Two days ago, I added "vegetarian" to my Twitter profile description. It felt right. I liked the look of it.
Meat is something that has lost its appeal to me. Kind of like soda. After I had given it up for a few weeks or so, it became something that I just wanted nothing to do with. Sure, bacon will always smell good...but so does freshly cut grass, and I've manage to resist eating that for 21 and a half years, so I think I'll be okay. :)
What I mean is that when I plan out my meals during the day, I think of fresh produce, whole grains, and legumes. No part of my brain is begging for a burger. It's not like meat makes me cringe or anything--it's just not something I desire.
Also, the flexitarian/only-organic-meat thing was too difficult. I mean, it was easy to maintain on a personal level, but it was socially difficult. My peers didn't take me seriously, people didn't understand it, and it always sucked having to plan out days when I was eating out or with other people. If I didn't know ahead of time that we were going to grill out for supper, and I had tuna for lunch, well, I was screwed. And then I would have to explain to my friends, and then they would be annoyed, which I don't blame them.
The strange only-once-a-day rules I was following were bizarre and illogical at times. People would frustratedly ask me, "Why can't you just not eat meat the rest of the week?" or "Why can't you eat meat now if you ate it for lunch?" I originally liked the flexitarian idea because it allowed me to still eat meat in social situations like that, but I have realized that it sent confusing messages. I think my social life will actually be easier if I just establish myself as a vegetarian. People usually take that more seriously than "I can't eat meat for more than one meal a day." As a flexitarian, people will just expect you to always make the exception for them. Nobody expects the vegetarian to make an exception.
Also, the organic thing sounds great in theory, but it's really not fun to tell your stubborn mother that you'll only eat her trademark lasagna if she uses grass-fed beef. Not gonna happen. I couldn't even convince her to use whole wheat noodles!
Yes, vegetarianism has its difficulties...but so does IBS, and I've managed to make that work. Do you think I cry at night because I can't have caffeine? Ha! No. At the end of the day, having IBS has made me a healthier eater. It's like natural behavior modification; when I eat something not-so-great, it punishes me with pain, and when I eat healthy food, my tummy stays happy. :)
Similarly, I have found that eating meatless rewards me with a healthy mind and body, so the social dilemmas are worth it. I wouldn't do this if it didn't make me happy. I genuinely enjoy eating meatless. Regardless of all the other reasons I have listed, this is the deciding factor: I just like it.
And let's be honest--the kinds of restaurants that don't have vegetarian-friendly menus generally suck anyway, because it signals to me that they don't know how to work with basic ingredients beyond burgers, steaks, and fries.
Now I need to decide what to do with the meat in my house. My brother would probably gladly take my beef off my hands, and I'm thinking of taking all my canned tuna to the food pantry.
So that's me... My name is Lauren, and I'm a vegetarian.