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My Giving Up Meat Story




In light of today being the first day of National Vegetarian Week I felt now might be a good chance to get some of the vegetarian type blog posts I've been mentally writing for months onto a laptop screen. I have posted about vegetarianism before with the most meaty (hah!) having been explaining why it took me twenty years to put aside the chicken. Whilst that post obviously places me as someone who grew up eating meat it doesn't exactly explain how I went veggie only why it took me so long. 

And thus now I write my story. There will be bullet points at the end if you don't quite want the ins and out or hear me bitching about my mum. I'll understand if you jump to the end.

My first serious attempt at vegetarianism happened when I was fourteen. It was to do with animal rights which has always been one of my big issues. However I didn't know any vegetarians, I was very limited in sandwich choices at school lunches and then there was my mum. Yes, my mum was a big blockage - she respects it now however it wasn't until I properly became vegetarian that she realised I was being serious and stopped her attempts to feed me dead pig.   

Then came my second and successful attempt, which started at age twenty at the beginning of 2011. Originally I was trying out the raw diet which has a few variations to it. When it came to testing out the veggie variation something felt really right. I stopped getting that annoying bloated feeling (something I had always had problems with) and my energy levels went sky high. 

But that wasn't quite it. Like anyone who's ever cut anything from their life it wasn't an overnight feat. 

Firstly I ate everything in my fridge/freezer that could still be classified as meat. That was my first test - I was still allowed to eat meat I just wasn't allowed to purchase any more. After that it was gone. However being vegetarian in the comfort of your own meat-free flat was a lot different from being vegetarian out and about in the meat-eating world. So publicly I was still a meat-eater. At the Sports Ball and Business Ball that year I didn't kick up a fuss and accepted the chicken. The only people who knew about the experimentation were my parents (my dad: respectful from the get go, my mum: as stated above was a barrier).


Crab salad wrap from just over a year ago

Though when I say "meat free" I tell a fib. Like a lot of vegetarians the very final meat to turn my back on was seafood. Seafood had been my very favourite meat in the first two decades of my life: tuna, prawns, lobster, cod...it was all there. I certainly wasn't short of Omega 3.  And with a lack of substitutes for the ocean variety of meat it wasn't as easy as replacing chicken with Quorn. 

Come almost a year ago now I returned back to my parents for the summer holidays. Being away from university and my main social group allowed me to assess what I really wanted without any outside sources.  And it was to be vegetarian. However it did mean coming home and asserting that I no longer ate meat. As part of my raw diet I had converted to soya milk and my mum happily obliged to make this part of the weekly shop (she even bought soya yoghurts!) however trying to get through to her that I wanted to completely give up meat was difficult. We had some family friends over from New Zealand and during dinner my parents were talking about travelling down under and my dad on my behalf asked what vegetarian options were like there, to which my mum piped up "..but you're not fully vegetarian" in her mother-always-knows-best voice. (Would like to point out that I do have a good relationship with my mum, this is just an example of mothers not always knowing best.) If we hadn't had guests round I would have voiced my thoughts: "Well, I would be if you'd stop fucking feeding me meat". 

However throughout the summer I began to "come out" as a vegetarian (for lack of better term). This was mainly to people who I had just met who would take it at face value and not ask too many questions. Long-standing friends and relatives were still assuming duck was an appropriate dinner choice for me. 

Roll on to September I moved back to Dundee into my own flat. Alone. Yes, this time I was living alone. All food in the kitchen was mine and I was left to experiment to my hearts content. It was a meat-free environment. But then there was still my mum. In her best interests she brought me some canned goods from home with one being tuna. This time around I firmly held my ground and stated that tuna was a dead animal and dead animals have no place in my diet and she was best to take it home. She did and this was the defining moment, I believe, when she finally realised that I was vegetarian, no ifs and not buts, meat was completely gone from my diet. She hasn't tried to serve me meat since though she still tries to cook it in my oven occasionally.


Genuine processed food choice from last September

Hurrah! I had become successfully vegetarian. Now everyone knew and most people had accepted it with very few questions. But was that it all now? With meat now gone from diet I had to work on learning some new recipes. But instead of doing so I bought processed cheese pizzas for the most part and ate plain pasta. Which was hardly the makes of a great diet now is it? Also sometime around here I began cutting out by-products of slaughter. Like Haribo.And I had cravings like no other as my body adjusted to the full switch-over.

That's why in December I made the final step into becoming a bona fide vegetarian. I bought myself a vegetarian recipe book: Vegetarian Nosh for Students which I highly recommend & have by now exhausted almost half the recipes.

So in bullet pointed form:
I tried it out in private first to see if it was for me
Phased it out meat by meat, seafood second last; Haribo last
Had cravings which lead to questions about the loneliness of my womb
Had to hold my ground against my mum
Told everyone else I could no longer go to McDonalds
Moved into my own flat by myself where the kitchen was MINE
Ate far too many cheese pizzas
Gave my mum into trouble for buying me tuna
Bought myself a good veggie cookbook and started eating food more interesting than a cheese pizza

And that there is the simplistic version. ;)

I know I have a few vegetarians within my followers - was this a similar story for you? Also I know some of you are currently working on becoming completely veggie. Does this help at all? As it is National Vegetarian Week I'll be posting some other veggie related posts this week - is there any questions some people would want covered?

Morag x




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  1. I used to be fully vegetarian, indeed I was for many years, but due to working on boats that don't provide vegetarian options, I had to start eating fish again a few years ago. As you say, many would-be vegetarians keep fish on the menu, and I certainly don't eat fish very often, so that my diet is nearly always vegetarian, but when there's only a choice of meat, meat, meat or fish, at least I have something I don't mind eating. It is difficult, and my mum also had a hard time adjusting to it (luckily for me both of my brothers became vegetarian before I did, and so she wasn't too surprised when I made the choice). She still thinks it's a bit odd and rather inconvenient if she's making meals, but in fact once you get used to it there are loads of things you can eat, the variety of vegetables is huge and when you combine them with the big variety of carbohydrates available, you can easily fill yourself up nicely. Well done on your vegginess, I think it's a really healthy diet as long as you eat a broad range of foods and make sure you get enough green leafy things for iron. I have wondered about veganism, but I don't think I'm ready to give up dairy produce yet, and I'm not sure if I ever will be, but you never know.

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