Figuring Out Life as A Vegetarian
Meat has always slightly grossed me out. Chicken can go fuck itself, with those weird, Twizzler-textured white things that run through it, paired with the bits of jelly blood and that grimy, white-snot surface. Pork’s out because one time my mom served it while I was reading All Quiet on The Western Front and so I always associated it with eating war-horse meat. Ground beef would be cool except for that little hard thing you get sometimes that I guess is, like, bone or marrow as a result of poor animal grinding? Look, it’s all mothershitting nauseating.
It would be wonderful to tell you that I was so appalled by the nightmarish horrors of factory farming, the overuse of antibiotics that are causing superbugs to come and eat our meaty genitals through mega-gonorrhea or the environmental fuckery caused by our need for mass animal slaughter that caused me to become a vegetarian— but, no. It was really just because I quit smoking, and I’m pretty sure when my taste buds came back they came back… differently. It’s been a little while now and being a vegetarian has taught me a thing or two or five.
Meat, as strange as it sounds, was part of my identity.
Even though almost every meat grossed me out in some way, I would still force it down my gullet. Why?? WHY DID I DO THIS TO MYSELF? I suppose that, even though I don’t believe that the USDA and the United States Government really have my best interests at heart, I still adhered to the same food pyramid that hung in the hallowed halls of Bowie Elementary School. I remembered my mother telling me, “Every meal needs a meat, a starch, a vegetable and a fruit.” What a bitch, am I right?
Meat is ever-present and cultural. The first thing that I had to do when I became a vegetarian was to rewire my brain to think about what a “complete” meal looked like, in terms of nutrients, not in terms of types of food. When I began looking at it like that, I began seeing meals as wholesome and healthy, rather than checking off certain boxes.
I don’t miss meat.
First of all, if you go awhile without eating meat and then try to sneak a little meat, your body will absolutely revolt on your ass. Speaking of your ass, your bhole will take a rigorous spanking should you get any wild meat hairs. (What a gross way to put that! I’m great.) I have never felt stomach pain like that and I have had funny tummy my entire life. Anyways, I haven’t cheated almost at all, because I don’t crave meat. I don’t miss it. Do you know what I crave now? Black bean burgers with avocado and tater tots. Spinach quesadillas with elotes. Caprese sliders. Lentil wraps from Trader Joe’s. Noodles with tofu. I feel no absence of satiation post meat. What a relief!
STFU about goddamn protein.
Y’all, shit. I EXERCISE ONLY AS MUCH AS I HAVE TO SO I DO NOT NEED A LOT OF PROTEIN AND ALSO THERE’S LIKE FIFTY PROTEIN-RICH FOODS AND OH BTW THERE’S MOTHERFUCKING PROTEIN POWDER AND SHIT BECAUSE IT ISN’T THE GODDAMN DUST BOWL OR GREAT DEPRESSION OR WORLD WAR II DURING FUCKING RATIONING WE LIVE IN A TIME OF ABUNDANCE PROTEIN ISN’T A BIG FUCKING DEAL STFU.
It’s hard to do it alone.
One of my favorite things in the world is to cook things for my husband that he enjoys. There’s nothing better than him taking a bite and going “Damn, ‘bie, this is outrageous.” Since I’ve become a vegetarian, I’ve had a hard time getting him excited about meals. I mean, he’s not a baby so he can make his own stuff and he’s glad to do it, but I really miss being able to provide him something he’s stoked about. He’ll say “Oh boy these smashed bean sandwiches are great,” but I can see the lie in his eyes.
I don’t know how to eat.
I’m having to re-learn what my body is asking for, which is awesome. I’m a big believer in learning to listen to your body. It’s why I fast. I forget what hunger feels like, until I fast for a day, and then I am reminded what it feels like to be legitimately hungry versus bored or graze-y. Becoming a vegetarian has forced me to learn how to scratch my hunger itches with different foods than what I’m used to. When you’re hungover, for instance, your body will tell you that you need bacon and sausage initially. It needs protein. I don’t necessarily want to eat hummus and almonds when I’m hungover, so what do I have? I’ve found so many different foods, recipes and ideas since becoming a vegetarian, but ultimately what I’m really learning is what makes my body tick. And since it’s reacting extraordinarily positively to the changes, I think this I’m on the right track. And I feel fuckin’ good, y’all!
If I had to wrap it up with one thought, I’d say to those who have pondered being a vegetarian but haven’t made the leap. Just… let go of meat. Not seven days a week or for every meal necessarily, but you can do a lot of good for your body and for you planet if you simply let go of the inner voice that’s telling you that you have to eat meat in order to be happy, healthy and full.