Every year at Earth Day, I get a reminder from facebook that it’s my veggie-versary. It always takes me right back to the beginning of this journey, when little bb Christina was walking around an Earth Day celebration sweating her ass off in Texas. I had recently had a baby, and was keen on changing my lifestyle so that I could tell my precious child that “I did everything I could” as I handed over the keys to this flaming pile of crap that is now our planet. I had swapped out all of my cleaning and body products for ones that wouldn’t poison our bodies or our water, I had changed to almost exclusively organic foods, I was cloth diapering my face off, I carried reusable bags like it was my job -I was feeling pretty smug about all the tree hugging I was doing.
And then a booth at Earth Day changed the course of my life. It said “You can’t be an environmentalist and still eat meat.” Pfffsssss. Watch me, ya know? I lived for a place called Rudy’s BBQ which specialized in ribs and fatty af sausages-I lived in Texas y’all. My uncle is a cattle farmer, my grandpa was a cattle farmer and one whole side of the family farmed livestock in rural Alberta. My dad went to school for animal husbandry. My baby book says “Christina hates vegetable and loooooves meat”. I am not the right candidate for this. But those little vegetarian jerks at that booth planted a seed in my brain that wouldn’t stop growing. It gnawed at me at the grocery store. It popped up when I was watching tv. It poked at me when I ate meals. But I.just.didn’t.want.to. And then one day I couldn’t ignore it anymore, I had to at least say I tried. So I did. I told myself, “I’ll try this for one week, and if it’s too hard-then I quit”. Turns out it wasn’t all that bad, and after two years as a vegetarian, I tried the same “I can quit if I want to” mantra and it stuck. I lost a ton of weight without actually working that hard at it, I felt like a million bucks, and my actions aligned with my values. In honour of 12 years in without dying like society would have me believe, I’m going to depart from this retrospect and make a list (because I f*cking love lists) of the things that have changed and the things that haven’t changed in my 12 years for vegetarianism.
- People think saying “BACON” in an argument both online and in person is a witty retort.
- People are *still* weird about things not made out of meat or dairy.
- Meat still dominates mainstream media and holidays.
- The world is still in major trouble.
- There is still some serious societal cognitive dissonance eg: selling bacon cupcakes to raise money for the humane society (the meat of one animal to raise money for another type of animal happens all.the.time. And is so freakin’ weird.)
- Most people now know what vegan means at least. (though say it vay-gun on the reg).
- There is so much more than tofu available at the grocery store- sausages, cheeses, tempeh-oh my!
- There are so many more food options out and about in the world. I can’t stress this one enough people. Vegan cookies, cupcakes, and foodz galore. It used to be a wasteland- the only thing to eat was a side salad and drink was the tears of your enemies. It was easy to manage your weight, ’cause there was never anything to eat. For a visual representation:
4. The way that I eat has turned into my career! The information that I have been begging people to take all these years in now something people pay us for. Who knew? I am deeply, deeply grateful every day for that annoying booth in Texas, that changed the course of my entire future. And despite many opinions to the contrary, 12 years in perhaps finally proves that you *can* in fact survive (and *pssst* thrive) on a plant based diet.