I am reluctant to give myself the label vegetarian. I feel like doing so will only set me up for hypocrisy. However, it’s looking more and more like vegetarianism is in my future. It began this summer, when in my hot yoga frenzy I decided to cut back my meat consumption and eat more cleanly. Inspired by films like Forks Over Knives, Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, and Food Inc., I knew something in my diet was off, so Alex and I agreed we would eat less meat and make sure all the meat we ate was sourced, (grass-fed, free-range, etc.).
What I did not expect is that it would not be so easy to alternate between eating meat and not eating meat. While the beginning of summer was virtually meat-free, my weeks of travel were not, leaving me sick when I returned to my first hot yoga class, (yes, I know there may have been other factors at play, but I feel diet was a big piece of it). After feeling run over in my post-vacation meat-eating hangover, I decided to return to limited meat consumption.
To my surprise, I found myself not even wanting to buy meat at the grocery store, even when tempted by high-quality choices at Whole Foods or the Farmer’s Market. Instead, just the thought of it was suddenly repulsive. I did not begin this whole experiment feeling the least bit disgusted by meat. It was more about health and the way eating meat makes me physically feel. However, the final straw was this weekend, when Alex and I ate at the Rutherford Grill in Wine Country and I could not even eat a quarter of his sourced cheeseburger. It lost all appeal.
So, here I am, a former meat-eater standing at a crossroads. I still don’t want to call myself a vegetarian because I think it’s possible I’ll still eat meat sometimes. However, the thought of eating any mammal now grosses me out and I’m finding it relatively easy to choose food that is satisfying without meat. Just strange, because I never set out to be a vegetarian, I just set out to eat less meat. For now, I guess I’ll leave myself without labels, but we’ll see where I end up.
If you’ve stopped eating meat, what was your motivation? Do you feel healthier? Happier?