Vegetarians are not born? Personal experience of switching to a plant-based diet

I imagine myself in a room with dim lights, sitting in a circle of strangers. I get up, smile embarrassedly and say “Hi. I am Tanya and I am a vegetarian. ” In Moscow, St. Petersburg and Europe, you will not surprise anyone with this. And here, in Perm, people still look at vegetarians as people suffering from some kind of morbid addiction.

This article is not an attempt to prove something to someone, but if you started reading the text, then you are thinking about life after meat. And, to be honest, it is not so simple.

First failure

I first decided to become a vegetarian at 15 years old. Thoughts about this appeared several years before the complete rejection of meat. When my mother was cooking chicken for dinner, I had before my eyes the remains of chickens, which I took care of in the village with my grandmother during the summer holidays. I gave them names, distinguished them by character, fed them and took them out for a walk on the raspberry-tree. And then – oops, they made borsch from Beauty and Grunt.

A couple more years passed and I stopped eating meat, poultry and fish. If we ate pasta with a cutlet at home, I ate pasta. Rice with fish – only rice. At school, of course, sugar buns instead of meat pies. This went on for a year and a half, and given my release from physical education, I put on a lot of weight. My parents did not approve of my selective diet, so the vegetarian period ended in the doctor’s office. A woman in a white coat assured that without meat my body is deficient in protein, and this is immensely dangerous for him. I believed.

… and even wore a fur coat. Now no, no!

Why are these restrictions?

Already now, when I know how to eat right and what are the advantages of a plant-based diet, I do not have a question “why do I need this?”. But initially, my love for animals led me to vegetarianism (sooooo trite, yes). I have not watched any creepy videos from meat processing plants and fur factories, after watching which “no normal person will eat meat.” This shock therapy, in my opinion, can only have a temporary effect and lead to heart attacks.

My whole motivation is that I do not want to participate in the massacres. I do not divide living beings into categories “they are stupid and do not understand anything” and “this is a child, his life is priceless.” It seems to me that life is priceless in all its manifestations, because it is a miracle. And in the end I asked myself questions: “If you adore your cats and rescue stray animals, why are you eating a cow or a chicken? Why are you signing petitions for the protection of animals, against the dog meat festival in China, and buying fillets from the store? ” So, almost two years ago, I became a vegetarian again. But already consciously.

Me and my shelter ward who has already found a home
Me and my ward from the orphanage who has already found a home.

Three myths about vegetarians

“Vegetarians get fat and can’t exercise”

You have to understand that giving up meat is not just about eating a double portion of a side dish and fries. Many beginning vegetarians, like me, have no idea what kind of gastronomic world is open to them. Ashamed to admit, I have never eaten tofu, chickpeas, or lentils before. And these are very healthy foods rich in protein.

There are a ton of great vegetarian books and blogs out there now. The more I read, the more varied my diet becomes and the more correct my diet. No more fried eggs and buns. And the fact that vegetarians become physically weak is a deep misconception. In fact, plant foods give you even more strength.

You will be surprised, but among us there are athletes and marathon runners. My coach, for example, has a vegan with solid experience. And he looks great. I myself have thrown off almost 10 kilograms, while not starving at all.

After going to the grocery store.  We have vegetarian sausage on holidays, for
After going to the grocery store. We have vegetarian sausage on holidays, for “Olivier” for the New Year.

“Vegetarians are crazy and want everyone to be vegan.”

Yes, we must be a little crazy. And some of us are really aggressive towards meat eaters, not hesitating to say at the table “Ugh, you eat decaying corpses.” I prefer not to insist that plant-based diets are much more ethical and better for health. It seems to me that people should come to this on their own, as when they quit smoking. All my family members are meat eaters and they cook meat at home. But we have learned to live together without harassment. I don’t snort at the sight of cutlets and my choice is respected. Sometimes they even cook me an amazing vegetarian borscht (it exists!).

One of my favorite dishes is zucchini and tomatoes with cheese.  Bake in the oven without oil
One of my favorite dishes is zucchini and tomatoes with cheese. Bake in the oven without oil.

“Vegetarians don’t get the vitamins and amino acids they need.”

Modern research shows that animal protein is in many ways inferior to plant proteins. I will tell you where you can learn more about this later. But you must admit that the world does not stand still: not only gadgets are developing, huge steps have been taken in science. Now we know much more about meat and its effect on the body than we did 10-20-50 years ago. It’s just that while political and financial interests are higher, and the promotion of the meat and dairy industry is much easier to instill in us with “doctors’ recommendations.”

If you are thinking about vegetarianism, but are afraid that it will worsen your health, find a good doctor. Only not that conservative, older than your grandmother in body and outlook. Returning to vegetarianism, I first of all turned to a familiar endocrinologist and asked all my questions.

My friends give me vitamins like this.

Why vegetarianism became torture

In fact, not torture, but a test of willpower. I have never been a meat eater: I didn’t care about the absence of cutlets for lunch and I didn’t salivate at the sight of a shish kebab. But, having given up animal food, I realized how much I miss the herring pickled by my mother!

My second attack of rabies happened when I learned that animals are also killed when making cheese. Maybe you paid attention to the “enzyme of animal origin” in the composition of the product? So, this is the gastric juice of calves. Do not consider the photo below as an advertisement, but the range of cheese without this enzyme is quite wide.

I have not given up on dairy products and eggs yet. Still, it’s easier for me to introduce a new way of life gradually than by immediately limiting myself in everything. But in the end, and in this case, I will not lose anything.

It was not immediately possible to get used to the lack of a vegetarian menu in restaurants and cafes, but so far I manage to find something tasty for myself. Fortunately, there are more and more vegan establishments in our city, and friends do not mind from time to time to join the company for dinner and try something new.

Useful books

I can talk for a very long time about vegetarianism, but nothing can replace books. Perhaps that is why we have a lot of vegetarians at MYTH. 🙂 I’ll just leave here a list of my favorite publications that will help you better understand the issue. Even if you do not want to give up meat, then this knowledge will be useful as steamed lentils.

I'll just leave here a list of my favorite publications that will help you better understand the issue.

The China Study is the largest study on the relationship between nutrition and health. The author of the book, the world’s largest biochemist Colin Campbell, made a number of discoveries that have changed the views of millions of people on nutrition.

The Plant-Based Diet is a plant-based diet guide. The book contains many real stories of people who switched to plant foods, their failures and victories. It also contains illustrated recipes.

“Blue Zones in Practice” is about the lifestyle of the inhabitants of those places on Earth where the most long-livers are. It is also full of beautiful and living stories, recipes, and even home improvement tips. Perhaps this is my favorite book.

Whichever path you choose, take care of your health and never give up the opportunity to learn something new.

Post cover: pixabay.

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