If you had told me a year or two ago that I will be writing a blog post about becoming a vegetarian, I would have laughed at your face so hard! I was one of those people who thought vegetarian/vegans were weird and always tried to make you feel like they were better than you. In fact, let me give a few reasons why back then, omitting meat from my diet would have never crossed my mind.
1. This is going to sound super stereotypical, but I used to LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE chicken. I can’t remember a day when I was offered chicken and said no. If there was a world where chicken was the only meat available, I would have had no problem eating it on a daily basis.
2. In cases you didn’t know, I’m African. And in a typical African household it is virtually unheard of to not eat meat. Basically if the food doesn’t have meat in it, it won’t be as enjoyable as if it did. Think of it as having spaghetti and meatballs without the meatballs. The chances of us eating spaghetti with no meat balls are virtually non-existent. Out of every meal we eat, I would say at least 8/10 times it has some kind of meat in it.
3. I was uneducated. When I thought of non-meat eaters, I thought of hardcore animal lovers who would get upset with you for accidentally stepping on an ant and I simply could never relate. Ever since a dog took a bite out me when I was little, animals and I haven’t been the best of friends. I’m not a fan of them, and they aren’t of me. I’m okay with us co-existing and all but I’m not about to dedicate my life to saving them (do I sound heartless?).
Things quickly changed when I finally got a Netflix subscription and quickly developed a love for documentaries. After binge-watching too many documentaries to keep count, I finally stumbled on a documentary called FOOD, INC. It was as if I had been blinded for years, and the movie basically removed my blindfold. I was completely flabbergasted by what I was watching. I never really paid any mind to how the food I was buying got to the grocery store, where it was made, and how?
FOOD INC. opened doors to many other documentaries just like it and before I knew it, I had watched Cowspiracy, Fork over Knives, Plant Pure Nation, Vegucated, and countless YouTube videos. With every documentary and video that I watched, it became apparent that I couldn’t allow myself to indulge in animal flesh any longer. The chicken I liked so much spent most of its days in an overcrowded room, away from sunlight and pumped with so many hormones to make it grow faster that it couldn’t even walk. The chickens’ legs will often give out because they couldn’t handle the abnormal weight of their bodies. Watching that and many more like it honestly made me want to puke.
Not only is Animal agriculture unsustainable but it is also a huge contributor to climate change among other things. One thing I learned that absolutely baffled is the fact that we could very well feed the millions of people who go hungry every day with the grains we reserve for livestock. Learning facts such as these further reinforced my decision to stop eating meat.
Now that I am four months in, I can’t possibly imagine myself ever eating animal flesh again. My chipotle order now, actually costs less than before and that’s with guacamole! I walk by a chick-fil-a almost every day to get to school and I barely look at it whereas before all it took was the smell of chicken nuggets to get me through the door.
I eventually plan on transitioning to a vegan diet in the future, but as of right now, I’m having lots of fun trying vegetarian recipes and making vegetarian versions of foods that I used to eat with meat.
I’ve been really careful not to reinforce the belief I previously had about meat-free eaters when I get asked questions (even ones that are…challenging to answer to say the least). I always felt as though they were condescending towards carnivores which is why I was so quick not to show any type of interest in their lifestyles. I’m definitely not trying to tell anyone how to live their lives but I do believe that sharing what I learned with others could possibly encourage them to do their own research and take whatever action they see fit. I know I probably would have become a vegetarian sooner if I had been informed. With that said, here are some of the videos/movies I watched that helped me decide to become a vegetarian.
FOOD INC. (Netflix)
Forks over Knives (Netflix)
Plant Pure Nation (Netflix)