Lola’s Ramblings: How Being a Vegetarian Changed My Life

November 12, 2015 Lola's Ramblings 28

LolaRamblings

Lola’s Ramblings is a feature on my blog Lola’s Reviews where I ramble on about a book related or a non-book related topic. These are discussion type of posts where I talk about a topic and readers can weigh in on the topic in the comments. Usually these posts are everything that doesn’t fall under any standard header, like tours, cover reveals, memes, challenges, recaps or reviews. Lola’s Ramblings posts are discussions of a certain topic and my point of view on them. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Designs.

For how big of a change the title suggest being vegetarian, when I would be asked how much being a vegetarian has changed my life, my initial response would be pretty boring. I would say that being a vegetarian hasn’t really changed my life in a big way, but when I think closer about it I can point out more and more things that changed thanks to that my decision to become a vegetarian. I don’t talk a lot on my blog about being vegetarian, although most of the visitors who stopped by on fridays when I share my recipes posts probably know that I am a vegetarian.

So why do I avoid talking about it? I often am afraid to sound preachy and I dislike that. I don’t think anyone should become a vegetarian, for me becoming a vegetarian was a personal decision and I don’t think that being vegetarian is right or wrong. It’s just what I decided. I never would force someone or convince them to become a vegetarian as I believe it’sa personal choice and almost everyone knows the option is out there and can ask if they want to know more. I also have no issues touching meat, sure it feels gross, but as long as I don’t have to eat it, I gladly prepare meat for my boyfriend. So this post is not my attempt to convince you all to become a vegetarian, it’s a personal post about why I am a vegetarian and how that impacts my life. Being a vegetarian is part of who I am and I wanted to talk about it today. All pictures in this post are pictures from recipes I featured on this blog and link to the corresponding recipe post.

Why I Became a Vegetarian

As a vegetarian the question everyone asks first is why. And to be honest I quite dislike answering that question. I actually have a lovely quote from a book that I haven’t read yet that meks a joke about that question.
Pasta and creamy spinach sauce

โ€œAre you a vegetarian?’ I ask, based on the evidence in front of me.
She nods.
‘Why?’
‘Because I have this theory that when we die, every animal that we’ve eaten has a chance at eating us back. So if you’re a carnivore and you add up all the animals you’ve eaten–well, that’s a long time in purgatory, being chewed.’
‘Really?’
She laughs. ‘No. I’m just sick of the question. I mean, I’m a vegetarian because I think it’s wrong to eat other sentient creatures. And it sucks for the environment.โ€
โ€• David Levithan, Every Day

Peanut pastaI just wish I could make that joke once and give that answer when someone asks me that questions. Okay more serious answer. The reason why I become a vegetarian is a combination of factors. I love animals and I don’t like eating animals. That’s part of the reason. The next one is that I never really liked meat or fish. When I was a kid I would eat half of my hamburger and would have enough, my sister or mom often ate the rest, which I am glad for as if there is one thing I dislike it’s people wasting meat. I am okay with people eating meat, but please eat it and don’t throw it awya if you can help it. When I was 13 I think I decided to become a vegetarian. I was in my phase to figure out what I wanted and that was one of the decisions I made about myself and who I was. After I made the decision I never looked back and the only thing I ever craved was sausage breads, yeah don’t ask, they are nostalgic. Luckily they have vegetarian sausage breads nowadays. Being a vegetarian isn’t hard for me, I never craved meat and I never really liked meat in the first place, so it wasn’t hard. I never once looked back and sticked with that decision. For the people around me it was harder, my mom had to bake a veggie burger for me (often in the same pan as the meat *shudders*) or bake two different pans of food when the meat went into the sauce. I can also remember a half veggie and half meat quiche and me catching a piece of ham in my piece, it was horrible. And while for me being a vegetarian wasn’t hard it did change me and a few habbits.

