Al Anany

I became vegetarian after 27 years, here’s why.

Vegetarian

I was the type of person who would order a medium-rare steak, the opposite of a vegetarian. Here’s why it was all in my head.

A brand new human being resembles clay. You can shape it however you’d like. If you teach this person that women are not equal to men, then that’s how they’ll be shaped. If you teach this person to please God, then that’s what that person will do.

Now here’s the thing, the more time that passes the stronger the clay, and the more difficult it is to re-shape it.

Take an atheist from birth and try to convince him that God exists. It is not impossible, but it’s not easy. Similarly, vice versa.

Let’s add another factor to the equation — Awareness. If a piece of clay is looking similar to all pieces surrounding it, then why would that piece of clay think that something is not right?

Here’s my story about vegetarianism.

I lived in a highly omnivorous family and society. If a meal is missing chicken, meat, or fish, then something is not right. If a few days pass without eating any of those categories, your placebo starts making you feel weak. You blame it on the “protein intake”.

I’m not here to discuss the science. You can do your own research. You’ll find a hundred articles telling you that the recommended protein intake is a myth. You’ll also find others stating the importance of meat in one’s diet.

Initially, on a side note, you have to be aware that I’m an animal lover. If you have a pet, you’d understand what that means. I have a cat, and that’s more than enough.

Anyway, on my 27th birthday, I’ve met a person in Switzerland. She told me that she is a vegetarian since birth. So that immediately interested me. I noticed she’s healthy and athletic. I became even more interested.

So I kept hanging out with her for a few weeks. During our dinners, I’d try to be considerate and attempt to eat a vegetarian meal with her. She took me to a place called Tibits in Zurich.

Photo by Tibits

This was the first major trigger to the end of my omnivorous life.

It’s not easy to re-shape your clay by suddenly deciding that your whole 27 years of living were wrong. It’s not easy to simply, stop… eating… meat.

Tibits knows that, thereby, they offered platters that are cooked with tofu and seitan that I, as a heavy eating omnivore, could almost not tell the difference between that and real meat.

Then my mind started working and put together the first note –

  • Food taste is the same for both vegetarians and meat-eaters.

My trip to Zurich ended, and I returned home. I was offered a good meal as I had a long day of travel. I was offered some rice with half a chicken (my usual).

For some mystical reason, I looked at the chicken and my mind put together the second note –

  • This chicken did not have to die.

Then to put it all together, my cat jumped on my bed, and my mind put a third and final note –

  • This chicken could’ve been my cat. (in some cultures)

Then I started drawing conclusions. This omnivorous lifestyle is unnecessary. I could very much live off as a vegetarian knowing that I’m not eating beings that convey emotions.

Again, I have been omnivorous for 27 years. So I’m not going to shift my life around. Here’s what I did:

I put myself into a three months testing period and then aimed to decide afterward whether this feels right, or whether I should rollback. (Without any placebo in place this time.)

Three months passed, here’s what happened.

  1. I’m pretty much the same in terms of strength.
  2. I feel a lot lighter most of the day.
  3. I’m feeling psychologically good about it.

So I maintained. I became a full-time vegetarian. It’s been 2 years and I have never felt any better. It’s hard to imagine myself getting back to eating meat now.

Now there’s an important aspect to keep in consideration while reading this article: 

Whether you’re a vegetarian or an omnivore, your diet will affect your psychology. There are non-healthy vegetarians and healthy meat-eaters. One good aspect of being a vegetarian is that it forces you to make your food various and to depend on foods rich in vitamins. Yet, that’s not explicit to vegetarians.

Finally, I’m sharing this as a personal experience. Your way of life is yours and only yours to judge and/or alter. What I am trying to convey is, my clay was pretty solid for 27 years. It was never in my imagination that this could alter after all this time, yet it did.

Why?

Because a human being is like a piece of clay, it can always change.

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