earth day, every day.

Since it’s Earth Day {hey! Happy Earth Day!}, I thought I would finally write a post about something I’ve been thinking about for years now, and actually doing for about 3 months. I’m talking about the decision to stop eating animals.

Why?

Because this time, it is finally the obvious decision. I’ve tried it out for months at a time, lots of times, and I don’t eat much meat the rest of the time unless it’s prepared for me or we are preparing food for others {more a special occasion thing than a daily thing}. But the thing is, I really love animals. I can honestly say sometimes my dog is my favorite person! (: And I struggle with it a LOT, the cruelty issues particularly. Why do we care for and love certain animals then raise other animals to kill and eat them? I would see a PETA video and immediately go kiss my dog on the nose. And then I would shove it aside, my feelings of guilt and sadness for the animals. Why? Cuz just like everyone else, I am busy and I am lazy. I cook for two, and my husband isn’t much of a veggie eater. I felt like I had to make two separate meals for us and that seemed so expensive and time consuming. And I would justify it with things like – I only eat meat in moderation, so where’s the harm? Or I do lots of other things to be environmentally responsible, so I should be allowed one pitfall, right? {knowing deep down all that really means is I was being a complete hypocrite!} Or worst of all, I just did, without thinking about it. Much of the time, I didn’t even appreciate that an animal died so I could roll it up in a tortilla and eat it.

Since I was in college, it’s always bothered me because I know the damage eating meat does to the planet and how horrible the animals we eat are treated. I have done a LOT of reading about it; undisputable facts. I’m rather ashamed that even though I’ve been made aware of this I’ve continued to eat animals.

Until now, that is. Three months ago, I’ve made the pledge to go veg. I’m so far from perfect, but I feel like all beginners are initially and it’s ok. I’ve had a couple of slips {again, when food was prepared for me when I was a guest}. Three times, I picked the meat out of some type of pasta or casserole, and in one weak moment ate several bites of turkey and felt immense guilt over it afterward. But I am vowing to not let some missteps allow me to slide back into old habits, knowing that all that matters is I’m doing better than I was.

I can honestly say I have never made a better decision! – I know this because I feel like a weight was lifted by committing to it. That just shows how important it was for me to do it. That kind of guilt is bad for the soul, whereas doing something I know makes a huge difference is the opposite.  It makes me feel lighter. How simple. If you do things you know are bad or wrong, stop doing those things and you will feel better.

I’m reading about veganism, too, yes, in case someone wonders or asks. It’s not out of the question for the future, but right now I’m getting used to cutting out one part of my diet entirely, and making some positive strides on cutting dairy products as well {cut out milk for almond or soy milk, for example}, and trying new kinds of proteins, grains, and animal bi-product free products and recipes.

Now that I’m out of the closet as a veggie, I’ll be sharing more about it, and I hope to find people out there who like to talk about it with me. And maybe you aren’t ready to hug a cow today, but at least hug a tree for Earth Day!

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10 thoughts on “earth day, every day.”

  1. I want some of your recipes! Starting May 1st, I am experimenting with Eat to Live, which is basically vegan. I’m going to be perfect at it for 6 weeks and then see how I feel and what adjustments I want to make. I am both excited about the change and dreading it. I’ll also be starting a blog about the experiment if you want to follow along (I haven’t had time to make it yet, though…) Maybe I should just blog about it on Sharp and Keen? I don’t know why, but I have a tendency to want separate blogs for different parts of my life. Maybe I should start integrating them all. 🙂

    Anyway, congrats on the commitment. I think that’s the hardest part sometimes. And please share some tips and recipes! Esp. if you have any “eating out as a veg” tips. That’s what I’m most worried about.

    1. Katie – I will totally post some recipes and things. I am very excited to read about your experience. You should definitely do it all on one blog I think. Eating out is easiest at ethnic places as you will discover very quickly. Indian food is the BEST for veg and vegan. Some of their dishes are made with creams but you can ask for it to be prepared with coconut milk, no prob. Thai and japanese are awesome, too. I’m really discovering some awesome stuff even though I’m not vegan – I’m trying some of the vegan dishes for fun and some are so, so good they are becoming my favorite things.

      Once you get started we should meet up at Sage Cafe in SLC – I hear it’s excellent and entirely veg/vegan. Have you tried it? I would love to test it out with you!

  2. Yay! I’m excited for you. I was veg (minus fish) for 5 years in high school and college. I slowly started eating meat again in the situations you describe – food was prepared for me (it was a study abroad – living with a family in another country – that really ended the 5 year streak). Now I’m married to a meat lover and have made some other dietary changes, and I’m not ready to re-commit to a no-meat at this point in my life. BUT, I do want to eat less of it, and I’m would love to hear about any recipes you find that your husband also enjoys. When I make tofu, mine usually heats up a microwave dinner instead of joining me at dinner. I know there are a ton of creative options out there and one of my long-standing goals is to explore those more and cut down on the amount of meat we eat at our house (not that it’s a ton, but it’s more than I would like).

    Anyway – good luck to you and keep us posted!

    1. Cutting back and being more mindful was the first step for me. Like cutting out lunch meats, chicken nuggets, anything really overly processed and so far from the source it came from you totally forget it’s an animal? THOSE were my pitfalls. Trust me, I wasn’t going to miss steaks, but I WAS going to miss the convenience of a turkey sandwich. Especially when there was such a small overlap of food I like and food my husband liked, that’s also healthy (we can both agree on pizza!). It’s a challenge but it’s been so fun to experiment and show people how delicious it can be to go meat-free. Just takes a little effort at home and a little conviction away from home. No biggie!

  3. This is an issue I’ve struggled with at all. I tend to like animals a lot more than I like people. For the time being, I’ve declared myself a flexitarian, meaning that I eat vegetarian almost all the time except for special occasions. I don’t cook meat at home, and have been lucky enough to prove to my husband that vegetables can be just as delicious as meat can. I’ve decided that when I do eat meat, on those very rare occasions, I’m going to eat meat from good sources. That means no chicken mcnuggets and no whoopers because I read Fast Food Nation and I know way too much about the horrors of fast food to justify eating it anymore.

    I’m looking forward to hearing more about your experiences as a vegetarian and who knows – maybe hearing about your experience with it will be the push I need to cut out meat completely.

    Also, I made these the other night – they’re crispy black bean tacos – and I swear the beans taste almost like meat. Maybe your husband will like it!
    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Crispy-Black-Bean-Tacos-with-Feta-and-Cabbage-Slaw-351271

    1. That recipe looks super delicious- thank you! I will def. try it.

      Fast Food Nation is a great read – it’s on a growing list of books that have completely changed my life for the better. Ignorance is not really bliss when it comes to what you are putting in your body.

      Seems like you’ve got a super level-headed approach to food and life and I think that’s so awesome. If everyone were mindful of where their food was coming from and understood moderation, were willing to sacrifice paying more for quality and humane treatment, and more willing to seek out information and act on it – even if it means their trivial wants are not always satisfied immediately – the world would be a better place!

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