Of course, I also loved meat, especially my Father's famous garlic-burgers which he prepared once a year while my Mom went Christmas shopping.
As an adult, it never occurred to me to give up animal products. Do without cheese? Get serious! Forgo that pork roast? Sacrilege! And don't even talk to me about eating anything other than a cheese and mushroom omelet on weekend mornings. Yep, I loved my animal products.
My other half, aka Art Ist, wanted to try a vegetarian diet. I smiled, politely said "yes dear", and continued enjoying my bologna sandwich. Then, we watched a PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) program about the typical American diet and how it was killing us. That program woke me up!
The host talked about common health issues, like heart disease and cancer, and their link to eating animal products. It surprised me to find out that most diseases are, at least to some degree, caused by the amount of animal protein we consume. He talked about a nutrient-rich diet which was low in fat and high in essential vitamins and minerals.
I don't know what the host's qualifications were. But what he said made sense to me.
Once the decision was made, I jumped in with both feet. Some folks like to add meatless meals gradually. Not me! I'm an "all or nothing" kind of person. My process started by going through the refrigerator and pantry, eliminating anything which contained an animal product. This was an enlightening activity as I read labels and learned about food ingredients. Once the products were removed from the kitchen (given to a friend), we began searching out recipes and new ingredients like quinoa and nutritional yeast. We learned about nutrition ... did you know that iron from raw vegetables, like spinach, is hard for our bodies to absorb? The simple solution is to add citrus to the meal ... a splash of lemon in your water, an orange for desert, etc.
It has been, and continues to be, a fun and exciting journey!
My decision to adopt a plant-based diet was all about health. Along the way I've become concerned about the plight of animals, raised commercially for food, and learned how my food choices affect the earth. I've vacillated between vegan, vegetarian and even pescetarian.
In the end, for me, a vegan diet is best.
Have you considered a vegan/vegetarian diet? How would you (or did you) make the change?
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Images courtesy of Simon Howden, imagerymajestic, and graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net