a brief history
10 years ago:
i was invited to a japanese restaurant in nashville and, as a 13 year-old, i was still a very picky eater. soup came with my chicken teriyaki and i remember staring at the seaweed and the odd-looking white chunks floating in the bowl. i bravely decided to try it so as not to offend my hosts. i remember choking down what i found out was called tofu. it was not good.
3 years ago:
i remember being in NYC on a subway and seeing my first PETA advertisement. i can’t recall whether or not it was a chicken or a cow, but i do know it was disgusting and made me think twice for the first time in my life about the meat industry. the image, though much fuzzier in my mind, is not something i have completely forgotten.
1 year ago:
the first team meeting i had upon arriving in vancouver, i remember kyle and kristin taking me to cafe deux soleil (for you non-french speakers, it is pronounced like do-so-lay). i was told it was a vegetarian cafe and i remember thinking to myself, what on earth would i eat there and would it even taste good? i actually loved their food and was very impressed with vegetarian cuisine because of them.
i then ate at another vegetarian cafe in the kitsilano area a few weeks later with a friend and realized all the main dishes came with tofu. i hadn’t had it since that memorable evening 10 years ago but thought maybe now i could handle it. i love, love thai food but, again, i absolutely hated the tofu and basically pushed the food around on my plate for an hour. i left 13 bucks poorer and still hungry.
as i lived in vancouver i encountered more people who had given up meat/dairy foods. some for ethical reasons, others for health reasons. i even tried a veggie burger and liked it. but, i still never really felt compelled to stop ordering chicken fajitas or make turkey spaghetti.
then i moved home to nashville and encountered a few more vegetarians (one being my hair stylist). another friend made me a pizza with tempeh (fermented soy protein)and i really liked it. my curiousity was officially peaked. i am a pretty stubborn person and enjoy the occasional challenge (giving up sugar for lent while working at starbucks was a big one, i’d say) so i thought i’d give it a try.
as of today, i haven’t had any meat in 6 weeks (i’ve had sushi twice if we are going to be honest). i have really enjoyed researching the pros and cons to a vegetarian diet. its caused me to really think about the consequences of everything i consume. it doesn’t just affect me. animals are affected. the environment is affected.
many people don’t understand vegetarianism and i hope to be someone who can articulate the benefits of it as i continue to learn. i don’t look down upon my friends, or anyone for that matter, who eat meat. i only ask that people think about the consequences of their actions, including the food they consume. i saw a bumper sticker today that read “live simply so that others may simply live.” i’d like to think that Jesus lived this way. does this mean that i think Jesus was a vegetarian? not necessarily. i do think that, in a culture bent on consumption and excess, there are small things we can do to live a healthier, simpler lifestyle. for me, this now includes vegetarianism.
one of my friends (who is also a vegetarian) asked me last night if i missed anything. i honestly don’t. in fact, i am considering what else i could give up to be even more committed to this lifestyle. if anyone has any questions please feel free to ask and i will do my best to respond, but remember i am still learning. 🙂 i will probably post a few more focused entries relating to this in the near future.
number of pure vegetarian restaurants in seattle: 20+
number of pure vegetarian restaurants in nashville: 1
do i really need any more reasons to love the northwest?