Welcome back GrimmGirl readers!
As you can tell from the title this post will tell the story of what possessed me to go from a very avid meat eater, to a stout vegetarian. I think my story might surprise a few people. I know the fact that I became a vegetarian at all caused the majority of my friends and family to practically keel over.
What you have to understand is that if you knew me in real life you would know that I use to be the biggest pro meat eater. I was that meat eating troll that every vegetarian and vegan rolls his or her eyes at and hopes to never encounter. Some of my favorite arguments included (but weren’t limited to):
“It’s just the circle of life. Animals die and we eat them.”
“If we didn’t hunt deer they would over populate the area and starve to death. Do you want animals to starve?”
“You can’t get protein without meat. It’s just not healthy.”
I can literally remember seeing pamphlets for why meat is wrong to eat on the dining tables at my college and it annoyed me. I went on a rant on why vegetarians annoy the crap out of me and if they want to be miserable they can do it on their own time… don’t even get me started on those damn vegans.
So how the hell did a woman like me become a vegetarian?
Most vegetarians/vegans you talk to will talk to will explain that they saw some documentary or another showcasing the horrors animals suffer and that was enough for them to make a conversion. That’s actually not how I became a vegetarian. In fact I didn’t start looking into animal rights until after I became a vegetarian.
For me it all began on a more spiritual level. I’m African-American and I hold many of my cultural traditions dear to me. It took a while for me to find those ties, but find them I did. This led me to seriously consider how I was treating not only people but also animals on this planet.
There was a time in my ancestors history (all of ours really) where killing animals was part of their survival. They needed their meat for food when plants were scarce, their skins and furs for clothing and warmth and they used every part of the animal for other human necessities. They also revered and respected the animals acknowledging the fact they were taking a life to meet their needs. Everyone in the community was apart of the death of the animal.
I didn’t do any of those things. I didn’t need their meat to survive. I can easily go to the grocery store. I didn’t need their fur or skins. I can find more than enough products on the market today to keep me warm that aren’t made from animal products. I have no interest using the majority of animal parts that come with the death of an animal.
Ewwww… no thank you.
What was I suppose to do with that?
I had no interest in hunting or having any part in the death of an animal. It sounded sad. I certainly didn’t have any respect or reverence for the animals I was eating. If anything I felt entitled. I was a human and they were animals. Sucks to be them.
When I examined these thoughts I realized that I actually felt a bit ashamed of myself. It was true I was human and unlike animals in the wild I had a choice between what I could eat or wear as far as survival was concerned. So why was a choosing to kill animals? It wasn’t necessary for me.
As I was mulling around these thoughts and considering my own self-entitlement I began considering the vegetarian life. I started checking out vegetarian recipes and trying things out. Looking into the health benefits and things of that nature. I found it interesting but still wasn’t prepared to commit.
Then, one fateful day I ate would be my last piece of meat ever. A spicy chicken burrito… It still haunts me. Within hours of eating it I got food poisoning. It was the sickest I have ever been in my life and it lasted three days. I suffered everything you would imagine happening if you got food poisoning.
During that time I could barely eat or drink because everything kept coming back up. In fact it took me three days to eat one bowl of chicken broth. My husband just kept sticking it in the fridge for me to eat later. Trust me being sick in bed (and on the bathroom floor) for three days gave me a lot of time to consider how I was relating to animals.
I’m a big believer in signs. I think that things happen to just push us in the right direction. As I spent my three days alternating between slight weeping and harsh puking I couldn’t help but come to believe that the chicken I ate was having it’s revenge against me for being such a dick.
Unlike my ancestors I wasn’t killing animals for survival, I was doing it because I could and that damn chicken knew it. This was my punishment. I can chuckle about it now but at the time I was 100% convinced that if I didn’t give up meat that chicken would cause me to be sick for the rest of my life.
So I made a promise to the universe. If I would stop being sick I would never eat meat again. The next day, I felt fine and it may sound silly but I was determined to keep my promise. I’m pretty sure breaking your promise to the universe is a big karmic no-no. When I told my husband that I was becoming a vegetarian he chuckled and said, “I’ll give you a week.”
It’s been six months since he told me he’d give me a week and I haven’t touch meat since.
Many of my family members are still surprised I think and are hoping I’m just going through some weird phase but the thing is once I decided to give up meat there hasn’t been a moment where I’ve missed or craved it since.
I think that’s because once I decided to stop eating meat I was actually able to listen to what vegetarians and vegans were saying without getting defensive and shutting them out. When I was able to do this I was able to learn a lot. I could finally look at the treatment of animals in major meat processing plants and the environmental factors that are affected by my past meat eating ways.
When I saw this it made me think that by not eating meat I could make the world a bit nicer. There are a lot of things that I don’t do to make the world a better place, even though I know I should. I drive instead of walk most of the time, I leave the shower and faucet running for days, and I’m terrible about shutting of electrical stuff. I realized that becoming a vegetarian was something that I could do to help the world a little more.
I also renewed my connection with animals and was able to realize my own hypocrisy. How could I sit here judging other countries for eating dogs, cats, and horses when I was sitting here mowing down on cows, chickens, and lambs? Either I was okay with eating all animals or none of them.
Since I’ve been learning so much about animal rights and health in general I’ve also begun cutting dairy out and moving towards a vegan lifestyle. I was never a huge dairy fan to begin with so it isn’t that hard but I do love cheese so finding a good substitute has been a challenge.
Basically I became a vegetarian because I wanted to do something nice for the world and the animals around me. It makes me feel good about myself and I think it’s important that everyone finds something in the world that helps them to feel good about themselves. This is my thing.
That’s the true story of how I became a vegetarian! I get a lot of questions since my husband and daughter are not vegetarians so I thought it would be interesting to share.
I hope you all enjoyed and please post any thoughts in the comment section below.
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