I have now been a vegetarian for a year!
It’s one of the best decisions I ever made and I wanted to reflect on how my first year has been and what I’ve learnt over that time.
One: Eating out is tricky.
As much as there are a tonne of restaurants with veggie alternatives now, I am a pretty fussy eater so I still struggle a lot with eating out. I don’t like nuts, seeds, pulses, feta or many vegetables which makes vegetarian eating quite difficult sometimes!
Two: There is no substitute for fish.
I don’t miss meat at all. There are so many different meat substitutes out there that are perfectly good that I’ve never once thought that I fancy a bit of steak or whatever. But there are no replacements for fish (except the odd fishless fish cake) so that, to my surprise, was harder to give up than meat was.
Three: Check EVERY label.
Animals sneak into everything! I have accidentally consumed meat products a number of times this year in wine, cheese, oven chips, yoghurt – so many things I wouldn’t even have thought of! I’ve learnt my lesson now. Nothing is off limits – check every label first.
Four: People will try to justify their choices.
Upon learning that I don’t eat meat, lots of people then automatically seem to feel the need to tell me why they do, how little they do, or how they only buy certain kinds of meat. I think it’s because it makes people reflect that maybe eating meat isn’t ethical – I’m sure I used to do it too. I don’t care if you eat meat or not, it’s up to you! But if people ask about why I don’t I will talk passionately about it.
Five: Everyone is a dietitian.
A LOT of people have asked me where I get my protein from like I was some sort of body builder eating an entire chicken every day before I cut meat out. I only ate meat around once or twice a week anyway – it’s really not made any difference to my nutritional intake!
I feel infinitely better about myself since I gave up meat. I don’t feel any different physically but I feel so much better morally and ethically! I would highly recommend vegetarianism to everyone, it was honestly SO much easier than I thought it would be.
Here’s to another year of being friends with the animals!