Well, here it is: December 1st. A few weeks ago, I decided to try being a vegetarian for six weeks. And here I am on the other side.
How’d it go?
It started well. I was excited. I searched out lots of new recipes and got my husband on board. We ate cauliflower instead of chicken. We substituted beans for beef. And, for a while, it worked well.
But I failed, and I failed often. As I figured, eating out was going to be a hurtle. There were very few vegetarian options out there and most of them were labeled “Mediterranean,” which meant a whole lot of olives and feta. Gross. But after each time, I shook my head and said, “I will try again tomorrow.”
And as long as I called myself “vegetarian,” that worked.
Then my kids got sick. Monkey had this cold that’s going around for a week and as he was recovering, Eggs picked it up. Two weeks of little sleep and inconsolable kids made me reach for the quick and easy. Pizza, burgers, poutine… whatever was easy. School didn’t help. Giant projects with a few hiccups lost me more sleep and more patience. And I forgot to keep calling myself a vegetarian. I was just Becka once again.
I learned a lot from the experience, though. I learned that I needed to tell people I was a vegetarian, not because I was judging their choices or bragging about my moral superiority, but because I need to remind myself that this was who I was going to be for a while. It encouraged me to keep going, even when all I really wanted was a pot roast or beef stew.
I also learned that it takes a lot of work to be a vegetarian. Or maybe it’s discipline. It’s saying no to some things and making sure not to reward yourself with something incredibly processed and unhealthy as a replacement. How many times did I say, “well, chocolate is vegetarian” or “I’ll just have a large fries, please.” So I applaud people who have done this and stuck with it. They deserve respect.
This foray into vegetarianism was good for me. It made me more aware of what I was eating, a positive thing for someone who self-medicates with food. Turns out being a vegetarian doesn’t necessarily mean you’re eating healthier. I did see some changes in my body, which was interesting. Not weight related, but just general health related.
I’m proud of myself for trying something new. I know that, in the end, it’s not for me, but that’s okay. I needed to experiment a little. And while I failed frequently, it was nice to see me pick myself and try again. I know that when I fail at other things (like, say, receiving yet another rejection letter for my writing), I can say:
“I will try again tomorrow.”