Mum And Dad Thought It Was Just A Phase

Vegetables and fruits background.I am a vegetarian. You may have noticed that I have mentioned that occasionally in other posts. I am not a vegan. I do not eat meat or fish, however I do eat animal products such as honey, dairy products and eggs. I have some friends who are vegan and I think some of them disapprove of me eating some animal products. But I have never had strong feelings about being vegetarian, I just lost the desire to eat anything that used to be alive and is now dead.

I stopped eating meat at the age of six. I can’t remember exactly why. I think there were were two major influences. The first was my little best friend at school who became a vegetarian. It was something I had never heard of, she introduced the idea to me. But there was also a school trip to a farm, Tatton Farm in Cheshire. I distinctly remember being horrified when I saw a pig. I had been reading story books with tiny little pink pigs. But seeing a enormous hairy pig was terrifying. I went home and told mum I no longer wanted to eat what had previously been my favourite food, sandwich ham. Not long after that I lost the desire to eat any meat or fish.

Mum and Dad thought it was just a phase. But the phase has lasted a very long time. I remember my parents wondered what I would eat instead of meat and fish. They bought vast quantities of frozen veggie burgers from the supermarket. I couldn’t stand them! Being a vegetarian at school was hard because there was not often a vegetarian choice. I remember dinner ladies being very angry with me that I was eating only boiled rice because I did not want the chicken supreme or the mincemeat chilli. My diet at home for many years growing up was cheese on toast, beans on toast, cheesy pasta, tomato pasta – then I found pesto sauce and was so grateful for the variety.

I was desperate for variety in my diet. When I was a teenager, I asked my parents if I could start doing some of my own shopping and cooking. I started making things like vegetable curries (with a jar of curry sauce from the supermarket), vegetarian lasagnes, and using soya mince to make shepherd’s pie and spaghetti bolognese.

I don’t have a problem with other people eating meat. I just don’t have any desire myself. I cook meat for other people, family, friends and while I was working as a cook I cooked meat for clients of course. I don’t mind cooking pieces of meat that I can’t really identify. But if I have to cook a bird, I find it really hard, because I can see where it’s head and feet where. It makes me feel really sick. When I was six years old I had no idea what gelatin was, or rennet or the ingredients that might be hidden in soups and stocks and gravy. So for years I ate all of those in ignorance. Many years later I learnt about them and realized I had been eating them. It did not really upset me.

I have done pretty well on a vegetarian diet. I remember at school the teachers saying that vegetarians are weaker or they don’t develop properly, or become sick more often. I don’t know if that was the general opinion back then. But I was a competitive swimmer with a lot of strength and stamina. I was on all the school sports teams. I did not seem to be lacking in strength. In more recent years I have been more conscious of making sure I eat more vegetarian sources of protein and a huge variety of vegetables. I love my veggies, I always have.

The only difficulty I have had is that I seem to have become sensitive to dairy. For that reason I have been eating a mostly vegan diet for some years. I am not sure, but I wonder if I ate too much dairy for many years. I cut it out completely for around five years, during which time I did not have a single cold. Before then I seemed to be chronically congested and snuffly. Since then I have been able to introduce a little dairy into my diet. I don’t drink milk or eat ice-cream, yoghurt or cream But I will have a little cheese every now and then (I love cheese!) and I seem to get away with it if I have a little. I know if I overdo it because I suffer!

So that is me. I am a vegetarian, not for religious reasons, not for ethical reasons, not for health reasons. I know some people do have some very strong feelings about being vegetarian or vegan, and I respect that. But in my case, I just lost the desire to eat meat and fish when I was six years old and thirty years later, I still have no desire.

So when I do mention I am vegetarian, I am not preaching, I am not promoting a vegetarian diet as superior to others, it’s just a small detail in a personal account I might relate.  I don’t mind what you eat.

 

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17 thoughts on “Mum And Dad Thought It Was Just A Phase

    1. It’s always been a funny subject for me because I am not a vegetarian for any kind of ethical, religious or health reason. I don;t have strong feelings about it. I am perfectly fine with anyone else eating meat. I just have not had the desire myself since I was six years old…
      …and yet, it has made some of my friends angry! I have been so embarrassed at dinners when someone started trying to shame me or cause an argument. I have never understood that.
      I don’t mind what other people eat, I am not sure why what I do or do not eat would cause people to be cross with me.

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  1. I totally get it. I’ve gone back and forth myself and am currently eating meat, though not a lot. I found I could not get enough protein from eggs, beans, etc. because it nauseated me to eat those things often. But I can have 2 oz of chicken and feel totally satisfied. It distresses me to think about how our food animals are treated though, and this is what pulls me away from meat. I eat only a small amount of cooked fish for environmental reasons as well. Used to have occasional sushi, but it disgusts me with the stories of parasites ~ I came to it late because of those fears, which I was told were unfounded, but they’re not. Like you, I have to limit my cheese etc. or I get tummy troubles.

    I try to avoid people who are nasty about food, in any direction, whether they are preachy about veganism or vegan haters. Two sides of the same coin imo. I saw them all over Facebook. I knew people who specifically directed the most obnoxious anti-vegan messages at me when they thought I was vegan ~ I never was, but my daughter was for a few years.

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  2. I left school and got a clerical job at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. Part of my training involved a trip to a Government abbatoir. I can remember seeing huge racks of freshly slaughtered tongues lined up along one wall and the frightened faces of calves queuing up in a pen waiting for a bolt through the brain. I immediately stopped eating meat but I do occasionally crave some fish so I do eat it sometimes. Xx

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    1. Oh my goodness! I can imagine it would put you off! Ay ay ay!
      I had a good friend who worked at an abattoir. He used to joke about what they did to animals all the time, I am sure he was trying to tease me. But I ignored him. I have tried not to think about it in all honesty. If I did start reading and researching how animals are kept and slaughtered, I fear it would upset me. But I don’t think that the whole world turning vegetarian would bring world peace or an end to crime and abuse. So for me, I don’t want to make a big issue out of it, but happy my parents did not make me eat meat as a child. I am just glad that it is very easy to be vegetarian in this country. There is so much choice available.

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  3. I’m veggie too. 52 and have not eaten meat since I can remember. I am in great shape and and am sure my diet has helped, not hindered.
    I do remember those godawful early veggie burgers, feel sick just thinking about them….

    Be yourself and be proud of it.

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    1. I stated watching rugby and drinking Guinness to impress the boys I had a crush on when I was university age! (I skipped uni so I could do more as a volunteer)

      So i am guessing like me, you are not a vegetarian that preaches or marches with a placard and a scary mask down Oxford Street about vegetarianism being a must for world peace???

      Liked by 1 person

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