How Being a Vegetarian Changed My Life

Close Up Korma

  • Eating no more meat. The most obvious change of becoming a vegetarian is that I don’t eat meat anymroe. I am a lacto-ovo vegatarian meaning that I still drink milk and eat eggs, but don’t eat meat. I never have had plans to become a vegan or give up milk and eggs, as it’s easiest to get the necessary nutrients inside when you do eat those and I always decided that chickens didn’t have to die to give eggs, so it was okay to eat the eggs. So I had to give up meat, no more meat through my dinner, no more meat on bread. And this was actually one of the easiest things to change. Sure my mom and then later I had to cook things differently, but it wans’t hard for me personally and I never struggled with being a vegetarian.
  • Eating Veggie meat. It’s been interesting seeing the assortment of veggie meat change and grow over the years. When on vacation in switserland when I was younger we struggled with that, but the last time we went on vacation there about 3 years ago even there they had veggie burgers in most stores and in the bigger stores they even have a bigger assortment than here. Here in the Netherlands they have quite some veggie burgers, although you also quickly learn which ones you don’t and do like. I usually avoid those who taste too much like meat or have too much cheese or taste bland. I also avoid the mushroom burgers, because gross! That’s the only thing that’s hard, being a vegetarian who doesn’t love mushrooms as for some reason the whole world thinks that veggie dishes should contain mushrooms.
  • Eating different veggies. I always have been a picky eater and becoming a vegetarian only made that worse. Once I become a vegatarian eating veggies became more important. I actually forced myself to learn to eat red bell pepper, can you believe that? It’s now my favourite veggie, but as a kid I could not stand the taste. I ate a piece every day until I could stand it. I can vividly remember a summer vacation in Hungrary where we ate fruit and veggies and every day I ate a piece or two of red bell pepper.
  • Being adaptive with recipes. Being a vegetarian in a world where most people eat meat means I often have to adjust or change recipes. Sometimes this means simply removing the emat, often it means adding other ingredients to make up for it. Sometimes I add vegetarian meat to my dishes and often it’s just veggies only. It’s not really hard, but it takes some getting used to and knowing what to add to which dish and what not.
  • Carrot Souffle with TofuB12 Checks. When I just became a vegetarian I was still pretty young and my mom was afraid I wouldn’t get all the right nutrients, we went to the doctor, who basically said I was too young to be a vegetarian and it wasn’t good for me. Both my mom and I ignored her, for which I am still thankfull. Then we went to a dietist who did help me and mentioned which foods I should eat more or focus on. At first I very strictly tried to do this. Eat a handfull of nuts each day and other specific things like that. I also took vitamins the first few years and eventually stopped. Nowadays I just eat what I want mostly and am okay. I eat nuts now and then, but not a handfull each day and I don’t focus or stress about it too much. The only thing I still do is go to the doctor and check my B12 and Iron once every two years, just to make sure I don’t get a shortage of those. So far it’s always been okay.
  • Having trouble eating at Restaurants. The only thing which still bothers me is eating at restaurants and I often dislike going out to eat for that reason. Many restaurants have only a few options for vegetarians and with my issue of not liking champignons and being a picky eater, it’s often hard to find something I like. Chinese or asian restaurants usually have a few options, but Greek restaurant are pretty bad and usually don’t have many options to choose from. And most other restaurants have few options, which make sit hard for me to eat there. The exception are indian restaurants, which usually have quite a big selection of vegetarian food.
  • New appreciation for indian cuisine. Which brings me to this point. Ever since going out to eat at an indian restaurant during vacation last year I have a new apreciation for indian food as it’s often vegetarian and flavourfull. And hardly ever requires champignons :). So yeah I definitely appreciate indian cuisine a lot and in the last year I started making a lot of indian dishes for dinner and I love it.

So while being a vegetarian does change and impacts my life, I also think for me it’s less strong of an effect as people would think. For me being a vegetarian wasn’t a difficult decision or change as I never really liked meat all that much and I think that certainly made it easier.

