Chicken, rabbit and a guy
I have been a vegetarian since I was 18, or 19 years old. I never liked meat, so the decision wasn’t a big surprise to my family. As a child, I often pretended I have to throw up after I had to finish the peace of meat on my plate hoping that next time it won’t be on my plate. I was persistent, but so was my mum. But, there were other contributing factors in my decision to go meat free – starting from my childhood and my grandfathers’s farm with all the animals there I saw as my pets and not food and a favorite rabbit that ended up on a dinner table, to my late teens and a handsome vegetarian dive instructor. What tipped the scale? Who knows.. I like to think it was the rabbit:)
A bit of a nerd I am with anything that interests me, I did a research on my new diet and started reading about stuff like vitamins, minerals, protein, carbs, good and bad fats etc. that I never had to before. It was interesting and I realized we know so little about what and how we eat. We just fall into a pattern set by someone else (family, tradition). My mum ignored my meat free lunch plea, so I also had to learn how to cook, which came in handy later in life.
My grandma was devastated. She thought I will die of malnutrition. It took her almost a decade to make her peace with my choice. Now she finally thinks I’m not so crazy after all:).
Being a vegetarian at that time in Croatia meant being weird. The most commonly asked question was: ‘What do you eat than??’ And I’d say ‘everything except the meat?’. But, for the folk here meat, potatoes and salad are the only healthy option. It was hard to persuade them other vise. So, I stopped. It is hard to have an argument with someone who knows nothing on the subject. Everything that is new and not traditional is considered wrong or weird. Thank God I left home and came back in google era. In London I wasn’t such a weird kid.
Healthy for you and healthy for the planet
I won’t bother you with all the health reasons for going vegetarian. And there are many! You only need to go online and do some research, and you will find many more pros than cons when it comes to reducing meat intake or going completely meat free. Of course, trading a beef stake for a gnocchi with gorgonzola cheese is not the smartest choice. When choosing your food you have to be smart.
It is a fact that (smart) vegetarians are more healthy and less likely to develop heart disease and certain chronic disease’s. Cutting meat means eating more vegetables, legumes, fruit etc. that are high in nutritional values.
But, by going vegetarian, or atleast cutting your meat intake you could do so much more than just helping your body to stay healthy. You can help our planet. By going vegetarian yo u can help prevent global warming, rainforest destruction, pollution, help save water and feed the hungry. All that you ask?
You may or may not know that raising animals for food produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all of the cars, planes, and other forms of transportation in the world combined.
It requires massive amounts of land, food, energy, and water. The byproducts of animal agriculture pollute our air and water.
While there are still (in the 21st century!) people that starve to death and that have no drinking water, we feed the livestock and use ridiculous amounts of water to produce a kilo of meat.
Entire ecosystems are being destroyed to make room for animals and crops used to feed them. They are cutting into Amazon every day to plant soybeans. Those same crops used to feed animals could feed the entire world. And I won’t even go into the whole cruelty of how those animals are kept, fed and killed.
If you are reading this, I know you care, and I know that the reasons above are pretty good reasons to consider a change in perspective. I have never been more comfortable with my choice, and it never had less to do with my health. Even if vegetarianism wasn’t the healthier choice, I would chose it for all the other reasons mentioned above. If all of us, or most of us made the choice of not eating meat, less meat would be produced and less above mentioned problems we’d had. Simple math.
I’ll finish with one of my favorite Gandiji’s sayings: ”There is enough food to feed everyone’s needs, but not enough to feed everyone’s greed.”