What is vegetarianism all about? I cannot speak for others, but for myself, vegetarianism has a few benefits that has moved me to fully embrace a plant-based diet. Since early 2006, I have fully abstained from fish, chicken, pork and beef. At first, I did not know if I would survive the transition, but 8 years later, it has become a natural way for me to maintain energy.
Flesh Can Taste Very Good . . . Sometimes
Steak, hamburgers, hotdogs, sausage and eggs, and chicken sandwiches can be fulfilling in terms of taste. Eventually, I grew bored with the same rotation of each item and I sought to advance in terms of diet. Admittedly, most of what I ate came from fast food providers and that could have been part of the issue. That was my most affordable option while living a sedentary lifestyle immersed in work. A declining appreciation for the taste of prepared flesh was only one factor leading to my adoption of a plant-based diet.
Flesh for Necessity Versus Pleasure
Do I need to eat flesh or do I want to? Under some survival scenarios, you may have to eat meat. Particularly in very cold, wintry climates and other areas in which vegetation is little to none-existent. Sometimes there is a situation when vegetation is entirely unavailable. When you have to survive, in alignment with your values, you accept your options that would allow you to continue to exist. I find that in the normal course of living in modern society, I cannot justify the eating of flesh in order to live when alternatives exist.
Show Full Compassion to Other Creatures
The tone I express seems soft, but it appears to me entirely consistent with a worldview that strives for balance between what we believe and what we need from our environment. At times, there are creatures that will not reciprocate this point of view. How an untamed wolf responds to a visitor does not negate what that visitor believes. A belief in the right to life does not end when life is under threat and a choice of who lives is to be determined. Rather, there is an opportunity to provide space for the wider abundant life through alternative choices. One of those choices for me was a plant-based diet on principle.
2 Weeks to Change a Habit
It took me 2 weeks before I more fully lost the idea that I needed meat. I do not recommend anyone do it the way I did it. Before I switched, I already was 6 years removed from eating beef and 10 years away from pork. Still, quitting chicken and fish can be a harsh shift. Subsisting on salads may not be for everyone. It wasn’t for me. I learned to improvise by taking standard menu items and requesting them without meat. That helped a lot. What helped most however were the alternatives from Greek, Indian, Thai, and Asian restaurants. Those experiences provided me a good idea of the kind of diversity I could have when pursuing a meal.
Personal Benefits from a Plant-based Diet
Several things followed from my choice to adopt a plant-based diet. I learned to cook which improved my health as a relied less on eating out. I gained more diversity in my meals which made eating more of a pleasure than a task. Discipline increased regarding food as I became less driven by my stomach. I became better positioned to choose when and what I eat. Health improved. While I occasionally get as sick as anyone these days, I find I catch the common colds and illnesses less often than I once did. My body seems to function better, my weight remains balanced, and I seem to heal more effectively. The benefits are subtle, but useful.
Cheese and Milk and Spices Make the Difference
Yes, I love various varieties of cheese. Chocolate milk is great as an occasional drink. Milk as an ingredient in a number of plant-based recipes cannot be understated. Good cheese, not to mention, the right sauces and combination of spices can elevate the culinary depth of basic plant-based materials. The results can be remarkable in terms of taste. There is a such thing as a transcendent meal, even ones you prepare yourself each evening from the simple to the complex.
Vegetarian or Vegan
I am not predisposed to labels but I accept the identification with Vegetarianism. Abstaining from flesh is a choice I’ve made rather than a movement to which I belong. It is an element of how I have chosen to live. A choice to be in balance with and transcendent within certain aspects of nature. An aspiration towards greater natural health achieved more efficiently partly through the active effort to eat a certain way. Sometimes I fall short. A deep-fried bean burrito may seem healthy in some ways, but it is all taste at that point. Still, one finds they may more easily drift towards steamed onions, broccoli, and green peppers with a touch of olive oil.
A Future Way to Eat
A plant-based diet seems altogether more modern, streamlined, and efficient. The materials for a plant-based diet are easier to manage at an industrial scale, consume and process at an individual level. At a basic level, a plant-based diet can be more affordable as plant materials can be consumed in smaller quantities and stretched for longer periods with proper attention. Society may eventually benefit as population grows in which the supply of flesh is too insufficient for the wider population. Refinements in the cultivation, storage, preparation and delivery of plant-based cuisines may offer the most sustainable path for the future.
- 10 Questions Every Plant-Powered Eater Should Know The Answer To (onegreenplanet.org)
- 5 Signs the Plant-Based Diet is Mainstream and Here to Stay (onegreenplanet.org)
- Olivia Wilde ditches vegan diet (contactmusic.com)
- Vegan triathlete Brendan Brazier extols health benefits of plant-based diet (sykose.com)