My vegetarianism

It’s kind of funny, the little things I’ve been most concerned with about getting married…

I know that Dan and I have similar philosophies about money, similar goals for life and very similar values. Those things don’t cause me any anxiety.

One thing I am worried about, however, is what I will cook for my husband-to-be. Sure, I have better than average cooking skills, especially compared with most college students. But, there is one food group I am wholly unfamiliar with: meat.

Since getting engaged, I’ve been playing around with making different meat dishes for Dan while making vegetarian dishes for myself. And, I feel it’s important to say that I’m alright with this. I have no problem with the ethics of cooking meat for Dan, I just have a problem with actually knowing how to do it…

To really explain this, I think it would be best to take you back to the beginning of why I decided to become a vegetarian as well as why I am content with other people eating meat.

I was never a big fan of red meat or fish. In the “Book About Me” that I filled out in 1997, I even said that burgers were my least favorite foods. Nonetheless, I was far, far from being a vegetarian for my whole childhood. I ordered chicken fingers every chance I got and the vast majority of meals at my family’s home consisted for chicken and potatoes.

It wasn’t until the summer before I began high school that I started contemplating vegetarianism. While surfing around the web, I happened upon a P.E.T.A. video about unethical treatment of animals. I just couldn’t shake the images…

When I went off to camp the next week, I decided to try out being a “pesco-pollo vegetarian,” meaning I would still eat poultry and fish, but no red meat.

The “experiment” went off without a hitch as camp, but I was still hesitant to tell my parents about it when I returned home. Would they understand? Would they support me? While I was still trying to figure that out, I just avoided red meat at family meals. Instead, I came up with excuses for why I was refusing the meal… It wasn’t until a few weeks into my semi-vegetarianism that I finally told my parents I was done with red meat.

To my pleasure, they were fine with my decision. This is probably because it didn’t make too much of a difference to my diet. As mentioned, I never was big on red meat. So, instead of eating it once or twice a week, I just cut it out all together.

I went about this way for a few years and simply felt better by not eating red meat. To some extent, this was about not feeling “right” with eating red meat. To some extent, this was about believing it was healthier. To some extent, this was just about something I couldn’t explain.

Whatever the reason, sometime during high school, I also decided to cut out fish. I practically never ate it, so it wasn’t a big deal to me.

It wasn’t until I moved away to college that I really toyed with the idea of becoming a full vegetarian (no red meat, fish, poultry or “anything that walked”). Whereas chicken dominated the majority of meals at home, my school’s dining hall offered plenty of vegetarian options for me to play around with. I decided to make a resolution: The day after donating blood, I was going to try to go all vegetarian.

One week, two weeks, three weeks… I still had plenty of food options as well as plenty of energy. I just kept going with it.

When two friends and I moved into an apartment sophomore year, we talked about cooking meals together. To make it easier, I said I would probably go back to eating chicken. But, when push came to shove, I just couldn’t do it. I had NO desire to eat meat.

So, I never did. And, chances are, I never will.

This is a personal decision. Because of that, I don’t think it’s right to push it on anyone else. Don’t get me wrong — I am fully, fully supportive and very encouraging of people who decide to choose vegetarianism. I just know it might not be right for everyone.

Personally, I LOVE being a vegetarian, not only because it sets better with my conscience, but also because it pushes me to try new foods, discover different kinds of protein and explore local varieties of food.

Now, as I learn to cook for Dan, my vegetarianism is going to push me in a different way. I’m going to do my best to cook the foods he likes — but you can be sure I’ll still put my healthy spins on them!

Questions: What’s your opinion on vegetarianism? Would you be alright with a spouse who choses a different diet than you?

I means a lot to me that Dan respects my decision to be a vegetarian. At the same time, I respect his decision not to be.

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13 responses to “My vegetarianism

  • Katie@ Real Food Katie's Way

    I myself am not a vegetarian…though most days my husband would argue that fact 😉

    The fact is, my husband and I eat completely separate meals each and every day. I love my veggies and the majority of my diet is made up of veggies, beans and legumes and he loves his meat and potatoes. He would eat nothing but meat for a meal (and there are times that he does) whereas I am completely the opposite.

    I will eat meat every once in a while but I just simply prefer to get my protein from other sources (preferably rom the earth)

    Coming from someone who has years of experience in eating separate meals I can tell you it’s really not that complicated.

