A Year Without Meat

Hang on, this isn’t a blog about vegetarianism or the evils of meat. Don’t go running away just yet, my friends.

Fifty-one weeks ago, I ate what is THE best turkey sandwich on the planet. You laugh. You roll your eyes. But I’m serious. It’s the best. And while it was delicious, yes, it was the end of eating meat for me for the next year.

Going vegetarian was something I had always wanted to try and do. I gave it a shot a few times over the years but always caved. Usually because I was too lazy to learn how to make food outside of my normal routine, or I felt pressure in social situations.

But this time… I did it. I took the time to push myself out of my comfort zone to adapt and grow. I learned how to deal with challenges like reinventing recipes or learning new ones. I made myself handle social situations and hold my ground, even when I felt pressure to just conform. This past year has made me stronger, calmer and more confident.

Just by giving up meat?

Yep. What I’ve experienced in the past 360 meatless days applies to so many other parts of my life.

In a career, in workouts, in relationships, in… anything. Strengthening your discipline and fulfilling a goal you set for yourself is incredibly rewarding. For me, it was a practice in breaking patterns and routine in order to grow as a person. It was about being confident in the minority. It was about sticking with something I really wanted to accomplish.

Sure, animal rights is a part of this, too. The more I’ve learned about how meat is manufactured (and “conventional” meat IS manufactured) the more it bothered me and motivated me to take on this challenge. I’ve thought a lot about where I stand in regards to meat consumption over the past year and have come to the decision that I may eat meat again, on a very small scale and if I know where it came from (see also: local, organic, free range, etc.) Then again, I may not. I no longer feel obligated to eat meat just because everyone around me is. In five days, I will have reached the goal I set for myself and will again adjust my practices in order to fit my life, as I need to.