In my last post I mentioned that my friends John and Kristina were trying out a vegetarian diet for a week. I’m absolutely thrilled that Kristina agreed to be a guest blogger and write about her experience to share with my readers. Without further ado, here’s Kristina…
Vegetarian Trial Week: What I Learned About Myself and the People in My Society
By: Kristina E. Cimino
Meat for breakfast, meat during lunch, and of course, dinner is served with meat, and even meat in some snacks in between. That was my life, and then I decided to try a week following a vegetarian diet. As I wrote about on my blog Favor Freedom, I expected this experimental week to teach me some things about my own body and what it does or does not need to consume to feel healthy, what my views on the difference between animals that I felt were okay to eat versus the ones I knew I could never chew on, and perhaps a little about what being a vegetarian meant on a day-to-day basis.
I ended up learning more than I thought I would about myself, and about the people I encounter throughout my days.
I learned that I don’t need the overwhelming amounts of protein and fats at even a single meal let alone every single meal to feel energized and full. In fact, after an entire week of eating only vegetarian I am able to say that not a single meal left me feeling sluggish and weighed down– which is what I am used to feeling after almost every meat-filled meal. I learned that there are so many things that can be made without meat that are so super tasty that it is almost a shame not to spend all of your food intake on getting to enjoy them all.
I also spent some time evaluating my thoughts towards the consumption of once-living flesh and tissue of animals, and am having a harder time accepting that as an okay thing to do. I can not think of an animal that I have met who I did not recognize a sort of personality in, and since that has included chickens, cows, goats, etc., it is absurd of me to ignore the fact that the blood that once pumped through the veins of the carcass I’m chowing down on didn’t have a very unique personality of its own that I am sure to have connected in some way with.
One of the most interesting things I learned through this experience had nothing at all to do with me choosing for personal reasons to not eat meat, but rather other people’s reactions and behaviors towards the fact.
People do not take well to things that are different than them, and they want to make you fully aware of it. It is certainly not a revolutionary statement to make, but the fact seemed to stand out to me almost more than ever before during my week as being part of the vegetarian co-culture.
Most people eat meat, and if you don’t, then you must be off at least a little bit. People want to tell you how you need that protein and how you are missing out on so many important things for your body by not consuming it. People want to roll their eyes, make you feel difficult or snooty, and people want to make it very clear to you that they themselves would never do that.
Intolerance by others in the form of insincere, patronizing, and sarcastic encouragement coupled with attempts to prove to you that you should eat meat simply due to your position on this so-called “food-chain” was a bit shocking and upsetting.
The flip side of that though is that the encouragement I received from other vegetarians far outweighed any negative backlash I got from anywhere else. Friends like the author of this blog and others who tried this week of vegetarian with me were supportive in every way possible, and helped me to deal with my cravings while teaching me alternatives and solutions to my former meat-eating ways.
I am (sadly) still not sure if a vegetarian lifestyle is the lifestyle for me or not, so I am continuing with my streak until I can come to a sure decision on the matter. Yes, I realize that I don’t need it, and that the health benefits far outweigh any sort of benefits from consuming meat, but man, bacon is so good.
Kristina Cimino is a blogger at Favor Freedom. She will graduate from Kennesaw State University in August 2013 with a Bachelor’s in Communication with the concentration of Media Studies, and a minor in Peace Studies. Her and her husband John live with their two dogs Jack and Brooklyn and two cats who are brother and sister, Gir and Emma. In Kristina’s free time, she enjoys hula hooping, working as a brand new gardener, and being around people who make her happy and help her to become a better person.