Monday, April 9, 2012

One year later

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Last year I bought ‘The Kind Diet’ while it was still on pre-sale and waited eagerly for it to be shipped to Brazil. I arrived on Friday before Easter, and I literally read it in one seating.

I had already decided to cut red meat due to anxiety, poor sleeping patterns and ever increasing reading material relating red meat to cancer. I had heard Alicia Silverstone tell Oprah that her plant based diet allowed her to have regular bowl movements, and as that was –ahem- something I never experienced, I figured I should give it a try.

I actually found myself in tears in the middle of the book. Reading about the food industry, I thought of how the planet would be a happier and safer place if human beings weren’t around. I vowed to become a vegetarian right off the bat, and I did.

I won’t say I will never eat meat again. I can, however, say that I don’t crave it a single bit. And let me tell, you, I was a big meat-eater. Anyone who has been to a Brazilian churrasco joint knows we like our meat. I was a worshipper of chicken, and could eat it any way served. McDonald’s was for me the ultimate self-indulging treat.

Here are five things I learned during this year as a veggie, but which I believe are staples of human beings in general:

1-      The first two weeks are the hardest. Like anything in life: diet, a new workout routine, or waking up early when school starts, getting into the new routine is the hardest. After a while, we get used to it.

2-     We are eager for the approval of others. Whether it is about cutting meat and dairy,  investing in being a stay at home mum or choosing not to watch crap TV (in Brazil, soap operas and Big Brother are the highest rating shows – enough said), we tend to want to fit in.

3-     We believe the lies we are told because we need to feel safe. Driving through a flood is ok. Microwaves and transgenic food are safe. Meat and dairy are good for you. We know these are not the case, but in the end of the day, we are going to do what we want to do, so having an excuse to start with empowers us.

4-     We judge what we don’t understand. That couple barely talks to each other, so they must not love each other. She wants to be a stay at home mom because it’s easier than working 9 to 5. Vegetarians are dirty tree-hugging hippies. Until you’ve tried it, you cannot possibly have a sensible judgment.

5-     Nothing is forever. Whether you think you’ll never get married, will always be young and hip or never give up meat.  Maybe there is no way you can imagine yourself in a situation at this point in your life. You may be a completely different person ten years from now.

Although I am not trying to convince anyone, I just have to share. According to Choose Veg in one year on a plant-based diet I spared 50 animals' lives. That just feels good.