A Change of Heart: Part I

>> Thursday, January 3, 2013

Along with my list of goals for the new year, I have a few thoughts about my diet. (FYI: Whenever I talk diet on this blog, I never refer to the whole restricting calories type of diet -- instead, I mean my way of eating. And I am SO over detoxes in 2013. Who's with me?!) Really, I've been working up to a change for a while, but the new year felt like a good time to start fresh and write out my thoughts about the topic.

For those of you catching up. I've been a lacto-ovo vegetarian since age 12. I was vegan for several years, mostly during college because a lot of my friends were doing it (I'm being truthful!), then switched back to being vegetarian when my level of activity (marathons and such) picked up substantially. Stephen added fish back to his diet several years ago (pescatarian, "like Michael Jackson was!" I always say to him), and I thought maybe I would like it, too.

So, I tried fish three times over the last two years and didn't like it one bit. At the crossroads, I decided to stick the course -- again -- becoming an increasingly more dairy-heavy vegetarian.

I've written posts about Becoming Un-Vegan, answered more questions about my diet, etc. And I look back on some things I've written and can't believe how I've separated out the environmental and ethical issues attached to eating the way I do. I always awknowledge they exist, but never delve into them much in writing or in my own research pursuits.

When I'm asked about my decision, I reply that it was "purely dietary" and animals definitely played a part, but weren't the catalyst for the change. True statements, but a shallow response, no? In my defense, I started this food journey very young -- mostly because I've never, ever liked meat. A picky eater. Nothing more, nothing less.

But as I've grown into a full-fledged adult, why wasn't I looking deeper, beyond this standard, canned response? If people were asking . . . and I know there's more to it than what I use to fill my plate . . . why didn't I investigate or enlighten myself beyond the surface information?

I really have no idea. Busy life? Yeah. Laziness, maybe definitely.

In a way, becoming a vegetarian when I was still a child took away that path of discovery. The huge realization or that bright light bulb Ah-HA! moment that so many people get when they learn about the meat and dairy industries. I vaguely knew about all that stuff in my teens and learned more as I made my way through college. But -- puffing up my chest -- I was already a firmly established vegetarian. High and mighty about it, too.

I-did-it-before-the-rest-of-you -- so THERE! was my attitude.`

As a result, I didn't seek much information. I also chose to turn away from the disturbing images and stories. I was doing my part already; I chose to be ignorant to the rest. Honestly? At this very moment, it is difficult for me to write about my unwillingness to open my eyes. I feel silly and almost embarrassed to have carried my V card for so many years, written about it, without giving it more thought.

. . . but I definitely know I'm not alone.

Today I just wanted to get these thoughts out there. But I'm going to talk more about some things I've learned over the past year. Some resources I've sought out in my quest. As well, I'd like to explain how I'll be eating in 2013. Spoiler alert: I will not be a full-fledged vegan. But I don't have the rest figured out yet.

However, I am making much more informed choices for a v.a.r.i.e.t.y of reasons. I can't fault myself too much for my past. I have always had the best intentions for my health and -- to the best of my (now self-acknowledged severely limited) ability -- for compassion and conservation. I'm excited to figure it out and use writing on this blog to help me process it. So, more words, as well as recipes, soon.  

Have you, too, had recent food-related revelations?

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