Back in August Raf and I decided that we would become pescatarians. We talked about it and both felt that we wanted to eat less animal products. I subsequently watched a documentary called Earthlings and afterwards I didn’t even want to eat fish anymore and felt that I would like to stop eating eggs and dairy at some point in the distant future as well. Right around this time I also read a Baha’i compilation about the proper diet for human beings, which I saw with a fresh perspective and really resonated with me. A few days later, upon hearing about our new diets, a friend recommended that we watch the documentary: Forks Over Knives. After putting the tiny boy to bed we sat down and watched it and very quickly I knew that I wouldn’t be giving up eggs and dairy in some far off future but that it would happen immediately. As soon as the credits rolled I got up and cleared out our refrigerator and cupboards of anything that contained eggs or dairy and that was it. We made the switch. Basically in the span of one week we went from eating everything to only eating plant based foods.
I must say that this has been such an easy transition. Almost immediately Raf and I both started commenting about how good we were feeling: more awake, more energized, happier, healthier, lighter on our feet, more focused, and the list goes on. It was amazing. I kept wondering if it was all just in my head, I kept waiting for the food cravings, the withdrawal, the temptation. I’m still waiting.
Our decision was primarily motivated by our son. We wanted to raise him to be free of the addiction to animal products that we ourselves faced. Our second motivators were health and the Baha’i Writings on the subject (which I view as two sides of the same coin). We wanted Asher to be healthy and we wanted to be healthy for him and we wanted to eat the foods that our bodies were designed to. Additionally, I’ve always been a lover of animals and I feel that I am now living a more cohesive lifestyle and I want that for Asher as well.
So really, it all comes back to Asher. I tried several times to become a vegetarian before becoming a parent and none of those attempts made it past a month and were pure torture because I didn’t have the right motivations. I wasn’t doing it for the right reasons. For us, these reasons are the right reasons. I call them the trifecta, and they allow me to feel completely confident that this is a permanent change. And that’s coming from a meat lover. Ask anyone. I love meat and I adore cheese. In fact before this change I would tell people that I could live on tuna sashimi for the rest of my life. It was my favorite food. Extra sharp white cheddar was a close second. But believe me when I tell you, I’m not looking back.
I’m cooking a lot more and I’m using so many exciting ingredients that our food actually tastes so much better than it did before. Sure, eating out requires a bit more thought and eating at someone else’s house gives me a bit of anxiety. I don’t want people to have to plan special menus for us, but I also worry if I don’t tell them, they’ll feel bad that they didn’t know ahead of time. So I’m still learning to navigate that aspect, but other than that, it’s been a breeze.
We avoid calling ourselves vegans for two reasons, first, we just don’t identify with the alienating stance that many hardcore vegans take and second by definition, we aren’t vegan.
The definition of vegan: is a person who does not eat or use animal products. Well you see, we still use animal products, leather, wool, etc, we just don’t eat them. Oh and we do still eat honey, so again, not vegan.
It’s nuts how this diet has elicited a range of reactions in other people. We’ve had people who are genuinely heart broken by this decision as though our choice to no longer eat animal products means that they have lost us, that we aren’t the same friends they had before. Some people take it really personally, as if we’re passing judgement on their decisions or that we think we’re better than them. Still others think we’re just crazy, while some thinks it’s a hoot to find ways to insert meat consumption into any conversation. But we’ve also gotten a lot of support, for which we are really grateful.
This is what works for us and I believe it is the diet for the future. Do I recommend that other people give it a try? Absolutely! But at the same time I respect that this is a choice that everyone has to make for themselves and I do not impose my beliefs or lifestyle on anyone. I am not offended by the sight or smell of meat, it doesn’t bother me when other people eat it around me and I certainly don’t want anyone feeling put upon by this choice that we’ve made.