As most of you know, I made the decision to stop eating meat when I was 15 – on the 3rd of January 2009 to be exact. It was something I thought about for a long time and it was mainly because I didn’t trust our local Halal meat suppliers. At the time, there wasn’t anything that could prove the meat was actually Halal and there certainly wasn’t much information on whether it was certified by the Halal Monitoring Committee. I also came across information online about how meat was slaughtered before being sold across shops nationwide – it made me sick.
I thought carefully about my decision but I don’t think anyone in my family took me seriously when I told them. They thought it was another New Years resolution that I’d soon forget about. I remember going to a birthday party a few days later and putting some chicken in my plate because I forgot but my sister reminded me and that’s the last time I ever thought about eating meat again… until now.
I didn’t bother learning to cook any new vegetarian meals and that’s why I found the first two years really hard. My diet lacked vitamins, nutrients and protein and I was diagnosed with anaemia so I started eating fish again. I rarely tell people I’m a pescetarian because they’re usually unfamiliar with the term – a vegetarian who eats fish.
Cooking became easier when I moved away for university because I was forced to cope with my decision to become vegetarian and luckily one of my new flatmates was also vegetarian. I learnt how to cook with vegetables I’d only ever heard of before and I started enjoying my diet. I never craved meat. I never once though I’m ‘missing out’ and it was really easy for me.
I decided it was time to eat meat again after collecting my prescription for my iron medication a couple of months ago. I’d had enough and I felt weak and frustrated with my health. I’ve also been diagnosed with an underactive thyroid a few years ago so it was just one health complication after another. Also, I spoke to my older brother who simply asked me to consider eating meat again. Unlike most people, he never challenged me about my decision before so I knew he was genuinely concerned.
I ate meat again in the most normal way (on the 7th of April 2014) – I didn’t plan it and no one told me to eat it. My sister-in-law cooked shepherd’s pie and after eating the vegetarian substitute meal she’d cooked for me, I honestly just wanted to try some meat. I only tried a few spoonfuls and it wasn’t anything spectacular. I wasn’t too keen on the texture but that was expected after 5 years of avoiding it. But it also didn’t taste bad and I knew I wouldn’t find it too difficult to get myself to try small amounts every now and again.
I don’t know how long it will take to get used to the taste of meat again because I still find it really odd. I was never a huge meat-eater so I’m planning on taking it slow and only trying things I feel comfortable with – no meat on the bone! I still prefer vegetarian options to meat but now at least I can consider the meat dishes.
Have you ever considered being vegetarian?