I don’t talk much about my dietary preferences on here, but I am a vegetarian about 85% of the time, and pescatarian (I eat shell fish and occasionally regular fish) about 15% of the time. I watched Food Inc in 2009 and when they showed how chickens are humanely slaughtered on local farms, I felt sick to my stomach. I thought to myself, if I can’t face how the food is ending up on my plate, I need to make changes. I went cold turkey and cut out chicken, turkey and ham from that day on (I had previously removed red meat from my diet, since I never enjoyed the taste of it). I have always thought of food as fuel, and sometimes my body craves shrimp, crab or fish. I believe this is my body saying I need something that is in those food sources, so I tend to listen. This is where the the pescatarian 15% of my diet comes from. Some may see this as hypocritical, as fish/shellfish are also living creatures. I completely understand this, I tend to justify it since my body craves it occasionally as a source for fuel. This is what has worked for me – I don’t judge anyone who eats meat or is vegan (no animal products at all) – I believe people have to find the food lifestyle that works for them.
Yesterday I was scrolling through Netflix looking for something to watch and I came across a documentary called Vegucated. The synopsis sounded interesting – three people in New York City switch from the “typical American diet” to a vegan diet for six weeks. I decided to hit play.
The beginning of the documentary was pretty interesting – watching three people with very different lifestyles adjust to shopping and eating according to a vegan diet.
——— Warning: This is where I will talk about some of the (graphic) images in the movie, feel free to skip down to the next divider ———
They also started to touch on the environmental impacts of going vegan, and this is where I learned something that I wasn’t aware of (or perhaps I was just trying to push my head into the sand, to be honest). In many cases, dairy cows and organic chickens are still incredibly mistreated in factory farm settings.
Some of the images in this movie, I will be honest, were really difficult to watch. I had to skip over some of them because they made me so incredibly upset.
I always thought I was doing the okay thing by buying organic free-range, cage-free eggs. I found out through this movie that there are still times when these chickens are mistreated. I also learned that milk cows are often slaughtered after they have been used for milk. And there are other practices that I won’t go through here, because frankly, they break my heart to think about. Feel free to watch the movie if you are interested in learning more.
——— End of talk about some of the (graphic) images in the movie ———
Side note: if you are interested in watching the trailer for Vegucated on their website, there is nothing graphic in it.
After watching the movie I felt angry, upset, sad and frustrated. I also decided that I need to go dairy-free with my lifestyle.
Notice I’m not saying Vegan – baby steps are the right way for me to tackle this I believe. Vegan implies changing more than your diet and I believe that would be very difficult for me to tackle at this time. I also want to do more research into animal products such as honey and gelatin before taking them out of my diet.
For now I will start with limiting and eventually cutting out the dairy – milk, cheese, and eggs.
Not going to lie, I feel pretty overwhelmed with this. Which is why I will be taking it one meal at a time, one day at a time. I know I can cut out milk – we already use almond milk for cereal and cooking. Though milk is hidden in many more processed foods that I rely on (like Luna bars), so I will have to examine food labels carefully for a bit. Cheese I feel pretty confident I can eliminate, though I love the taste, I don’t put it in many recipes already. Eggs are going to be the most difficult for me – I rely on them for a source of protein – so I will have to figure something else out.
Though I feel a bit overwhelmed, I also know there are tons of great resources out there that will help me make this transition. I also know that this is what I need to do. This is what I believe will work for me. It may not work for you, and that is okay. Diet and lifestyle choices are very individual things, you have to find what works for you.