When I was 20 I turned vegetarian. I was mid-way through a theology degree and a course on animal ethics with some graphic footage made up my mind. I had never been a great meat-eater but this convinced me that the way animals were kept and killed meant it wasn’t worth it. Back in 1993, and on a student budget, there was no option to go organic which would have satisfied my principles, so meat was off the menu – literally. I was never an evangelical vegetarian – each to their own. I would never berate someone for eating meat and similarly I don’t expect them to question my decision either.
In 2009 I was pregnant with my third child and had a peculiar urge to eat fish. Having the resources to buy responsibly sourced fish and giving it a LOT of thought, I decided to introduce fish into my diet. I can’t say I was bowled over, but it was OK. After the birth of my delicious daughter, I was on a mission to lose the baby weight and went on an Atkins-type diet. Needless to say, there’s not much you can eat except meat and although Quorn is OK, it is not my first choice of primary ingredient. So, having tiptoed on to the slippery slope already, I started eating meat again. It was a strange experience and not one I felt comfortable with. It was much more convenient, especially for joining in family meals and exploring my new-found love of cooking. My mother was beside herself with joy (the longest ‘fad’ I ever had).
However, two years on and I am still uncomfortable with eating meat. Every piece of ham, every sausage, every roast dinner is preceded by the thought of which animal it came from. What did it go through? And that thought puts me off my food, so I end up eating the meat for the sake of it and not enjoying it at all. It struck me that this was ridiculous. Why am I eating something I don’t enjoy, don’t seem to find acceptable and don’t really want? This is the sort of thing that would flash through my mind before each bite….
So, much to the dismay of friends and family (except my sis who’s also a long-term veggie) I have decided to become vegetarian again. And that’s a proper veggie – no fish, no meat. Having made the decision and announced it to my husband I felt…relief. And that is surely a key indicator that, for me, I have made the right decision. In my meat-eating years I had considered myself a vegetarian who eats meat. Now I am simply a vegetarian.
I am bracing myself for the onslaught of whys and wherefores and perhaps this post will stave off a few, but I am prepared to answer the question of why I reverted? I shall tell them it was the bacon that got me in the end….