Once upon a time, long, long ago, I was a vegetarian. This wasn’t some fly by night thing either, I was vegetarian for a whole 8 years. I had never given much thought to why I became vegetarian or why I stopped, but when Goodlife got in touch about their range of vegetarian foods (selection pictured above), it got me to thinking about whether it was something I would ever consider doing again.
I never found being vegetarian especially difficult. Apart from one drunken night at university, where I apparently stuffed my face with a burger van quarter pounder with cheese, I was rarely tempted to eat meat. I say apparently because, well, vodka.
For many years, I was perfectly happy with my diet of toast, cheese and tomato pasta. In fact, these three foods made up the majority of my diet for the best part of a decade. It wasn’t until I met Chris and we went on holiday together, that I became curious about eating meat again. There’s something very social about eating and I began to find that being particular about what I could and could not eat sometimes got in the way.
Chris used to think that a meal wasn’t a meal without meat, and probably still does to some extent. This meant that sharing food was off the menu (see what I did there) and I had lost touch with why I became vegetarian in the first place. If I’m honest, I think I had stuck to it for so many years because my parents, or more specifically, my Dad, thought I could never stick to it. I’m nothing, if not stubborn when it comes to making a point.
Ultimately, I think this is the reason why being vegetarian isn’t something I decided to carry on through my adulthood. To be truly committed to a way of life, I believe you must have strong convictions around the choices you make and for me, they simply weren’t there. That’s not to say that I don’t appreciate the benefits, of which there are many, to committing to a vegetarian way of life. Not least to mention the benefits to our environment and how eating a plant based diet could reduce the risk of chronic illnesses. It’s just that for me, I value the ease and variety of eating a wider diet more.
Today, I would say that being vegetarian for so long has impacted the food choices I make now. I could quite happily eat a predominately vegetarian diet. When it comes to meat, I can take it or leave it. I very much like fish, but equally I am happy to eat a meal without meat too. I’ll be honest though, the truth cannot be said of the rest of my family. In particular, Charlie and Chris would be pretty devastated to see weeks or months of meatless meals. I’m sure if they were to sacrifice one food group from their plates, it would always be the veggies.
So would I become vegetarian again? The answer to that would be no. For me, it would be awkward to cook more variations on the meals I already cook. I enjoy being able to choose from an entire restaurant menu and when I have a hangover, only a big mac will do.
Would I consider cooking more meat free meals? Absolutely. I may be on my own with this one, but I find eating too much meat can make me feel sluggish and like my digestion is on the go slow. Whereas, eating lots of fresh fruit and veg makes me feel good. In fact, not only does it make me feel good, I can see the benefits in my face too. I look more refreshed when I’ve been fastidious about my five a day, and frankly, I’ll take all the help I can take on that front.
Maybe the answer for us would be to aim for more meat free days. Will you help me convince Chris that this is the way to go?
If you are keen to try out more meat free days in your home too, then you might like to try out Goodlife’s range of vegetarian foods. I have tried out their French Bean Sausages (not at all like sausages, but tasty, packing a fresh taste punch), as well as their falafel (perfect for adding to wraps and pita breads, with salad and fresh mint yoghurt dip), and their Mushroom & Spinach Kiev (my absolute fav, packed full of cheesy mushroomy yumminess).
*Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.