(Since writing this post I went fully vegan in 2018 and stopped eating eggs and honey. I no longer believe we should eat or use anything from animals. Read why I'll never eat meat again in this post and why it's not hard being a vegan in this blog post! I'll leave this article here, so you can see why I returned to vegetarianism in around 2013...)
When Bella was one year old (which is how I remember when it was), so four and a half years ago, I returned to being a vegetarian. I was never a massive meat eater. I was never obsessed with steak or bacon like many are, so missing these things really wasn’t a problem for me. Before becoming veggie again I was only eating chicken, salmon and occasionally a tuna mayo jacket potato.
When I was younger a friend of mine and my mum became vegetarian. It always interested me and I decided as a teenager I would no longer eat meat. I stopped eating meat and anything containing gelatine. It lasted until I was around 18 if I remember correctly, so possibly a few years. I got drunk and my friend bought me a chicken burger. Chicken was probably my biggest weakness and in my drunk hungry state I ate it. I then craved chicken so much I returned to eating it. I sometimes ate double cheeseburgers from Macdonalds which I cited in my early 20s as a perfect cure to a hangover! (The thought makes me feel sick now!)
I carried on eating mainly chicken as though it was a normal thing to do, until Bella was one. One night me and Ben had a KFC (his favourite) and I pulled out a big string thing from my chicken burger or piece of chicken, I can’t remember what I was eating exactly, but it was chicken.
Oh my goodness.
‘Ben is this what I think it is?’
I nearly threw up. It was a vein. I was peeling a VEIN off my food.
That was that. I immediately changed back to vegetarianism and I haven’t looked back.
Now, however, in my 30s, I have so many reasons for being a vegetarian and not just because eating flesh and blood grosses me out. After considering it for over a year and reducing my intake, I have also cut out dairy one month ago. I’m not a vegan as I currently eat fresh eggs from our chickens in the garden and I do still eat honey.
Here are some of the reasons I am vegetarian and can’t imagine ever eating meat again:
Being vegetarian is better for the environment
It’s becoming well known nowadays that the meat industry is one of the top environmental polluters. From the methane in the cows flatulence, to the rainforests being wiped out to make room for rearing cattle and growing the soy to feed them. Plus all the antibiotics and medicines routinely given to the animals that end up in the food or washed away into our water supplies contaminating it. This also happens in the dairy industry, so it’s best to avoid dairy too. The dairy industry is no better and perhaps even crueller than the meat industry, but that’s a blog post for another time.
Being vegetarian is healthier
Eating processed meat is as dangerous as smoking. Processed meat is as carcinogenic as cigarettes according to the World Health Organisation. I feel cleaner and lighter since not eating meat. I feel healthier. I never feel gross after eating a meal filled with veggies and plant based foods, yet I often felt sick and flatulent after a heavy meat filled meal. Red meat consumption is linked to an increase risk of cancer and diabetes. Most people I know who get food poisoning get it from eating meat. There are even diseases you can catch from eating meat. You can catch Hepatitis E from eating undercooked pork. Let’s not forget about Mad Cow Disease which humans could catch by eating affected meat.
Being vegetarian is kinder
Raising animals just to kill them is sickening. Killing animals to eat them is weird and cruel. It’s kinder to the animals and it’s kinder to the environment to not eat them. Many people are opposed to animal cruelty, yet not to killing animals to consume them. That IS animal cruelty.
Being vegetarian makes more sense
We feed cattle so much corn and soy, enough to feed ourselves more times than the meat can. It doesn’t make sense. Why don’t we just eat the plants in the first place?
‘An additional 4 billion people in the world could be fed if land currently used to grow crops for livestock were given over to crops for human consumption’ Meat Free Mondays
That’s insane! Our ‘normal’ system is so backwards. It doesn’t make sense. People are starving when we have enough food to feed everyone if we used it more wisely.
I believe we’re not meant to eat meat
Imagine before man discovered fire. Do you suppose we ate meat then? I really can’t imagine that we did. We have hands that are the right size for picking fruit and pulling up veg. We can peel them and feed ourselves. We don’t have claws for catching and killing animals and tearing them apart and eating them. We don’t even have spiky teeth to do this. Before fire, did we really eat animals? I know many meats need to be cooked or else they’ll make us ill. Surely then it’s not natural for us to eat them? Would you want to jump on a cow, kill it and sink your teeth in to it? Doesn’t sound tasty or normal to me.
I don’t NEED to eat meat
I think many of us have confused a want to eat meat with a need to eat meat. If I was stranded and my only option to survive was to eat an animal, then yes as a matter of survival I would probably do it or at least consider it. But we’re not in a life or death situation. In fact it’s been proven time and time again that vegans and vegetarians can be way healthier that meat eaters. We don’t need to eat meat to survive. Most people just want to eat meat because they think it tastes nice (and that’s debateable once you’re not eating it anymore and get your normal taste buds back, I’d find the taste disgusting now, it was like an addiction, not really tasty at all).
Most people eat it for pleasure. It’s a sick pleasure to have if you ask me. Killing an innocent animal for your own pleasure. To eat it. It’s just crazy.
We can get all the nutrients we need from a plant based diet. In fact, many people who eat meat (and some who don't) eat really unhealthy diets. We can get all the nutirents we needs from a healthy, varied plant-based diet without any animal products at all. Ensuring we eat lots of delicious superfoods and nutrient ruch plant foods is the best way to be healthy and thrive. There's a misconception you can't get everything you need from a plant based diet and that we HAVE to eat meat, but that's not true. There are numerous plant based foods full of protein and calcium and shelled hempseeds and hemp seed oil which can easily be added to everyday foods for omega-3s and omega-6s. These are some of the common nutrients people don't understand where to get them if not from animal foods.
Honestly, I'd do it even if it was more expensive, but this is something I hear people say all the time. They think it's more expensive somehow. Meat is really expensive. I’m not talking about those cheap 99p burgers from fast food chains that are full of who knows what and highly processed, I’m talking about real organic quality meat. A pack of two organic chicken breasts that are rather small costs around £4. My husband would polish these off in one meal! That bumps up the price of one meal considerably. We don’t even have a microwave. Just a food blender, processor and good old oven and hobs. Some good sharp knives and kitchen utensils. Most people say it’s too expensive to eat healthier or turn veggie, but I disagree. Use the money saved on expensive meat to invest in superfood staples that will last for weeks and good quality kitchen equipment. How about a vegetable spiralizer to make spaghetti from your veg?
I’m certain in 50, 100 years, people will look back at us and think we were all backwards and crazy for eating meat!
And, I actually love veggie food! At Christmas I preferred a vegetarian Christmas dinner, so no, I don't miss turkey or any other meat!!