It’s hard to define what diet we do have. l honestly never knew how to label it, so I simply didn’t. And recently I invented a new term. My own term. (This is also applicable to our lifestyle).
When people ask us about our diet we will just say we don’t eat meat. As simple as that. I try to avoid to label ourselves as vegetarians, vegans, or anything else. First, because we’re not. Not really. But also because I don’t like to discuss this subject with strangers, because I don’t feel like I have to prove a point to anyone, plus it’s quite obvious that someone will get hurt at the end of the conversation. I don’t like to be offended, and I don’t want to make others feel bad about their own choices either. Chances that these endless debates will ever change someone’s mind are, let’s face it, equal to 0 anyway. But if you simply say you don’t eat meat, that’s 100% true (in our case). And it will also give others the chance to find themselves an explanation they can resonate with. During the years there were quite some who were convinced we have religious reasons, health issues, ethical motivation etc, and only a few who knew the whole story, because they dared to ask, cared to listen, and tried to accept. If you want to be one of them, keep reading.
The strangest thing is that I never loved meat. But as I always loved FOOD, and mostly all the food I knew and loved was meat based, the transition wasn’t as easy as I expected. Who knew back then that you don’t need any meat for a good chicken soup?
I stopped eating meat in 2015. But I started this journey a few years earlier. I really took it slow.
I still remember when I questioned the meat industry for the very first time, about 8 years ago, after my dog died. I felt miserable, and Erno tried everything to cheer me up. I wouldn’t eat all day long. I just couldn’t. It felt wrong. So he took me to my favorite restaurant, where I ordered my favorite chicken soup. I couldn’t eat it. For the first time I couldn’t think about the meat in my plate as food, but only as part of a dead animal’s body. That was the last thing I wanted to think about, and of course, the last thing I wanted to eat. 👀 That night the “click” happened. And I started to be even pickier with meat, than I was before.
Shortly after, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and I got a very strict diet. I could only eat meat that was boiled, without any spices. Just meat, cooked in salty water. I also had to cook all the fruits and vegetables at the beginning, so nothing really had any taste for quite a while. Nothing but the meat, which simply tasted awful prepared that way. 😅 It was HORRIBLE. Nothing tastes worse than that, believe me. So I kinda realized that whatever it was that I ever liked about meat, it surely wasn’t its taste. 🤢
Meanwhile we started another beautiful journey called rescue. And it felt more and more weird to save one, then eat another later that day. I couldn’t see a big difference between dogs, cats, pigs and others anymore.
I started to feel guilty about eating meat, I became even MORE pickier, and after a while I went back to my dietetician and told her I would like to reconsider my diet, because as much as I liked food, I simply started to hate it. I only ate because I had to, in order to survive, and I missed the pleasure part of it. I remember how I told her that I just can’t eat another piece of boiled meat, because it isn’t healing me as it should, it’s killing me instead. This was exactly how I felt about it.
She told me the best news ever, that we can, in fact, completely eliminate meat from my diet, and it would even be a lot more healthier for me. She was just afraid that I would never be ready to do so, as she knew how much I loved to eat and how “diverse” my diet was before. I was kinda pissed. And I still am. I think doctors should always tell you all your options insted of making assumptions and decide in your place. But I also felt soooo relived. I would like to say I never ate meat ever since. But it would be a lie. It took me another 6 months or so to go completely meat free.
But then, one day, I was finally ready to have a “kind” diet and lifestyle, how I like to call it. Told you I had to invent a term. 🤭
But what does this mean?
It means that I am trying. Trying to be better each day. To do less harm each day. To live and let live. To be kind to all living beings arond me and trying not to harm them in any way. Not to eat them, not to hurt them, not to kill them. But it also means being kind to myself. Accepting the mistakes I made, the decisions I make. Accepting that I am far from veganism, far from a completely sustainable lifestyle. Far from all things I would like to achieve one day. And that also means that I am honest with myself, I realize that this transition is a long process, which is still not over. In which I constantly have to inform myself. To learn about thigs I maybe tought are ok to consume or do, but it might turn out they’re not.
