In my eyes of a human that hasn’t been eating meat for 4 years, vegetarianism is simple, and seemed simple from the beginning. All you have to do is not eat animals. There is always a second side of the coin where we meet adversities we never expected. If you are considering a meat-free diet but are scared of the unknown, don’t be. You’ll only be doing a good deed to the world and yourself. Look at some of the obstacles I have across as a vegetarian. #truestory
The pure dietary aspect of a vegetarian diet is not as difficult as many think. Vegetables, nuts, beans, leaves and fruits are available everywhere. Knowing what and how to prepare them is a different story.
I know frying up bacon and eggs for breakfast is super easy but so is making avocado on toast or porridge. The two latter options are much healthier too. You can check out my recipes for inspiration.
The meat eating household
I’ll be honest, when meat is being cooked for dinner at home, I do often have to make the extra step and prepare something for myself. If you are the one cooking at home, there are plenty of ways to make vegetables taste like meat. Try smoked paprika powder, soy sauce or vegan bbq sauce. With time I figured out a few ways to replace chicken fillets or meat balls with meat free alternatives which I will describe in a separate post. It’s a matter of changing and shaping new habits which might take you and your fam some time but you’ll get there eventually.
If they don’t want to cook veggie dishes for you, cook for them. There are plenty of amazing recipes online. They might like it eventually.
You might end up with having a completely different dish to everybody else whether that is a family dinner at home, at an aunts house or at a wedding celebration. Telling the hosts that you don’t eat meat might be awkward because you know you’ll be the odd one out.
Being vegan is a little more troublesome because you refuse more ingredients. When relatives put effort in to cook dinner that’s specifically meat free but still contains egg or cream, it feels awkward and ungrateful to refuse. This is probably one of the greatest struggles which is the reason why I cannot label myself as a vegan (yet).
Tully from VegansFirst has written an awesome guide on how to socialize as a vegan, which shines some light on the ways in which we can deal with meat eating people and remain in good relations. I’d recommend you have a read, it’s very insightful indeed.
I have the privilege to compare societies from 2 different countries which do not differ extremely but are based on different values and cultural diversity. When I travel from one country to another, I can really see how much people around us affect what we eat.
Tolerance can be a sensitive subject because it can take several social problems under its wings. If you think about the downsides of our society such as racism, sexism, homophobia, poverty or aggression, a question appears “Who cares about some vegan?”. Sounds like and irrelevant topic, yet vegans do face hate and disapproval.
I’m saying this, because although people may not understand your perspective, they should tolerate it. The struggle is when they don’t and ruin your vibes.
In a country that is a home to hundreds of nationalities and cultures, it is difficult to keep everyone happy. UK for example, is a home to almost every religion in the world, therefore accepting the rituals and traditions of these nations.
This could be a good or a bad thing. Many Hindus do not eat meat for religious reasons which to me is amazing. On the other hand, there are Muslims eating halal meat and Jewish eating kosher meat which are far from ethical.
Although people of these religions believe that thanks to the blessing, the animals do not feel any pain, they are still killed in a very cruel way. More cruel than animals killed in a standard, non religious way.
Facing these religious differences can be difficult to accept and in fact tolerate especially if you choose not to eat meat for ethical reasons.
There are European countries that have banned the ritual slaughter of animals purely because of it’s cruel nature. I really hope UK will do the same. Sadly it’t not expected to happen soon. 🙁
Remember that the society is evolving. What seems difficult now, might change with time. You are a part of the society too, you can help it change. Even when it seems challenging.
“I won’t be able to live without meat”
If I was paid £1 for each time I heard this I would be having my own animal sanctuary by now.
If you also think you will struggle to live without meat, you think wrong. If you’re worried that you won’t be eating enough nutrients, make sure you eat wholefood protein rather than pure carbs. (Tell me honestly, do you think about the nutrients every time you eat a steak?)
Be smart about it. If you feel like something isn’t right, talk to a vegan nutritionist or explore the wonderful book of all things known as The Internet.
You might miss the taste of meat every now and then but there are plenty of amazing, meat free dishes that will make your taste buds happy.
Meat free doesn’t mean vegetarian
When straying from meat, you’ll realize how many products are not even vegetarian despite not consisting of meat. Jellies made of gelatin, energy drinks containing tallow, alcohol containing finings or sweets made of animal based colouring. You’ll start reading the ingredients list a lot more carefully. This will probably make you realize how much rubbish we actually eat.
The real struggle
An ethical vegetarian has a different view on life to most people whereby is more sensitive to cruelty and abuse that surrounds us. Although vegans and vegetarians make a difference to hundreds of animals per yer, reducing their impact on the environment and consumer demand for meat, there is still a lot of cruelty taking place around us. I sometimes doubt myself and feel I don’t do enough to make a change.
Seeing a truck on a motorway full of chickens or pigs being driven to a slaughter house feels like a stab in the heart. Cases when people wanted to help these crammed animals in a truck by giving them water resulted in fines and complaints.
How is this justifiable?
How is this legal?
What did these animals do to people to be treated like this?
All these questions are spinning around inside your head without any answers. WHY, GOD WHY?
If you’re looking for answers to questions such as this one, you are already more compassionate than you think.
Perhaps you’re one foot in the door into the vegetarian household. Welcome to light side of the force.
If you’re beginning your plant based journey, you might find these items helpful.