Vegetarian, to be or not to be. Before I begin writing about this subject, I must say that everything written here is nothing other than my opinion and experience. I in any way do not look down at people that eat meat, nor do I say that everyone should become a vegetarian. I simply share my experience of being a vegetarian. If somebody finds this story inspirational or amusing at the very least, I would say that time writing this blog post wasn’t wasted.
Becoming a vegetarian
My story of becoming a vegetarian is really as simple as it gets. I was an 18-year-old that became very fascinated with meditation and everything supernatural. I spent a lot of time watching videos on the Internet about magic, spirituality, shamanism, etc. I read Carlos Castaneda and other popular on the subject literature. I am sure there are many of you that do the same. In any case, one evening I was sitting, minding my own business, when suddenly a thought passed by. It for some reason became clear to me that to make my spiritual journey easier, I must “quit” meat. In the evening I decided to go cold turkey, in the morning I was a vegetarian, and ever since I have remained to be one. I was 18 at the time, and I am 26 today. 8 years – I’d say not bad for someone with a shaky motivation to become a vegetarian.
Why do I say “shaky” motivation, and why does it kinda sound negative?
To become a vegetarian (I wont even mention the more strict diets for now) everyone needs a motivation, a real, genuine motivation! My core belief today is that every single person needs a motivation in life for everything. A motivation to get up early, a motivation to go to work, school, university. A person needs motivation to be happy, to take care of his/her loved ones, children, parents, and finally, a motivation to take care and love him or herself. Without a solid motivation a person will not be able carry out any task to the end. They might be excited at first, but as time passes, or with the first failing experience, motivation slowly fades away, and the person returns back to the initial state. A person needs a motivation to make progress. If no motivation exists, you have a high chance of not getting anywhere, not growing in any way. And we all know that when something is not growing – it is dying. This applies to human beings as well.
To become a vegetarian, you need to be devoted, determined, and have belief in what you are trying to accomplish, because it is to an extent a life-changing decision.
When I became a vegetarian, I had no real motivation at the moment, but I had a blind belief that becoming a vegetarian would make me more spiritual. Of course with time I understood that it is not the food that you eat that directly makes you spiritual. Nevertheless, by belief was very strong and kept me going. To my benefit, my “meat love” was never that extreme. The only meat products that I loved to eat were chicken wings, grilled. I still remember the taste, and I still know that it tastes good, but I have no interest in eating it today whatsoever. Today it is merely a memory.
So you might be asking, what made me stay a vegetarian since I lacked a real motivation? Well, as it happens to be, apart from me never being too passionate about meat, I actually love animals a lot. After having not eaten meat for some time, something clicked in me, and I no longer could force the feeling of separation in me between the animals that are cute, that are meant to be pets and our best friends, and the animals that are stupid, and exist only to be eaten. Yes, yes, many people actually think like that.. I just couldn’t lie to myself in that way any longer. Today it is difficult for me to understand how people make that distinction in their mind. In any case, the love of all living creatures became my new motivation – not to eat those that share the planet with us. I know that at this moment “poopoo” might be hitting the fan for some people, and many of you might be saying that he is crazy, stupid, etc. You will tell me that animals eat each other and that we have been eating animals to survive and to be able to support our heavy brain. And I will agree with you. See, I am able to enough to understand that in certain parts of the world people have nothing else to eat other than, for example, fish. I also know that animals eat each other, and that’s the way nature has created us. However, I am a vegetarian because I can be one. It is as simple as that. I am a vegetarian because I have the choice not to eat animals, and I choose not to. Animals, on the other hand, don’t have this choice. People living on the outskirts of Earth also don’t have this choice. I can add even further to this. If my health would be poor enough and would require me for some reason to eat some type of meat, I would probably do so. At this moment I feel that I can afford not to eat meat, and so far it has been nothing but making my life amazing.
I do not believe that eating meat is in any way horrible, and I never judge the ones that do eat meat, but I do judge our meat industry. I judge the way animals are kept and the way they are killed. If a person needs an animal to be killed in order to be able to survive, I see no problem with this. It can be done in a humane way, like many cultures used to do. Unfortunately, we have become hardcore consumers, and to us it doesn’t really matter how the food arrives to our table. As long as it does, we are satisfied. By the way, if you want some documentaries to see that will help you open your eyes, be sure to check out Food, Inc.; Earthlings; Meet Your Meat; Samsara, etc. I must warn you that these documentaries are difficult to watch, at least they were for me. I will not go any further into the question of what is right and what is wrong in our society. You are free to watch these documentaries and make your own conclusions.
Benefits of being a vegetarian
As mentioned previously, there are no ultimate “truths” concerning the benefits of becoming/being a vegetarian. We are all different, with different beliefs and different bodies, and to be able to tell what the real advantages are, everyone has to try it for themselves. Nevertheless, here is a small list of my personal benefits.