Like what, you ask? Like whatever doesn’t make sense to me anymore. Like marshmallow & co.
Marshmallows, yeah those cute little sweets floating on your hot chocolate you’ve posted on your Instagram feed recently, they contain gelatine which is very much an animal protein. Good news is, that there are vegan ones as well. You just have to look.
Parmezan, gorgonzola, roquefort and other cheeses contain animal rennet, therefore they’re NOT vegetarian. Rennet is an enzyme used to set cheese during the making process. If you try to be a vegetarian, be careful and always check the labels before buying cheese. There are quite a few which are faaar from being vegetarian.
3. Palm oil
Palm oil, although it’s 100% plant based and it’s officially considered as being vegan. It’s not really. Vegans argue that extraction of palm oil exploits animals and causes them pain, suffering and death, something they try to avoid, therefore let’s say the palm oil itself is veganish, but as a vegan you should not consume it anyway. Complicated, I know. 😅
4. Coconut oil
Oh, the monkey business! You surely heard about it already. Is it true? Is it not? Is it vegan, is it not? It is plant based, that’s for sure. So let’s just stick with that. But it’s s a product made from something picked by abused pigtailed macaques really vegan? For me, it’s not. But I’ll let you decide for yourself.
Although I still eat eggs occasionally, I try not to buy them from the supermarket. I only eat the eggs we got from Erno’s grandfather or I sometimes buy from the local farmers. And I would like to reduce the amount we consume even more. I used to think eggs aren’t a big deal. It’s just like drinking someone else’s menstruation. Totally gross, but not harmful in any way. Well guess what. Turnes out it actually is…
Sometimes we buy yoghurt, sour cream, or cheese (other than parmezan and others that contains rennet), but we also try to buy those from local farmers. I also never ever use milk, other than plant based. It might be more expensive, and it might taste different. But I just don’t care. Yet Erno still consumes it, and buys it quite often lately. He says that it tastes better in his coffee… So here’s something else we still have to work on, even if not so much time ago I was convinced that milk isn’t that bad either, as no one died for it. Uhm, sure…
Sweet tooth? I have some bad news for you then. Sugar isn’t vegan either. Some sugar is, so don’t worry you don’t have to eliminate it completely from your diet. But some sugar is not. White sugar gets its color from a refining process that often involves the use of bone char. Wow. Before I heard about this a few years ago I had NO idea. How absurd, to put bones in sugar. I wonder how one tought about this first. How did this happen? 😅
8. Vanilla Flavor
And speaking about absurdity, here’s this. Have you ever wondered what does “natural flavoring” mean on the labels of your vannila icecream? It means castoreum. Which is an exudate from the castor sacs of beavers. I first read about this in a National Geographic magazine years ago. And I almost forgot to add to this list, but luckily a friend sent me a tiktok about this the night when I was just finishing up this article. Like it was meant to be listed here.
So here I am. Obviously more than a vegetarian, trying to be a vegan, and trying even harder to be myself. Living the “kind” life I want to. I have a “kind” lifestyle, and a “kind” diet. And let’s just leave it at that. While on the other hand, people are vegetarians while eating parmezan, and vegans while eating marshmallows, and animal lovers while eating f*cking meat, and cruelty free while using coconut oil instead of handcream, and sustainable while ordering overpacked shit online. But in fact they’re nothing more then hypocrites.
Don’t get me wrong. I have absolutely no problem with anyone who eats whatever they want to eat (unless that’s meat🤣). As long as they don’t call themselves something they’re obviously not. Be honest with yourselves! It’s easy to be an uninformed vegan, but there’s no such thing. And it’s hard to face the mistakes you make on your way. Anyway, no matter how close you managed to get to that label you put on yourself, I appreciate that you’re trying. Trying is key. But don’t ever stop informing yourself. Read, ask, think, then think again. Always. This is the only way you can evolve.