As told by a Pre-Vegetarian
In the fall of 2008 we began our journey on the road to vegetarianism. I'm not sure how it happened, but one day I noticed that my husband had began reading a popular "Prevent Animal Cruelty", "Learn To Eat Without Meat", "Raw Food", "Healthier Alternatives" publication; which I thought had been delivered in the mail by mistake. I later learned that he had requested information from a website in regards to the vegetarian and vegan lifestyle. I wasn't alarmed, but I wanted to know why. I didn't think it would be for his love of animals. So was it for health issues? I really didn't know. Why would someone who enjoyed chicken, ribs, fish, sausage, bacon, and numerous other meats as part of his daily diet suddenly decide to become a vegetarian? If it wasn't for the animals and it wasn't for his health what was the dealio? A few weeks later he decided he was ready to begin his journey on the road to vegetarianism - and for what?? Self-discipline. Understanding the possible difficulties that he might face ahead, I volunteered to become a vegetarian for moral support. I went all balls out.
In order for this to work I knew that I would need to do some research. What do vegetarians eat other than vegetables? There was no way I could only eat vegetables. I actually Googled "How to become a vegetarian the easy way" and clicked on the first link that met my qualifications http://zenhabits.net/2007/08/how-to-become-a-vegetarian-the-easy-way/. We were going to progress in phases.
Phase 1: Reduce red meat consumption to twice a week eliminating all red meat by the end of the second week. Not too hard - we had stopped purchasing red meat several years ago and only consumed it limited times throughout the year. Done.
Phase 2: Reduce pork consumption to twice a week eliminating all pork by the end of the fourth week. Simple enough… As with red meat, we had stopped purchasing pork several years ago and consumed it even less than beef throughout the year. Done and Done.
Phases 3 & 4: Reduce chicken and turkey consumption to twice a week eliminating all poultry by the end of the sixth week. Not so easy. For years chicken and turkey were primary staples in our home served 3-4 times a week fried chicken, turkey tacos, spaghetti & turkey meatballs, chicken stir-fry and turkey breast could always be found in the fridge for sandwiches. Finally a challenge…I decided that we would end this torrid affair with a tribute to some of our favorite dishes. My homemade chicken pot pie which I had only began preparing a few months prior, and a recent family favorite, was the first to make an entrance. Other desired dishes, such as, baked chicken, hot wings, turkey meatloaf and chicken fried rice followed; and little by little made an exit. As the end grew closer, we looked forward to trying new meals and creating new favorites. Then I realized that Thanksgiving was just around the corner and we would be turkey free. We feasted on our first purposely meatless meal – vegetable lasagna. Unsurprisingly unexciting, at least we still have seafood.
Phase 5: Reduce seafood consumption to twice a week eliminating all seafood by the end of the eighth week.
Thus far, we had moved along according to schedule; completing Phases 1-4 with little or no difficulty. Our journey to vegetarianism was almost to a close.
"Hear Ye! Hear Ye! We attempted to tame the T-Rex and it appears we shall be victorious." Famous last words…
Another holiday had come and gone - our traditional Christmas dinner was replaced with salmon and baked potatoes. There were no plates to take home. There were no leftovers to devour. Dinner was over and so was our last and final phase. However, we were not ready for it to end. For whatever reason, we simply weren't ready. The T-Rex had not been broken. Did our lack of beef and pork consumption make it harder? Technically, Phases 1 and 2 were too easy. How could you possibly miss what you didn't have? In our case, we had eliminated beef and pork for years replacing it with fish and chicken. Perhaps it was because I counted down the remaining days, which inadvertently made it harder to say goodbye. It could also have been because of the many species of seafood. There are just too many selections and two weeks isn't enough time to try them all. Plus, I had totally convinced myself that fish wasn't meat – its fish! Simply put, my husband and I really enjoy seafood. Although we are trying our best to eliminate it from our diet, it provides substance to many dishes and at this time it has been difficult to remove fish completely.
We currently consume seafood 3 or less times a week. As a result, the T-Rex is now not as carnivorous. Even though it should not be confused with the tyrannosaurus rex, one of the largest land carnivores of all time; attempting to tame this T-Rex will not be any easier.
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