Do you eat meat? Why or why not? And how does eating meat or being a vegetarian impacts your life? If you would become a vegetarian which of the things I listed would you struggle the most with?

28 Responses to “Lola’s Ramblings: How Being a Vegetarian Changed My Life”

  1. S. J. Pajonas

    Champignons are mushrooms, right? Just checking. ๐Ÿ™‚ I was full-on vegetarian from 2000 to 2011, and often times vegan during that eleven year span. My husband has been vegan for most of his life due to ethical and environmental reasons, so I became vegetarian as well because he was so opposed to meat. I was vegan for a while when I was nursing my oldest child because she had problems with the milk proteins showing up in my breastmilk. But we’re now pescetarians, meaning we both eat fish (though my husband is dairy free). I don’t know why but I really missed fish (probably because I was Japanese in a former life), and after the ten year mark of being vegetarian, I just said Screw It. I want fish! I’m not sure I could give it up now.

    The point is that you made a decision for yourself based on what you like and that’s what counts. I originally gave up red meat years before I met my husband because it didn’t agree with me and I went full vegetarian after I met him. I made the decision based on what I knew and I even was pregnant twice while vegetarian. It’s a totally acceptable lifestyle.

    Thanks for sharing!
    S. J. Pajonas recently posted…Writing Update โ€“ #NaNoWriMo 2015 โ€“ November 12, 2015My Profile

    • Lola

      Yes champignons are mushrooms, thanks for catching that one, changed it to mushrooms now. It’s interestign to hear from other people why went vegetarian or vegan and why. I never tried being vegan as I don’t think that’s for me. I love milk and eggs and too much and cakes and cookies, lol.
      That’s interesting you went vegan while nursing your oldest child as she had problems with the milk proteins, does she still have problems with milk?

      If you miss the fish I think it was a good idea to add it back to your diet again. I do believe in eating the food you like, life’s too short to miss out on eating things you love.
      As I never liked meat I don’t miss it either. I usually eat fish about 1-3 times each year, I am not a big fish eater, but I do appreciate it now and then. Although I can’t stomach fish that actually looks like fish.

      I’ve been a vegetarian for so long now it’s almost weird looking back to when I made the decision. I think it’s so easy for me as I never was a meat eater and I never missed the meat. I am happy being a vegetarian has gotten easier these past few years, the first few years were hard as there were so little vegetarian meat substitutions and my mom worried so much about me getting enough nutrients.
      Lola recently posted…Lola’s Ramblings: How Being a Vegetarian Changed My LifeMy Profile

    • Lola

      I didn’t realize you were a part time vegetarian! That must be hard to have to eat meat because of the iron. I let myself get tested for iron and B12 once in awhile to make sure I keep getting enough of it. Aren’t there supplements that can help you with iron intake?

  2. Lily B

    That’s awesome for you. I can understand though the difficulties of having a different kind of diet from the “normal”. I am not a vegetarian, but I only eat fish, turkey or chicken and that makes some people look at me funny.
    Family events and hanging out with friends makes me sometimes feel like a burden because they have to accompany my choice of a lifestyle, it can be embarrassing for me but I just dont eat cows, or sheep, or whatever these normal people eat ๐Ÿ˜› so no hot dogs or hamburgers unless they are turkey oor chicken hah I just then end up a vegetarian for a day and eat a salad since they are always readily available.
    Lily B recently posted…Interview with Entangled’s Author Jennie Marts and her new book Hidden AwayMy Profile

    • Lola

      Yeah people definitely have a tendency to look at you a bit weirdly if you have a different diet than normal and it can be hard to find dishes that you want to eat.

