Hot dogs, mac and cheese, pb&j sandwiches and a total avoidance of the colour green on my plate. Those were my staples growing up. I was a picky kid to say the least. My parents would demand I not leave the dinner table until my veggies were gone. Luckily for me, I’ve never been short on stubborn flare and yes, I was THAT child; the one wrapping broccoli in paper towel and feeding the dog one pea at a time.
Fast forward almost a decade and I found a new cause for stubborn antics. It happened unceremoniously. On a trip home from my summer job before my first year of university. I sat at the dinner table with my family, a juicy steak fresh off the barbecue on the plate before me. Unenthusiastically, for no obvious reason, I cut a piece and put it in my mouth. Chewing slowly, something just clicked. I gently placed my knife back on the place mat and realized I wasn’t going to finish that steak.
For years I avoided meat. People would constantly ask me why, as though this choice were an insult to our evolution. I never understood the point in pressing for a reason…maybe it was the simplest conversation starter, or perhaps we just inherently seek cause or reason for choices – we seek validity through those around us. I stopped eating meat because I just did. I can list tons of reasons to back up why if I wanted. All I’d really have to do it point you in the direction of the shocking documentary, Earthlings, and it would all become a mute point. Sure, I disagreed with most farming techniques we use for our meat, and I feared what I was putting into my body due to my knowledge of the steroids and questionable diets my food had been raised on, and of course I love animals. I’d known all the facts before I put down that knife, but I hadn’t considered them in relation to my own eating habits. I became a vegetarian because I looked at the meat before me, and just didn’t want to eat it.
When I looked again years later, and I did want to, I did. There weren’t hoops to jump through or personal battles waged. I’m conscious about what I put into my body and like to consider most food choices I make to be, for the most part, smart. That said, I don’t turn my nose up to desserts all the time and I enjoy my cheat days to their fullest. One of the best lessons to learn in life is to enjoy yourself. To be true to who you are and follow the path that makes you happiest. You can let yourself explore all options and never feel criticized, judged or questioned. Never forget that you’re living for you.
Cheers to a year of keeping track.