Today, March 16, is my veggie-versary. One year since I DTR’d with my diet and decided to break up with meat. Many times over the past 12 months I’ve bemused, with a gleam in my eye, that if I made it a year I might let myself eat a burger (pause for lusty sigh) …with bacon.
Now it’s been a year, and I’m content to report that I don’t want a burger today. Not even a little bit. (Full disclosure: I cheated in September on my trip to Europe. Fish & chips. A bite of boeuf bourguignon. Got chicken-drunk in Paris. I’ve also had Sushi a handful of times stateside. So there’s that.)
I had BBQ in Memphis after my half-marathon, and I found the idea of it more enjoyable than the experience. It’s about being in Memphis with my friends. Celebrating a physical victory. Pork is just an accessory.
When people ask me why I decided to become vegetarian, and it’s often during a meal in which the asker is eating meat themselves, I usually pause to pick the right reason for the moment. (Because there are lots of reasons, and they are all good ones.) I never want to be That Guy, pulling out the gross stories or the guilt-trip statistics over somebody’s chicken nuggets.
I explain politely that it was an easy choice for me to make, ultimately. One I’d toyed with many times in the past. My boyfriend at the time went veggie, so it was all the more easy for me. Vegetarian food is awesome, too. I don’t just nibble celery and feel deprived of flavor. I’ve discovered I feel lighter, healthier.
Finally, my cholesterol lowered 30 points in just 3 months.
That’s the real selling point, I think. The numbers. The facts. People go, “ooh!” Cholesterol is something people get. Start talking cruelty and corruption, and people get antsy. So I don’t.
But if I had to choose just one reason why I no longer eat meat, it’s this book:
Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer simply changed my life.
(My Google search for the book cover taught me that Natalie Portman is also vegetarian and a JSF disciple. She wrote an articulate little Huff Post article that you might enjoy.)
My Memphis BBQ moment was about the story. Foer argues that food is about the story for all of us. What we eat is part of what determines who we are–in our families, in our cultures, and as individuals.
If you find yourself toying with the idea of vegetarianism, even a little bit like me, read this book. JSF is a genius. The writing is delectable. The ideas are, too.
(And someday, it’s possible, even you will surprise yourself, saying, “I don’t miss bacon.”)