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.
“Are you a vegetarian?’ I ask, based on the evidence in front of me.
‘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.’
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.”
― David Levithan, Every Day
I 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
- 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.
- B12 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.