My Vegetarian Story

Today, I felt the urge to share with you my vegetarian story. I’ve never talked about this on the blog, which seems really surprising since I’ve posted lots of vegetarian recipes. Many of you might be wondering what my life was like before becoming vegetarian, how I made the decision to become a vegetarian, and how I view meat-eaters. Well, you’ll get answers to everything in this post.

Before we get into the details, I want to be clear about my dietary choice. With all the different types of diets out there, it can get kind of confusing. I’m not a vegan or even technically a true vegetarian. I’m a pescetarian. Here’s a quick breakdown.

  • Vegans – Do not consume any animal products, including red or white meat, fish, fowl, eggs or dairy. Vegans also don’t use honey or beeswax, because they are animal by-products. They also typically avoid using products that come from animals, like silk, leather and wool. 
  • Lacto Vegetarians – Do not consume red or white meat, fish, fowl or eggs. They do consume dairy products such as cheese, milk and yogurt.
  • Ovo Vegetarians – Do not consume red or white meat, fish, fowl or dairy products. They do eat egg products. 
  • Lacto-ovo Vegetarians (most common form of vegetarianism) – Do not consume red or white meat, fish or fowl. They do eat dairy and egg products. 
  • Pescetarians (aka semi-vegetarian) – Do not consume red or white meat or fowl. Do eat fish, dairy and eggs. 

Alright, now that we got that all straightened out, keep reading!

Life before Vegetarianism

I grew up in what I’d like to say was a traditional American household. I ate cereal for breakfast on most days, some sort of sandwich with deli meat for lunch {unless we went to my gmom’s for perogies!}, and usually chicken, pork or steak for dinner. There was of course fruits and veggies thrown in there, but the focus of our meals was always the meat. Like many kids, I wasn’t allowed to go outside after dinner and play unless I ate everything on my plate. 

As I got a little bit older, I started craving more salads and nutrient-dense foods. However, I still had copious amounts of chicken fingers, pizza, and fast food. You’d never know it though because of my high metabolism and since I was in dance classes almost every day burning it all off. I definitely didn’t hate my diet and never really felt the need to make a lifestyle change… until I went to college. 

The decision to become vegetarian

When I went to college, I was definitely aware of the “freshman 15.” I don’t think I actually gained any noticeable weight, but I definitely went through a phase of trying every quick-solution weight loss plan on the market. High protein? Yep, I tried it. Fruits only? Of course. Low fat? Definitely. Sugar-free everything? Hand me the Sweet and Low. If a specific product or diet told me that I’d lose weight, I gave it a shot. I was a marketer’s dream. Who really needs to do any real research on a product, when the label tells you everything you need to know?! Ha. Absolutely insane. 

After a year or so of eating like that, I lost a few pounds but I started feeling really terrible. I was always in a bad mood, I had non-stop headaches, I was constantly bloated, and I was tired all the time. I remember taking naps mid-day between classes, because I couldn’t make it through a whole day without it. All of these symptoms were a huge wake-up call for me.

Sometime during the beginning of my sophomore year at college, I came across the book Skinny Bitch. It wasn’t like every other boring diet book I read. It was absolutely hilarious, provided some research about veganism, and offered blunt advice such as, “You are a total moron if you think the Atkins Diet will make you thin.” I certainly didn’t agree 100% with everything in the book, but it made me think about my lifestyle choices as a whole. It opened up the door for me to start researching different types of lifestyle options and deciding for myself whether or not it was a change I wanted to make. 

A few months later, I decided to become a pescetarian. It was actually my new year’s resolution. I wasn’t sure if I would last longer than a month, but it was a goal I set for myself. The switch to this new lifestyle was actually much easier than I thought it would be. Around this time, I found a ton of vegetarian and pescetarian food bloggers and started experimenting with different types recipes. I loved testing out new foods {including meat-substitutes found at the grocery store}, making plant-based dishes at home, and researching new ways to integrate more fruits and veggies into my life. Even more than that, I absolutely LOVED how my new diet made me feel.

Eventually, I knew that my new year’s resolution would be a life-long decision. 

How I view meat eaters

This may or may not come as a shock, but I don’t hate or shun meat eaters. In fact, I cook meat all the time for Bryan. There are some times that I ask him to make his own meat, because the smell or texture bothers me, but for the most part I’m 100% fine with it. I don’t push my diet on him or force him to stop eating meat. He’s a grown man who can make his own choices! However, I do make sure he’s getting enough fruits and veggies throughout the day, especially a large salad at dinner time.

I feel as though vegetarians get a bad reputation because some of them are very vocal in their views and can actually come off as hateful at times. I’m not someone who pushes my views on other people or talks highly about my own diet in order to make others feel inferior. If people ask me about being a pescetarian, I’ll go into more detail and answer whatever questions they have. I’ll even offer resources for people to learn more, but I don’t preach. Basically because preachy people annoy the hell out of me personally. I believe that when you start preaching and talking down to someone who is open to learning more about a topic (it can be about ANYTHING), that individual is more likely to shut you off and be less likely to do what you’re recommending anyway.

So, instead of leaving a bunch of vegetarian resources in this post… please reach out to me via email if you’re interested in learning more. I’ll send you a list of my favorite books, links, products and documentaries.

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