Last August I decided to go vegetarian. In reality this didn’t really mean changing much, I hardly ever ate meat at home and half the time when I was eating out meat didn’t feature in any meaningful way in what I chose to eat.
The tipping point came when I was in America last summer and was slightly disgusted by the sheer volume of meat I’d consumed whilst there. I’d begun to notice more and more that any real dip in my energy levels or general sense of happiness usually coincided with either eating lots of meat, or eating badly (and usually those two things went hand in hand). Conversely I usually felt good and perky (annoyingly so) when I ate lots of fruit and veg. By labelling myself as a vegetarian I thought I might force myself consciously to do a lot more of the latter and a lot less (ideally none) of the former. It was never really an ‘ethical’ decision in any way, sure I like animals but also, for my whole life, had been basically okay with eating them.
So, how has it been? Absolutely fine. I sometimes feel like I’m being slightly awkward when I’m asked if I have ‘any dietary requirements’ but I suspect that’s simply because the answer to that question always used to be ‘of course not’ and now it’s ‘yes, a bit’. It has been interesting to learn new ways of cooking and thinking about food. It’s funny when people ask whether there’s anything I ‘miss’ because the honest answer is there really isn’t.
And has it had the hoped-for effect on my mood, energy and general sense of well-being? It seems so! I’m not going to entirely credit that to my diet but I used to suffer fairly regularly with almost chronic fatigue on a daily basis and that’s rarely ever the case (and if it does occur it’s usually obviously traced out to a late or boozy episode the night before).
The idea of eating meat is now fairly repellant to me, am I going to go vegan? Almost certainly not, I like butter too much. But the entire experiment has been interesting and, so far, a success. Which is nice.
Other things I have noticed:
- Some people cannot comprehend of a meal without meat, which is weird in and of itself
- Vegetarian options in restaurants are either great, interesting and numerous OR boring and limited. And when they’re boring and limited they’re really boring and limited. I’ve been surprised just how piss poor the veggie options have been in otherwise ‘decent’ restaurants.
- You end up spending less on food (meat is expensive).
- The fetishisation of meat is everywhere and it’s really weird. Maybe I just never noticed before but so much food advertising revolves around meat and so much advertising involving meat has an almost sexual approach to looking at and describing what is, in reality, a glistening chunk of dead animal. That is a strange thing, no?