April 25 – lifestyle choice

275/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  About 23 years ago, I made a decision that affected the very essence of who I am.  After seeing a documentary on the processing of beef and being heavily affected by what I saw, I decided to cut out all red meat (in my mind that was pork and beef).  It was a bit difficult as growing up my entire family from parents to uncles and aunts were meat eaters – every meal had a huge meat component from sausages and bacon at breakfast to luncheon meats and burgers for lunch and then steaks (beef and pork) or chicken and turkey for dinner.  McDs and KFC were the letters of choice whenever mom didn’t want to cook.  However, that documentary got me to thinking about what my part was in the process and I just couldn’t live with myself.  I was 26 but it was only a choice for myself – never inflicting my beliefs on others (the only vegetarian in my family immediate and extended).  A year later, I happened upon another documentary on the chicken production industry and I was done.  At the same time, a teacher friend told me about fish and bottom feeders and well, I quit that like it was yesterday.  I’ve had many critics of my lifestyle choice – a principal who told me “real men eat meat”, my own mother telling me “why are you doing this to the family?”, others telling me that we are evolved and at the top of the food chain meant to eat meat and finally the ones who take one look at my skin colour and think it’s a religious choice (fyi, least religious person you will ever find writing a blog).  I held strong and with the exception of introducing fish back into my diet about a decade ago (compromised immune system and thus I require essential fatty acids and omega something or others), I have never (knowingly and willingly) eaten meat.  I appreciate all the friends and family in my life who have accommodated my choices by selecting restaurants that cater to my tastes, cooking an option for me specifically, even choosing vegetarian options here and there themselves.  I go along with the jesting about my non-meat choices but know that you respect my decisions.  Yes, my life as a vegetarian is much easier today than it was two decades ago as the options and choices available to me are endless but it’s the people around me who have made it that much easier.  Thank you to my friends and family who help me out with the way I choose to (not) eat.

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