It’s a privilege to be able to make choices about what types of food you will and will not consume. I am so very lucky to be allowed to freedom to make choices about my diet, and the freedom to visit the grocery store and farmers market often for fresh produce. These are not freedoms available to many people, and when discussing vegetarianism, plant based and vegan diets and lifestyles, it’s an important piece that needs to be remembered. My choices and journey into vegetarianism and further plant-based lifestyle are my own and yours will absolutely look different.
When I was in high school my best friend at the time went vegetarian. I don’t ever think I told her how cool I thought it was. In the early 2000’s vegetarian diets in our high school were relatively unheard of. Her family considered meat a staple, and her pushing and testing those boundaries seemed unreal to me.
I'm no longer close with this friend, but I’ll always remember how cool I thought it was that she went vegetarian all those years ago, and how cool I think it is even now! She made this amazing choice when the information was only just becoming readily available! It took me many more years before I was finally in a place that I was ready and able to adopt a vegetarian diet.
Throughout university, I thought ALOT about going vegetarian, but I never committed. Pursuing my undergraduate degree in International Development, at a university known for their superiority in agriculture, I naturally took courses in food systems and food (in)security. Connecting themes penetrated all my other courses; the beauty of my degree was taking courses in multiple disciplines. I quickly learned how our food choices and large corporations are impacting our health and our planet, yet I still hesitated to make the switch to a vegetarian diet.
Almost two years ago, I was having a conversation with a coworker about her recent transition into vegetarianism. The two of us started discussing vegetarianism, how easy it is for someone in our position, and the impact it can have on our body, health, the planet, and animal welfare. Suddenly, it donned on me that I had no reason NOT to be vegetarian. At that moment, I announced that I would also be going vegetarian.
Honestly, although it was hard and I faltered, I think it was best for me to just give up meat and fish all at once. I didn’t have a plan, I just jumped in with two feet and that was it. Which I do not recommend! I need to put work in every day towards ensuring I am well nourished, but that was something I struggled with prior to adopting vegetarianism. My partner was and continues to be incredibly supportive and a wealth of knowledge; he is a Chef and enjoys making and eating delicious vegetarian food, however he is a still an omnivore.
One night we were out a bar celebrating something and Curtis got some chicken wings, which previously had been one of my favourite foods! Chicken wings also had a special place in our relationship, as we both enjoyed one type of wing over the other. Anyway, I ate one chicken wing that night and that was the last time I ever ate meat.
I attempted to eat mussels once after that, however I wasn’t able too! It was sad because Curtis had put so much time, effort and love making them. Food is such a large part of our relationship, and we definitely needed to allow room for that adjustment, but now we have new delicious foods that hold special places in our lives together!
My diet is constantly changing and adapting. As I said, I'm still working towards ensuring I'm fully nourished, breakfast is something I've never been very good, ever. I like treats too, and love to bake. I like to eat and never want to feel limited by my own choices.