      And I know that feeling of feeling like a burden because of what I eat or actually because of what I don’t eat. I always feel bad when others have to put in extra effort to make sure I have something to eat too.
      Lola recently posted…Lola’s Ramblings: How Being a Vegetarian Changed My LifeMy Profile

  3. Let's Get Beyond Tolerance

    I actually really do like meat so I couldn’t see myself ever going vegetarian. I like your outlook on it though! I think it’s great for some people, but I also think you have to be okay with people’s differences and what works for them. It would be too difficult for some people to go vegetarian, you know? That’s great you get checked out by the doctor though to make sure you are staying healthy!
    Let’s Get Beyond Tolerance recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday: If I Was Your Girl by Meredith RussoMy Profile

  4. Christy LoveOfBooks

    I like meat, but I’m super picky about it and actually enjoy a lot of non-meat products more. And I totally know how you feel about wasting it. I feel bad when it’s wasted, but luckily I always had plenty of growing boys around to devour any leftovers. lol. I’ll have to look into more Indian dishes for myself. Haha and I love that quote … and that book.
    Christy LoveOfBooks recently posted…HoHoHo Read-a-Thon 2015 – Puzzle ChallengeMy Profile

    • Lola

      I don’t mind when people eat meat, but I feel so bad when it get’s wasted. It’s nice to have people around to eat the leftovers, so nothing has to be thrown away. I still have to read that book, I even own it already. I love that quote.

  5. Sophia Rose

    I confess that I did brace myself for a sermon when I saw the topic you picked. I’ve always respected folks eating choices whether it is due to the need for a special diet or their own personal choice for a variety of reasons. It shocked me to discover that several people who happened to choose the vegetarian or vegan food-style were not so open-minded.
    I couldn’t give up meat if I wanted to because I have an iron deficiency and iron supplements don’t work. I happen to enjoy meat which works well since I have to eat it, but it does make one cranky when someone’s digging at you about it. I actually serve a lot of vegetarian meals and am happy to cook entirely veg or eat it for my guests. Love Indian food, too!

    So yes, I really appreciate how you handled your explanation. And the spirit behind it. I find it interesting to analyze our life choices like this. And I have been that gal who asked ‘why’- not to attack, but simply to understand which of course is one of the first steps toward respect. So don’t hit me if I ever ask you why and you hate the question. Haha! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Lola

      I kinda jokingly named the post a bit extreme, I probably should’ve picked a more subtle name for the post. I think it’s sad that some vegetarians and vegans are less open minded about it than I expected and they can be quite preachy. So I can definitely understand why you expect a sermon when you saw the topic. I think it’s important to be open midned and respectfull of other people their food preferences.

      I’t a good thing you enjoy meat then as you have to eat it. I haven’t heard of iron deficiency problems before, although I do know that as I am vegetarian I have to pay extra attention I get enough iron. Nowadays lots of vegetarian meat substitution contain iron as well luckily. And I love indian food, it’s flavourfull and doesn’t need meat.

      I totally understand they why questions and I don’t mind explaining to friends and I think it can lead to interesting conversation. If both parties are ncie about it and genuinely are interested in the answer.
      It’s more that sometimes it’s a bit tiring being expected to explain myself every time, especially to people who don’t care or don’t want to udnerstand. I remember working a part time job once and during high school and having everyone ask me why I was a vegetarian when they found out and then trying to ridicule me for my choices. if someone’s really interested I don’t mind talking about it, but I don’t like people who ask just so they can poke holes in my logic or say it’s stupid. So I geuss that’s why I am not a fan of the question.

      • Sophia Rose

        I actually do understand getting upset at getting the same question. Repeatedly. I know I’d feel the same way if most of the planet were vegans and vegetarians and I was one of the small group eating meat.
        It also does make me realize that just in asking the question that it places the one responding on the defense because I obviously don’t ask non-vegetarian and non-vegans why they choose to include meat and other products in their diet (mostly b/c I already know the answer, but still).

