I became a vegetarian when I was a late teenager. I was a new driver and I remember that year there were a lot of dead squirrels on the road. I adored squirrels and used to sit and watch them frolic in my backyard, scampering through the trees. My mind made a connection between them and meat, seeing them torn apart, never knowing what hit them. I was done.
Back then there weren’t a lot of resources on vegetarianism. But I bought a little book called Laurel’s Kitchen which was full of recipes and information on eating this way.
Then I became pregnant with my first child at age 25 and everybody was telling me to eat meat for the baby. I refused for awhile and then thought, “if anything winds up being wrong with this baby, I will be blamed for it.” And so I succumbed to the pressure. And I continued eating meat until my own kids were in college.
Part of my switch back to a vegetarian diet was for health reasons. I went in and out of a vegetarian/vegan diet for quite a few years. I don’t eat gluten, either, for health reasons, and trying to live in this society without eating meat, eggs, dairy, or gluten is really, really hard. It’s getting easier though, as more people get on board.
Now, I couldn’t eat meat if I wanted to. It grosses me out, like it did back in the day of the dead squirrels. And cheese is addictive, so I (mostly) stay away from that, too. As you can see, it was a process for me to get here. And it’s sometimes a process to stay here. I do my best 99.8% of the time and give myself grace if occasionally there is an egg or dairy ingredient when I’m out and about and there are limited options. But I remind myself I am doing this for my own health and the health of the planet.