For me, it was a bit of a “bumpy ride”
NOTE: I’m not against vegetarianism nor veganism. I still have and hold my beliefs and faith in vegetarian diet. I still like the idea of filling my fuels without hurting animals, myself, and the planet. I have done research about it before I go vegetarian ‘cold turkey’. I know all the causes and impacts of eating meat. Yes, I do.
So, what happened? And why all the sudden I eat meat again?
First of all, this post is of that I want to share my experience as a vegetarian and all the obstacles I have encountered. I might have destroyed my journey but I did not end it. I’m not ending this journey. Everyone is different and here goes my story,
My vegetarian journey started in the last October of 2015 and I have (recently) ruined it in May of 2016. I have hold my beliefs about vegetarian diet for eight months. (Still do) I wouldn’t say it was accidentally that I destroyed it. I mean I could have pushed the dish away, could have done that easily. (Easily said when at the end that I didn’t) I could have said no and walked away. I wouldn’t blame it on anyone, anything nor even myself though. I still do believe that becoming fully vegan and vegetarian can be done really easy… but might not for everyone. Not for me. (I really do respect those people who could do it cold turkey)
How I started my journey? It all started from the vegan festival (Gin Je festival) in Thailand where people will be on a plant-based diet for seven or nine days. During that time, it was absurdly easy for me to grab a vegan dish. Then, when the festival ended, vegan dishes are harder to find so I started following all the cool and famous vegan bloggers, Youtubers and Instagramers to see what they eat on a daily basis so that I could have some idea for my meals. (Luckily, I love cooking) I happened to really like the idea of HCLF and rawtill4 a LOT. I have always been a carbs-lover and I usually cook for myself (mostly breakfast) so it was quite easy for me to continue the diet. For the first few weeks, I was fine. I have always enjoyed indulging in tons of fruits, veggies, rice, and potatoes. Then two months passed, I started to get hungry all the time. I started having to nibble on candies, sweets, and snacks all the time. I don’t feel full after finishing each meal and I thought it might be because I didn’t eat enough. So I started to eat more and more to make myself full. Then, I started to worry about my weight. I spent more time at the gym. I added more distance to my regular running routine. Worst comes to worst, I find myself obsessively thinking about what will I eat for each meal ALL THE TIME and starting to calculate my calories intake. Which is something I have always been opposing. (I had a yo-yo diet when I was 17-18 years old) Later, I have found out it’s all due to the fact that I didn’t eat enough protein and fat as I should. I realized that when I found myself denying peanut butter! I figured I was eating so much more carbs than I usually do and I started to get scared of gaining weight. That’s when I knew, this is not right and what I was doing is not healthy at all. (At when I first started the journey, I went fully vegan as the combination of HCLF and rawtill4) (Note: I have nothing against HCLF or rawtill4. It was my choice and this is my experience and how I reacted to the diet. Everyone is different.)
However, that is not the reason why I come to eat meat again.
Although I found out that I could no longer do HCLF nor rawtill4, I did not stop the journey. This realization happened during the winter break so when I stopped applying the diet HCLF and rawtill4 to my lifestyle, simultaneously, maintaining vegan diet, it was easily done because I was home. Nevertheless, I would consider myself no longer live with my parents since I only see them three times a year. I get to go home only during the summer (right now, June-July), the winter break (December-January), and a week of Songkran festival. So! Apparently, I live on the campus university and spend most of my time in the uni. And, as a vegan living in Thai university is so not easy. So what I did was that I went for an ovo-lacto vegetarian diet. I started to consume eggs and some dairy products (yogurt and cheese). I, ever since I was an omnivore, prefer drinking plant-based milk more. In Thailand, yes, it is truly darn easy to get fruits and vegetables. But it is not easy to grab vegan food with ‘protein’. Why don’t I just cook for myself? I don’t have a kitchen in my dorm. I only cook myself breakfast. (I have a rice cooker which I use to cook oatmeal and rice) Lunch and dinner are all restaurants in the uni. (If you have been in my country, you’d know. It’s unbelievably cheap and easy eating out in Thailand) HOWEVER, It was already not easy getting an ovo-lacto-vegetarian food at the university in Thailand, vegan? Million times harder.
At that point until now, I don’t miss eating meat. But, I miss being in the social. I miss enjoying dinner with friends. We would normally go to places like hotpot, shabu, sushi, and steak house or grill where meat is the prince on the menu. Yes, they might alter places like that to places with vegetarian choices so that I could enjoy the meal with them. Let me tell you, it stinks. I might be a homebody kind of person but I also want the meal I chose to have with friends to be the bestest.
I know. People will tell me that it’s the fact I have to accept if I’m heading toward vegetarianism. I have to accept the life surrounded with friends and families that are not vegetarians. And I did and still do. But I did it wrongfully and was too hard on myself. I was upset. I was sad not being able to dine with friends or having to deny the food they offer me. I know I did not offend them for denying the meal out with them or the food they hand to me because they understand. But I feel like I offend them all the time. And that upsets me.
When I told my family and friends that I failed and have put myself back to the meat-diet and heading toward the fully vegetarian diet slowly. They didn’t laugh nor make fun of me at all. Actually, nobody says “I failed” while I hate and am utterly disappointed in myself for destroying the journey I have putting all my hearts, beliefs and faith for.
To this point of my life and this journey of being a vegetarian, it is not the end yet. I have not ended it. It’s just another exciting chapter of my life. I am doing it step by step and being easier on myself. I eat clean, become more careful of the amount of sugar, and become braver in eating fat. (Good kind of fat) I eat plant-based when I’m alone and allow myself to have eggs, dairy products and fish for whenever I go out with friends.
At first, I hated myself so much for eating meat but I have come to realize that it is not right and never been right to hate myself and let myself fallen into the pool of agony. I am so much happier now that I finally found a way to make this journey more comforting for both the people around me and myself.
Love yourself and care your feelings.