About 3 months ago I tweeted: “THAT’S IT – I’M DONE – I’M GOING TO BE A VEGETARIAN!” That proclamation received mixed reviews. Some folks welcomed me to the club (I didn’t know there was a club but there are websites that you can sign up with to make your proclamation official, they’re mainly run by PETA so I decided to not go this route for other reasons) other folks said I was crazy and went on the why we should eat meat rant, then others shared their stories about their experiments with vegetarianism. Now I am finally going to explain why I chose to be a vegetarian!
Let me clarify a couple of things:
- I do not eat any meat! This includes chicken (apparently some folks consider themselves vegetarian because they don’t eat red meat) and fish (sorry folks but a fish is still an animal & even before I was a vegetarian I rarely ate fish because I simply have never liked it! When asked: What do you want to eat? I’ve never said: oh fish sounds good!)
- I do not eat eggs! Oh wait, I’m allergic to them (though I have come to realize that it is an almost impossible ingredient to avoid, especially when it comes to yummy desserts, yet I will tell you that 99% of what I cook for myself is egg free).
- I do not eat meat substitutes! Things like tofurky or vegeburgers well they’ve never really appealed to me and I have yet to find one that is not soy based because I’m allergic to soy. (Soy is probably the most difficult allergy to have, it’s something I have to carefully monitor because there is some form of soy in the majority of products on the food market).
- I do not get my protein from nuts and I do not eat nuts! That’s right folks, you guessed it, I’m allergic to nuts! (This is also a difficult allergy to have because so many things are cooked in peanut oil and shortly after eating it, if it’s what they use at a restaurant well, I find out and ugh, let’s just say it’s not fun).
- I do not care if you eat meat! If you want to eat meat that’s fine by me, just because I’m choosing to be a vegetarian doesn’t meant that you have to watch what you eat around me. My only request is that you not be a jerk about it (ah-hem…TROY…ok he’s really not a jerk about it but he does like to make fun of me for it just to push my buttons)! Also, I am not raising my children to be vegetarians, I am allowing them to make those decisions on their own. Frankly, Sophia loves pig products and I am perfectly ok with that and Tedy well, he’s a boy so he’ll pretty much eat anything.
Now that I’ve clarified a few items for you let me describe the series of events that led me to choose to be a vegetarian:
- In April 2008 (3 weeks before my wedding) my sister had to go to the bathroom but I cut in front of her and well to make a long story sort of short, I don’t know when she ever ended up going to the bathroom because I ended up getting an ambulance ride to the hospital! The whole situation isn’t funny but we (me, my sister, my cousin Katie & occasionally my mom) were laughing hysterically in the ER because the Docs had doped me up on some morphine for the pain. After a week of every GI test under the sun I was diagnosed with Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis which for me is flared up by food allergies (who would have known that green peppers would be my worst allergy, which is kind of ironic because the night that I went into the hospital we had one of my old favorite types of pizza – pepper & onion).
- In the fall of 2008 (stupid new insurance & pre-existing conditions that don’t allow you to go see the doctor’s you need to see right away) I finally found out what all my food allergies are: all nuts, eggs, soy, broccoli, green peppers & avocados.
- In February 2010 I start to have another flare up. After seeing my GI Doc he counsels me to take a good look at my life. He suggests that I eliminate as much stress as possible since that only flares up GI diseases more as well as seriously watch what I’m eating – food labels can be tricky & even things cooked in oils (such as peanut oil) can cause issues.
- Spring/Summerish 2010 I say peace out work & become a “stay-at-home-mom” my levels for measuring my flare up drastically drop in just a few short weeks (it’s amazing what eliminating stress will do for you). Also, I’ve now become well acquainted with Bethenny Frankel’s book’s Naturally Thin, Skinny Girl Dish & her DVD Body By Bethenny. I’ve also focused more on my over all well-being & really cracked down on reading labels as well as my training for the Marine Corps Marathon (see past posts for these exciting adventures).
- October 2010 I check out a copy of Skinny Bitch from my local library (by the way the library is an amazing place when you’re a crazy book lover like me & trying to save some money & not buy books…believe I’ve posted about that already). My sister says to not read it so I let it sit for a few days. As I’m washing my hands at Sophia’s preschool I look up and read the department of health chart about baby food, diaper changing and food handling. As I’m reading the food handling section one thing does not make sense to me: cooking meat. You can eat everything else in its raw form but meat has to be cooked. The next day I pick up the book and read it in its entirety in just a few hours. I then look up some other quick facts about food processing and handling then throw up my hands, shout out “THAT’S IT – I’M DONE – I’M GOING TO BE A VEGETARIAN!” Oh and of course I proceed to tweet this and post it as my facebook status update.
So that’s the series of events for you – it may not make any sense to you but this decision has helped me tremendously. I’ve never craved meat! However, I have craved salads (refer back to my salad blog) oh and I can still taste those scrumdidlyumptious tomatoes from Nani’s garden! Oh and zucchini…mmmm…so good! Also, my nickname (from Troy) is “Betty Spaghetti” PASTA is by far my favorite food (if I had to choose just one)! So even though I’m not your typical vegetarian, three months have gone by and I am happily still a vegetarian! The holidays have come and gone and yes I cooked a hen for my family but doing so just confirmed in me that I should be a vegetarian. It may not last forever but even my long love of bacon has died (I think it started to fade when I found out I was allergic to eggs & hence could not have a bacon, egg & cheese on a croissant from Dunks anymore). For me, becoming a vegetarian was another positive change to my life, one of the many that I made in the later half of 2010. Now 2011 is here and I still pledge to be a vegetarian!