of the dish, and so it began.
I look back every day, sometimes in my sleep. I have recurring dreams where I’m eating meat, usually some form of beef, like steak. Interpretation? I don’t know, I think it’s just on my mind.
I won’t detail my personal mission statement, I’m just veggie until further notice. Maybe I’ll get back to you when three things happen: 1) factory farms are a haunt from the past = animals aren’t tortured, shot up with hormones, antibiotics and other chemicals and toxins so that I can eat them more cheaply, 2) the world hunger crisis ceases, and 3) when a mostly-plants diet is proven sabotage. Aware that plenty of good people are responsible and respectful with their animals and consumption of, I am just opting to not eat them.
No thanks until further notice applies to some declinations that plenty of people have and would gasp at. My “not for the time being” mode comes from research, case studies, reading, more reading and soul digging.
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Raised in a very meat and potatoes culture, I have friends and family who still look at me sideways when I don’t eat meat. And then upside down when they discover that my two year old doesn’t eat it either. Sometimes crowds are tough. For me, it’s a personal decision and I’ve never felt the desire to recruit, convert or scrutinize my meat-eating comrades. Explain my personal reasons when asked, yes, but ask you to sign up, never. Can’t we all just get along?
My first years as a veggie were rough and I had a lot to learn, namely how to cook. I also learned three li’l tidbits the hard way: 1) that I had scary allergic reactions to falafels and certain black bean “burgers”, 2) I retained enough Spanish speak for that pharmacist who injected me with hives and swelling reliever in Barcelona, and 3) great, two veggie staples were out the window. I falafel just thinking about the first allergic discovery. Had to.
I bought a crummy book with substitute recipes and filled up on a lot of carbs and soy in the beginning. I quickly tired of my black bean and lentil dishes limited repertoire and frozen veggie burgers (never again) and have been a self-taught veggie novice since. I *now* rarely eat any soy and will get to that in an upcoming veggie post.
Then there were those two weeks where I tried being a raw vegan. Two weeks. I enjoyed going out to eat with friends again to say the least.
Two years ago, I started eating wild salmon until further notice. I’ve gradually added wild salmon, shrimp and “sustainable” sushi to my diet. Maybe I’m hardening toward the wonders of the sea, but at that time I was nursing and I simply wanted more natural omega-3’s. Wild salmon has been my vehicle. When my algae-based supplement decreased it’s omega-3 potency considerably, I decided to take the plunge. This recent move to Seattle helps accessibility to fresh. Time will tell if seafood is my permanent or temporary plus one, so far so good. My husband likes the ability to choose restaurants again, now that I have a small array of menu options at more places.
We should give ourselves permission to BE until further notice. Rethinking can be a sweet thing. I have a lot of fun with food and am learning there’s a lot of fun to be had in a kitchen. Most of my childhood meals were on a 7-day rotation and came from cans and boxes. Being a self-taught “good cook” takes time and I’m working on it. I draw lots of inspiration and ideas from veggie-minded cultures and chefs, and from fellow veggies. Then I practice, fail, and practice some more. It’s all fun and it’s nothing short of glorious when a self-taught like me gets something right. I’m just enjoying the journey. Until further notice.