In a nutshell, I broke down and had some of my husband’s famous fried chicken wings on Super Bowl Sunday and it’s been downhill ever since…lol…It’s complicated but I did learn some valuable lessons. Let me first break down my motivation for this journey.
Right before New Year’s 2016 (one week before New Year’s) I decided I was going to be a vegetarian…I really wanted to become a vegan but truth be told it is not as simple as it seems. At least for me isn’t. I actually thought I had my mind all made up. I was done with meat. Over the past several years, I have watched Forks Over Knives, Cowspiracy, and other documentaries which promote plant-based diets. Vegucated on the other hand got to my soul. After watching extremely disturbing images of what really goes on in some of these factory farms I thought to myself “Nope! That’s it! No more chicken (or turkey) for me!”. I couldn’t help thinking “How could anyone possibly be okay with themselves eating meat after watching this?”.
Let me give a back story on how all of this came to be. When I was in high school, my mom and I decided to stop eating red meat and pork. I was done with red meat and have not looked back. I’ve had pork here and there over the years but more recently I would only eat it when I ate pizza. Pepperoni in all it’s sodium ladened goodness can be hard to pass up. Then, it did not help that my husband makes fried pork chops that remind me of my mom’s cooking before we decided to stop eating pork. A few months ago when I watched Vegucated I was done…So I thought.
A week before New Year’s 2016 I decided I was going to partake on another lifestyle change by going vegetarian while exploring vegan options. I was doing well weeks into it. We traveled and I did not have any issues staying on course. I had a successful almost two months of eating vegetarian only (besides this minor slip up when I made myself a turkey sandwich one day haphazardly)…I wasn’t even thinking about it until my husband said “Hey, did you mean to eat that turkey sandwich?”…lol…We laughed, I shrugged my shoulders, took it as an “L” (loss) and moved on. Then, Super Bowl Sunday came around.
The first thing I thought of was “I want some wings!”. My husband obliged my request and that was it! In the meantime I was thinking of how that was too easy and I needed to resist because “What about those poor chickens?”. That didn’t stop me though…smh…Don’t judge me…So, from there it’s been back to chicken, fish, and turkey (sometimes) while still exploring vegetarian and vegan options. Of course I have been sticking to my guns by not eating red meat or pork. Every week I make a point to serve a vegetarian meal for the family. It is less stressful and I have more options. I love to eat and I love options. I had a little “trouble” during this change and learned a few lessons I want to share.
My trouble stemmed from finding vegetarian options that my whole family would like and enjoy while still getting all of our nutrients in. I was successful at this most of the time but I wasn’t sure of how consistent I would be. I know some may think that it’s not that hard to do because there are substitutions for protein etc. Well, I didn’t have time to stress over worrying about whether I was giving them the necessary amount of protein through other sources like beans. I also did not want to impose my lifestyle on them. I have a growing 9 year old who is still learning her palate and I already don’t eat or cook red meat. So she gets steak and burgers when we eat out.
Then, there’s my mostly carnivorous but omnivorous husband who loves his meat. It became exhausting and a tad stressful for me. My husband and daughter were fine though. They didn’t mind one bit because when they felt like eating meat they ate meat. I’m thankful that they did last as long as they did along with me.
What did I learn? I found that what works for me is to eat meat (chicken and turkey only) in moderation like I did before. I felt like a weight was lifted when I took a bite of that chicken wing and all was well. Also, I discovered very good vegetarian recipes that I keep in rotation for our weekly vegetarian meals. The most important lesson I learned is to do what makes me happy and ditch the labels i.e. “vegetarian”, “vegan”, “vegegan”. Of course, the labels aren’t meant to be controversial or complicated but truth is society makes it that way sometimes.
So, I choose to stick to saying that I eat mostly plant based foods and ditch the labels. Do what makes you happy as long as you aren’t compromising yourself or anyone else. For now, I’m happy with my chicken and turkey in moderation until I decide otherwise. Have you had any issues with changing your lifestyle, eating habits etc.? I’d love to know how it went, how it’s going or if you’ve been thinking about it! Let me know in the comments!! Much love!