- Because you no longer eat animals, you may therefore experience a certain new type of happiness. I do.
- As soon as I stopped eating meat, I needed less time to get my sleep. Instead of having to sleep 8 to 9 hours, I can sleep 5-6 hours and feel totally fine. It is hard to explain, but this certainly has its place. I believe this might have something to do with our bodies digesting meat during sleep for many hours. Instead of spending time recharging with energy needed for the next day, our bodies are actually breaking down the food. With no meat in the stomach, this does not occur. It is only my assumption though.
- Meat is expensive. Life becomes cheaper.
- Cooking process may become a lot easier and quicker.
- Less time spent choosing food at the grocery store.
- You are able to see the beauty of taste beyond meat. No, seriously, I know hardcore meat eaters who think that food without meat cannot taste good! Oh, how wrong they are.. Now that I have been a vegetarian for quite a bit, I can say that all food carries so much more meaning now, even spinach (ok maybe not, haha!)
- You need less time for digestion, and you don’t feel tired and sleepy after a meal, unless of course you overeat.
Inconveniences of being a vegetarian
- Relatives, friends and people in general will come up to you often and say.. are you crazy? What’s wrong with you? Do you know it’s unhealthy to eat only plants? Where do you get your proteins from? So what do you eat, grass? This list is infinite. Trust me, even when you have heard all of these things a million times, certain people will come up to you, throw some cheap comment or joke, and expect a reply. In reality the person doesn’t really care why you are a vegetarian. It is only to make you feel bad about something that actually makes you feel good. And if you do start feeling bad about your choice, then I suggest reading about the motivation again. I never feel bad about being a vegetarian, but I do feel bad for the person that makes the joke. Sad.
- It may be harder for you to find a place to eat out, or to be part of a dinner at a friend’s place. Fortunately, people are more tolerant towards vegetarians these days and prepare something for us as well.
- While I have never personally done it because I am a vegetarian, you might want to watch the nutritional value of the food that you eat, just to make sure you get everything your body needs in the right amounts. As long as you are a vegetarian, though, you shouldn’t have any problems with that. On the other hand, if you are a vegan or have some other, more serious diet, this should be taken into careful consideration.
- Building muscles. It is a little more difficult without meat, but thanks to the supplements today, it can easily be achieved. I have been growing muscles while being a vegetarian without any difficulties. Maybe sometime I can make a separate post about working out and being a vegetarian. For those of you interested and in a similar position to mine, I can recommend these supplements: ON – Gold Standard and BSN Amino X.
- Heath issues. While these are rare, some people really do start feeling weak and get sick after a long meatless period. As mentioned before, everyone is different, and the best way to become a vegetarian is to do it wisely. Every now and then, you should go and have your blood tests done. Only this way you can be sure that you are not losing your health. I will repeat: there is no way to know whether you are healthy or not without having your blood tested! I have personally witnessed how a vegan turned grey and nearly fainted as she walked through the woods. We were on a week-long hiking trip, and she kept feeling weak every time the walk was a little demanding. Her body simply could not hold her up. There was no hospital near, and her condition was frightening. Luckily, everything turned out to be ok – she simply stayed in the tent for the whole time. In the beginning of the trip this person proudly told everyone that she has been a vegan and a yoga teacher for many years. However, although she could sustain her lifestyle as a vegan in the city, difficult walks through the woods immediately showed the reality of things to her. At the end of the trip, she was so afraid of her condition that she even drank a little bit of fish soup. So once again, if you do decide to become a vegetarian or a vegan, do it responsibly.
Above you can see two lists based on my vegetarian experience. In reality the lists may be different, may be longer, shorter, or not exist at all! As a matter of fact, they don’t actually exist for me! I have created them solely for the purpose of sharing them with you, so that you could be aware of what can be expected in the case that you choose to let go of meat (and yes, fish and chicken are also meat!!!). However, if you do, never doubt your choice. The decisions you make in your life should in the end make you happy, and not miserable. I think decision-making might be a wonderful topic to meditate on in one of the future posts.
In conclusion, I want to remind you that being a vegetarian is not about being special in any way. Never judge others because they eat meat, and never think of yourself as a better human because of that. It will only create distance between you and your loved ones. Additionally, understand that you don’t have to do it today. If you feel that you are not yet ready for it, postpone it a little bit, to the time when you will be ready. In my case it was a spontaneous decision. Spontaneous decisions usually do not last for long. With me it just happened to be a very strong, spontaneous decision. In fact, choosing to become a vegetarian is one of the best decisions that I have ever made in my life. And although in the perfect world I should be a vegan, I feel that I am not ready to become one yet. Maybe someday I will. For now, however, I choose not to force things, and neither should you!
If you feel that you liked this post, that is has benefitted you in any way, or you feel that you have something to add, please leave a comment! I would be more than happy to hear what you have to say. I encourage you to share.