        I think this post was timely. I tend to be an insular type person when I get caught up in routine and life. I don’t ponder differences, variety, new ideas, etc. when I’m in that mindset. This time it is food. The Paris, Beirut, and Baghdad situations weigh heavily on my mind at the moment, but the principle is the same. We were pondering food lifestyles and those who attacked others was about political ideals, greed, and maybe religion, who knows really (I haven’t had the opportunity to ask them ‘why’ and honestly I don’t want to be close enough to do so). So yes, good timing. Thanks, Lola.

        And, I needed to encounter another vegetarian/vegan who has her own thing going, but isn’t offended if my thing doesn’t match hers.
        I’ve always respected that about a few others like Anna, Mary, and Iza who do their thing in the kitchen and let you do your thing in yours. I could also grasp some of that in you, the way you handle your cooking posts.

        Thanks again for opening your life like this in a discussion post. Takes courage and a willingness to speak as well as listen.
        Sophia Rose recently posted…Kit’s Hill by Jean Stubbs #Review #SweetDelightMy Profile

        • Lola

          Yes I think you got to the reason why getting asked is annoying, because it puts me on the defensive. Because it almost suggest there is something weird or wrong about the choice I made.

          I think the general idea can be applied to a lot of topics indeed, we assume that we know is the norm and is normal and are almost surprised when others are different. I think beign more open abotu differences can be a good thing.

          I always try to offer a meat variation in my recipe posts for that reaosn as well, as I want to give people who don’t share my same preferneces for food the way an alternative to still enjoy the recipe. Or even last time when I recommended adding mushrooms to a dish to iza who didn’t like one of the other ignredients. I don’t want to be a snobby vegetarian who assumes others will eat vegetarian as well.

          Thanks! To be honest I was a bit hesistant about both writing and publishing this post both because it’s a very personal and maybe even a bit sensetive issue and as I wasn’t sure how others would react. But the comments have been very udnerstanding and it proves again how udnerstanding and open minded this whole community is.

  6. Nuzaifa @ Word Contessa

    I don’t like red meat and most kinds of sea food so I only eat chicken, prawns or eggs. I don’t think I can quite go full vegetarian though, I tried. And I’m with you India has some of the yummiest veg dishes!

    I love that you are open minded and understanding about this, Lola. Love the look of that Tofu Korma BTW! ๐Ÿ˜€
    Nuzaifa @ Word Contessa recently posted…Do You Call Yourself A Feminist?My Profile

    • Lola

      India has such awesome veg dishes! I am really happy I gave indian cuisine a try and found out how great their food is.

      I think it’s okay if you can’t go fully vegetarian. Just eat with what you’re comfortable with and what you like. I think being open minded about topics like this is very important :). I love that Tofu Korma dish, it’s one of my favourite indian dishes.
      Lola recently posted…Sunday Post #152My Profile

  7. Bookworm Brandee

    Thanks for sharing such a personal post, Lola. It is interesting to learn why people become vegetarians and to see how they manage it in their daily lives. I think there should be no judging anyone, especially for how they choose to eat, so I’m sorry you’ve dealt with that. In the last several years, I’ve started eating far more veggies and fruits but I haven’t cut out meat completely. I did cut out beef for many, many years. But when I was pregnant, I craved it. I don’t eat much meat these days but it is a part of our diet. And I love, love, love Indian food! I’ve made several of your Indian-inspired recipes. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Bookworm Brandee recently posted…My TBR List ~ November ~ And the Winner is…My Profile

    • Lola

      I thought it would be an interesting topic to share about, especially as I usually don’t talk about it a lot. The judging about my food choices is the hardest to deal with and I think that’s why I often avoid talking about it as especially during high school and part time job I worked then, people could be really judging and nasty about it. I think it’s sad peoepl cna’t be more open minded about it, so I always vowed to nto be that way in return to meat eaters.

