There’s a saying that it takes 21 days to make a habit and I’m inclined to agree. Exactly 21 days ago I became a vegetarian. The fact that today is also Earth Day is cool but completely unintentional. So why did I give up meat? Well, I did it for a lot of reasons, but it started out as a month-long challenge simply to see if I had the willpower to try it out and stick with it. Being the bookworm that I am, I decided to read a book to coincide with my new (and temporary) endeavor and picked up The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our World by John Robbins. By the time I finished it a few days later, it was clear that my “temporary” foray into vegetarianism was going to be a permanent one.
There are many reasons for this, including making a new vegan friend who, in her absolute respect for my love of beef jerky never once mentioned giving up meat, made me want to do it even more (you can read her blog here, or check out her place of employment, Vegan Outreach). Then, of course, there’s the way that animals are treated. I knew it was bad and have given up meat for a few days in the past, which gave me just enough time to forget everything I had learned and go back to my meat-eating ways. This time, however, something was different. Instead of turning my thoughts away, I consciously chose to be more mindful of what I was eating. This is probably because I started mindfulness meditation two months ago after reading 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story by Dan Harris and am striving to be a better person all around. Either way, this time the words in the book stuck and I’m equally horrified and fascinated by my own ability to have ignored it all for so long.
I’m not going to go into the details about how horribly animals are treated in factory farms because the Internet is filled with them and, to be frank, my goal isn’t to turn my readers into vegetarians (although I wouldn’t mind it if everyone read The Food Revolution, which I’m reviewing next week and actually gave some thought to the words in it). What I will say is that I was not aware of the severity of the implications that eating meat has blood pressure, cholesterol, life expectancy, water consumption, and starvation in third-world countries. The big picture, when I finally saw it, was pretty scary and I no longer want contribute to it. Instead, I’m going to do my small part to help save the world because one person really can make a difference, right?The Book Wheel has gone vegetarian! Click the link to learn why and how. #EarthDay Click To Tweet
So how do I feel after three weeks without meat? I feel fantastic – probably the way people feel when they start exercising or giving up too much sugar or any of the other healthy things you can do for your body. I have no idea if there’s any scientific evidence for the changes I’ve noticed, but my hair is less frizzy, my skin is clearer and less spotty, and I’m sleeping better. I’m also a lot happier and my ability to manage stress is much better, although this is likely attributed to the meditation, as well. Oh, and I’m cooking. A lot. As in, more than I have in the past ten years. I even baked a homemade apple pie and learned how to pronounce quinoa.
As for the future, plan on seeing a few more posts about my newfound love of vegetables. It’s a learning process, so if you’re on Twitter and have tips or great recipes, send them over to me or leave them in the comments! Oh, and I’m planning to go completely vegan….. So there’s that.