Becoming a Vegetarian

Saying goodbye to meat is hard. 

Aside from a two year vegetarian stint in high school, I've always had a very carniverous diet. Meat is easy to come by, fills me up, and gives me the nutrients I need without a lot of thought.

At least, that's what I've been telling myself.

The more I get involved with this project, though, the more I'm reminded of the reasons I initially tried to cut meat out, and the less I'm able to eat it without guilt. 

Gandhi said:



Photo by Greg Ortega

Photo by Greg Ortega


So here I go...again.  This time, I'm going to do things differently, though. I'm stocking my fridge with healthy, protein-filled alternatives, fresh organic vegetables, and lots of healthy snacks since I'm sure I'll be getting hungry more often now.

I think it's important to mention that healthy vegetarianism is an issue of access, and I feel very privileged to be in a position now, in my late 20's, to be able to afford to become a vegetarian without having to subsist on ramen and cheap, carb-heavy alternatives. I've decided to become vegetarian again not because my ethics have suddenly changed, but because I'm able to do it in a way that won't be detrimental to my health, and I recognize that not everybody's able to make that decision. Hopefully, this post will help make the decision a little easier though if eating less meat is something you want to do! 

Photo by Ariana Prestes

Photo by Ariana Prestes

If you're wondering why I've decided to convert, the answer to that question is complicated. There's no question that factory farms are detrimental to the environment, which conflicts with my mission to live as sustainable a life as possible with as a small a carbon footprint as I can manage. The inhumane practices perpetrated in these environments is a huge deal to me also -- regardless of how grass-fed, free-ranging, or antibiotic-free the animals might seem to be, it's impossible to sustainably raise the vast majority of these animals at the scale that this country consumes meat.   

In their article, "Why Go Veg?" Vegetarian Times says:



My gut feeling is that if I can't stand to watch something get slaughtered, I shouldn't eat it. I can't, so...I don't.  

I know I'm going to need a lot of help getting adequate nutrition, so I started looking around and found The Vegetarian Resource Group which has lots of information about vegetarian nutrition, delicious recipes, and lots of links to vegetarian cookbooks, causes, and other online resources.

If you're really into cooking, you'll definitely want to check out all that Moosewood has to offer. They've been making creative, vegetarian cookbooks for years, and many of them have been nominated for James Beard awards.

If you have any tips on how to be a healthy vegetarian, please e-mail me! I'd love to write a follow-up post with your help. Just send the info to ryanashley@thedurhamoriginals.com

And now, for a happy cheesy video:

With love and letting go,

Ryan-Ashley

PS. If you're in the triangle and want to check out some good vegetarian eats, here's a list of a few:

Vegan Flava Café 

Joie de Vegan

Sage Vegetarian Cafe

The Remedy Diner

The Fiction Kitchen

The Refectory Cafe (not strictly veg, but have a lot of great options)

If you know of any others, lemme know!