      I always think it’s interesting to hear how during pregnancy you can crave certain foods. I am glad to hear you tried several of my indian inspried recipes, I love indian food as it’s often flavourfull even without the meat.
      Lola recently posted…Sunday Post #152My Profile

  8. Red Iza

    I’ve been a vegan for years now, for animals, for the environment, for health. At home, we’re all vegan. When I eat in my work’s kitchen, I usually buy what I need or get the leftovers from home, no problem either. But when I eat in a Paris restaurant, I very often have to eat vegetarian. It’s very hard to find vegan dishes in French restaurants, you always have to adapt and even if you say you don’t want the meat, you still have to pay as if you had eaten it, which is totally unfair. I used to luuuurve cheese, but now that I haven’t been eating some for years, the smell is too much, it looks too greasy, I’m not even tempted any more. And I love my vegan cakes, chocolate mousses and dishes, I had the opportunity to explore world cuisine and it’s so great ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Lola

      I think you mentioned it once before that you vegan. I think it’s great that you’re vegan and that’s nice that everyone at your home is vegan too. I don’t think I could ever go vegan. If you cook yourself it can be easy to keep track of what you will and won’t eat, but in restaurants it can be hard. Finding vegetarian dishes is already difficult, so I can only imagine how hard it must be to find vegan ones. And that’s weird if you still have to pay for the meat even if you don’t eat it.
      Lola recently posted…Sunday Post #152My Profile

  9. Trish @ Between My Lines

    That was interesting to learn more about why you are a vegetarian and how it impacts your life. I love that quote from Every Day, you should get it printed on a card and just hand it out when you get asked the question! LOL My husband is pescetarian (no meat but he eats fish) and he gets all those questions too. It gets old very quickly. Because he doesn’t eat meat and he does most of our cooking, I eat a lot of veggie dishes which is fine by me as I love them anyway. Mushrooms are my fav!
    Trish @ Between My Lines recently posted…The Sunday Post : Get your Bookish News #94My Profile

    • Lola

      lol, I like that idea to just print the quote and hand it out. I might have to try that once. I really should read that book soon.

      I sometimes eat fish, like 3 or 4 times each year, but hardly ever admit it as lots of people used to judge me for that. I know fish are animals too, but I still like to eat it now and then.

      It does get tiring sometimes when everyone asks those questions, especially when they are just going to be nasty about it. I don’t mind talking to people who are open minded about it. I have tried mushrooms multipel times, but just can’t seem to like them.

  10. sjhigbee

    You referred me to this post when I mentioned in my Versatile Blog post that I’d recently become a vegetarian. I hadn’t explained exactly why… My daughter and her family turned vegetarian, so we’ve been dealing with feeding the grandchildren for a while now and I discovered I was dairy intolerant about 30 years ago – so no milk, cheese yoghurt, etc for me… But my son, who is now vegan and very keen to convert the world, sat me down to watch some films. Thing is, once you’ve seen them, you can’t unsee them, can you? And after that, I couldn’t sit down and eat meat with any real enthusiasm. That said, I entirely endorse your point of view and generally don’t make a big fuss about it. I became vegetarian last November and I can’t believe how much more energy I have and how much better I feel. It hasn’t hurt that I’ve shed a fair amount of weight without trying, either… I’m still in the process of finding out which foods agree with me – annoyingly certain nuts seem to have triggered ezcema on my face! Thank you for referring me to this post, it is really fascinating to read another person’s journey on what has to be a highly personal decision.

    • Lola

      I am glad you found it interesting to read my journey and thanks for sharing your journey with me.
      I actually never have watched any films of animal cruelty, I can’t stomach that. The images I imagine in my head are bad enough, I don’t need actual images with that.

      I like to not make as big of a point about it as I believe it’s everyone their own decision what they eat and why. But it is fun to meet other vegetarians and hear about their point of view. I am glad becoming a vegetarian has made you feel better. It can be a bit of a struggle to find which foods do agree with you and what not and to find vegetarian alternatives for the things you did like.

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