  • fitchocoholic

    I’m also considering being a pesco pollo vegetarian…..for now. Red meat really messes my stomach up and I never eat it anyway.
    Loved this post! Thanks for sharing your vegetarianism story!!!! 😀

  • Natalie

    So, I’ve gone through vegetarian/vegan stages in my life and Colin has always been a meat eater (though his intake has decreased tremendously!). I’ve found it is easier when the main dish(es) can be the same, and meat can be auxiliary. You’ll get into your grove and it’ll become second nature!

  • Presley

    I really dislike most meat/animal products so I generally always cook two meals for us. Sometimes it’s simple, like bean/sweet potato tacos for me and beef tacos for him. Other times, it can get pretty frustrating. More often than not, I plan his meals and make mine on the fly. The good thing about most meat is that it’s pretty hard to mess up 🙂

  • Sara @ The Bucket List

    I’ve never been a vegetarian/vegan, but I completely respect others’ choice to be one. Paul and I luckily love the same foods (for the most part). I’m a little bit more of a pickier eater, where he’ll try anything once! Goodluck finding a balance between your needs and your fiances! I’m sure you’ll figure it out 🙂

  • Jess

    I’m not a vegan/vegetarian, but people that are and maintain a healthy diet on them have my TOTAL respect!! 🙂

    I cannot stand “pushy” vegan/vegetarian/etc (anyone w/ a special diet) who feel the need to push their ideas on others. I respect you, you respect me! Haha..love your attitude/loved this post!

  • Millie

    I am a vegetarian and my husband eats meat. Meals come out pretty well as long as I follow a recipe because I won’t taste any of it. Lately, I won’t cook anything w/a bone in it. I don’t eat meat, chicken, or seafood because I just don’t like the taste or the way it feels in my mouth but I don’t care if he has it. It really hasn’t presented much of problem over the years. When something really bugs me and I can’t get past it (like fat or bones) he will step in and take over. Good luck.

  • Stephanie

    I loved your post for several reasons. First, I liked that you don’t judge others who eat meat; you don’t push your own views on other people. BRAVO! Second, I like that you have a real reason for being vegetarian, not just because it’s a growing trend in society right now.

    Personally, I’m (mostly) what you called “pesco-pollo vegetarian” because I rarely rarely ever eat red meat. I’ll have a burger or a steak every now and then but really, I’d rather have chicken or fish. I’ve been toying around with the idea of going vegetarian just to challenge myself to find alternate sources of protein other than meat (I do eat a lot of eggs for my protein, and also know beans are a good source).

    If I became vegetarian and my spouse-to-be (I have a boyfriend of 3 years and we’re headed in that direction someday, haha) still ate meat, I like to think I would have the same attitude as you. I would still cook him meat- just because I would be a vegetarian doesn’t mean he has to be! I have no problem knowing how to cook meat though because I cook it quite often 😛

    If you ever need any tips on cooking meat, feel free to ask! It’s quite simple and seeing that all your “edibles” look so delicious on here, it would be easy peasy for you to learn!

    🙂

  • Sarah

    Something you should seriously consider as a vegetarian is that there is one specific kind of omega-3 that is ONLY found in fish and is necessary for our body to function fully. It is known as the long form fatty acid DHA. It can be converted from ALA (the shorter form), but you first have to have an excess of ALA and then your body has to be capable of converting this essential nutrient into the longer form. For most people this is not possible.

    If you are vegetarian solely for your health you should consider this. I was a vegetarian for nearly 4 years (and intermittently would become vegetarian during that period) but the longer I was vegetarian the more problems I began to have (coming from a very health conscious individual!). Omega-3 is necessary for your brain to function properly. 2-3 g of omega-3 is recommended per week, or 2-3 servings of fish. This is coming from someone who also went vegetarian after seeing animal cruelty on PETA videos and what not. I still personally believe in buying the most humane, ethical fish possible and sustainability and environmental concerns remain very important to me.

    It’s a dense issue and you should ultimately make this decision yourself!

    • pursuitofhealthfulness

      Thanks for the comment! I actually believe that being a pescatarian is the healthiest diet to follow, based on the evidence I’ve seen. However, I’ve never liked fish and simply have no desire to eat it. Just got to go with your gut, I guess!

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