I didn’t expect a simple diet change to have as profound an effect on me as becoming a vegetarian has. From almost immediate health improvements to pride in cutting my carbon footprint here are seven things I didn’t expect when I stopped eating meat.
- Food tastes soooooo gooooooooood. It’s not that I never ate vegetables before, or enjoyed meatless meals, but when veggies are centered it makes a huge difference. For example, if I was preparing corn on the cob to go along with a meal, then I’d just boil them for 20 minutes and then serve them with butter and salt. If feeling fancy, maybe I’d rub butter or EVOO on the cobs and wrap them in tinfoil before throwing them on the grill. BUT if I’m planning a meal around corn on the cob, which I did quite often last summer, then I want something a bit more substantial. Which is how I discovered Mexican street corn, or elotes.
- Medical conditions I thought I would have forever have disappeared. Irritable bowel syndrome and GERD, I’m looking at you!!! I had taken Metamucil every day, and Xantac more than once a day. No more!! It turns out all those black beans, lentils and copious servings of vegetables are better than medicine for these stomach conditions.
- It’s a relief being able to do something tangible about climate change. Yes, yes, I know, me giving up meat all by myself can’t make up for big corporations’ pollution. But I can – and do – contact my legislators about climate change AND live greener at the same time. It feels amazing knowing that my partner and I use half the energy this year as we did last year with just a diet change.
- One change flows into another. Speaking of living greener, once we realized how wonderful it felt to do something on a personal level to combat climate change, we made other changes as well. Like, we rarely use paper towels anymore, and instead use cloth napkins, and even recycled toilet paper. We also have cut down our consumption of plastic baggies and grocery bags by over half. This wasn’t hard. I had always thought these simple changes were beyond us because they’d be too inconvenient.
- I don’t have to touch dead animals. I do most of the cooking in my family and have always hated the way raw meat feels, and especially hated fishing the giblets out from inside a chicken. Now, quite obviously, I never, ever, ever have to do that again. Ever. Whew! And with that in mind …
- No more gristle in my teeth. Yuck.
- I’m released from a big part of the death cycle. I had no idea how profoundly not being responsible for the death of animals would impact my relationship with the world. I look at animals, especially farm animals, very differently now. I feel good and proud that none of them will die to feed me.
How about you? What changes have you noticed in your habits or world view?