|Yin and Yang, miniature food sculpture, Stéphanie Kilgast|
Two months ago, I talked about the impact meat has on the environment. That’s not a new topic to me and something I’ve been thinking about for a long time.
For us, the journey toward a more conscious food diet began about 2 years ago.
One fine day, the reality hit me in the heart and not just the rational mind and I decided three things : to buy primarily local food (preferably organic), to stop industrial meat and to reduce our meat intake.
You must know, we used to eat meat daily, for lunch and dinner. (oops)
Both of us have grown with the illusion that every meal should consist of animal protein (meat, fish or egg), vegetables and grains. So this is how I’ve been cooking since I left my mother at the age of 18. I would always have some kind of meat along vegetables and grains in my plate. It seemed balanced. I was healthy, taking care of getting all the needed nutrients, rarely sick, I was good.
So when changing our food habits, cooking without meat was a bit challenging, I spend hours on pinterest and the web to find vegetarian meals, learned to simply replace the meat with some sort of beans and acquired new found cooking and baking skills.
I’m not going to lie, it was exhilarating.
I have always loved cooking and I was discovering this huge world of vegetable cooking. My cuisine gained in level and tastiness.
I discovered veggie burgers and was sold. Veggie balls got me wondering how I’ve ever lived without them.
We still ate meat, but it wasn’t much, and I had to order it every week before a certain day, (because it was especially prepared for me) resulting in logical memory lapse.
The once a week became once every two weeks, became once per month.
Now, if you ever went without meat for about a month and go back to meat, you might understand following. Meat is hard to digest. So when you don’t eat it and after a couple weeks eat some, your stomach is uneasy. And it felt so silly… So one fine day I turned to JY and told him : “what about we just stop buying meat?”
He agreed and life went on.
But somehow something changed.
And I’m not entirely sure how it happened, but at some point I was watching vegan videos on youtube and there my doubts started to creep up and my ideals to become harder to manage.
More and more I was thinking I should stop it all and go vegan, or at least drop meat, fish and all animal products, especially dairy, which seemed to be the worse. (Forcing cows to have calves so we could drink their milk? That was too hard to bear.)
So I reduced, implemented more and more vegan meals in our diet.
And still I would watch those vegan youtube videos.
And I started to hate myself for still eating cheese, butter, pizza and croissants.
I felt like a hypocrite.
Knowing what would be best for the world and being too egoistical to actually make all the changes.
I started having trouble to sleep because my consciousness would not shut up.
This happened not so long ago, because this is what prompted me to write “The Impact of Meat“.
And once it was written I felt better.
I had done more than just changing myself, I had shown the example and maybe (hopefully) others would eat less meat, making it a collective effort.
But I also got harder on myself, more vegan videos, more guilt building in myself … up until a few weeks ago where I said, I need to stop dairy products.
And I tried.
And I failed.
And I felt miserable.
Luckily I have rational people around me. People who aren’t as emotional as I get.
They know the impact our food choices have on the world. They know vegan is the best option.
Yet they still eat cheese, some even meat.
Because it makes them happy. Because they feel balanced like this.
And that’s OK.
It is ok to enjoy life and not deprive yourself of everything for ideals.
Because if you feel it as deprivation, you won’t be able to keep your diet in the long run.
Because it is your life and you will not save the world on your own.
To quote a very dear friend of mine :
you do what you can and what makes you feel good.
For some, it might be to eat meat 3 times per week, for some it is going vegan. For some it will be to eat chicken, but stop dairy. Some will have 2 vegan days per week.
To each its own.
The key is to question your habits, to reevaluate them and to change them accordingly.
But do not forget yourself.
Or you might have sleepless nights.
And that’s just not fun.