1. My health was slowly going the wrong direction. Before vegetarianism, I consumed about 3-8% of vegetables per month. That didn't seem scary at the time while sipping on sodas and biting into burgers, but the reminder now terrifies me! I strongly believe that the only reason I'm still here is because I ate so many legumes and home-cooked meals during those 15 years. Plus all the legumes I ate were never canned. It's almost like a gross sin in my culture to eat canned beans; eating anything canned was extremely rare, so that kept me awfully healthy.
2. My body is stronger than what people expected. Standing at 5'2" and 94 pounds, nobody thought I'd have a strong immune system. I've been ill before, but thankfully over nothing serious. I never became anemic, anorexic, bulimic, developed high or low blood pressure, gastritis, hospitalized, etc. Even when I was underweight I still had more stamina than some of my healthy-weighed omnivorous peers.
3. There is so much food for vegetarians. The fresh produce section in markets can become your best friend. I slowly opened up to vegetables and now love some veggies that my parents would have never imagined coming from me! (Asparagus, broccoli, beets) Yeah, there are tofu/soy meats, but I really cut those out of my life because I used to rely more on that than on actual vegetables. The most I'll buy is soy chorizo and a veggie burger from Astro Burgers (both are rare occurrences).
4. Not all vegetarians are snotty. I used to think that vegetarians were hippy jerks until I became one myself (not a hippy jerk, hahah). I've actually met some great people who didn't reveal their vegetarianism to me till much later! So no, not all vegetarians will rub their lifestyle in your face.
5. Some of my favorite foods had to be unexpectedly trashed. So gelatin is off limits and baked barbecue chips from Lays are a no-no. But through the elimination of these foods and snacks I found others that are better. Erase and replace for a healthier and better you! o.~
6. Fashion hurts sometimes. For the first half of my vegetarian years I wore my trusty black pair of Doc Martens that I owned since 2OO7 (before vegetarianism). After moving out in 2O12 I decided to part ways with them. A bit sad because so many memories of running away from silly trouble, kicking people, being able to high-five the tall kids, and super emotional high school kickbacks and conversations, but I was just no longer comfortable with wearing them. I never liked fabrics made with animals, but they were the only thing with animal fabric that I owned.
7. You don't need your significant other to be a vegetarian. When I first began, my boyfriend at the time became a vegetarian for me. However, I learned that changing people for your own interest and not theirs isn't right. I'm now married to an omnivore who (as long as I eat enough good food) is fine with my vegetarianism.
|Alen Barbosa photography. 2O12|