The (almost) vegetarian

It’s difficult to explain to my friends and family that I no longer eat meat. Except for when I’m in the presence of ribs, or seafood, or without an immediate alternative. Or whenever I feel like it.
I understand their confusion. Being a vegan is a personal ideal, for ethical, environmental, economic, and health reasons. Yet I still struggle to make the changes on a regular basis, and to make them a permanent part of my life.
About a year ago, I suffered from an extremely painful ovarian cyst, and was pumped up on antibiotics that forced me to sleep for 10-12 hours a day. A friend of mine (and nutrition student) urged me to try out a raw, vegan diet for a week or so and see if it helped.
Within three days, my symptoms had completely disappeared. I felt healthier than I had per-cyst, and spent my doctor-approved sick days surfing instead. A checkup two weeks later revealed that the potentially harmful cyst had disappeared into the shadows.
After endless hours researching my epiphany on google, I discovered the benefits of an animal-friendly diet were plentiful. Even lean meat and organic dairy encourage cells (and cysts) to grow, and create an acidic environment in the body, which spurs further growth to boot.
I know the facts firsthand; why can’t I maintain my fabulous vegan existence? To be fair, for the most part, I do. But I fall off the wagon so often that I’m not really slipping anymore; I’m barely hanging on.
The most glaring struggle is tradition. Humans are social and cultural eaters; what we eat is inherently part of who we are. American culture includes chicken wings, turkeys and ham. Our traditions are tied to summer BBQs, bacon and steak.
Yet tradition is not so hard to break. There’s no reason I can’t sit at the table and skip the meat dishes the way my little brother always skips the veggies. I’m lucky enough to live in Hawaii, and almost every restaurant I go to eat and socialize in has Asian, or at least some veggie Asian dishes.
I am someone that shouldn’t, and desires not to, eat meat. This year, I pledge to put my beliefs into practice as best I can. I may slip up, but every single meat-free meal makes a difference in the health of myself and the planet. Maybe I need to re-watch Forks Over Knives or skim through Eating Animals in times of weakness, but even small dietary changes is something I and everyone else can easily manage.
We’re all blessed to have a plethora of vegetarian options everywhere from Burger King and Chinese take-out joints to big chains like Yardhouse and the Cheesecake Factory. We can replace chicken with tofu or beans, fill our burritos with fresh veggies and rice and our plates with bountiful kale, sweet potato and lentils. Never has a conscientious lifestyle been easier, cheaper and more convenient.

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2 thoughts on “The (almost) vegetarian

  1. I know it’s so hard! I do well until it’s no longer convenient or as soon as free food is in front of me. And cheese is absolutely by BIGGEST weakness šŸ˜¦ good luck to you and your goals too! One day.

  2. I am the worst (almost) vegetarian [Ideally vegan] ever. I would love to be able to one day call myself vegan, but then I reach for the cheese. When I want a quick snack, instead of cutting up a cucumber and putting Italian dressing or ranch on it, I grab a hotdog. I also have read a bunch on raw vegan diets and would love to adhere to it. Maybe one day we’ll both achieve our goals!

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