Experiment #2: Embracing a Meatless Existence

Why did I become a vegetarian? What a great question, and I have no doubt you'll roll your eyes and go "Really? That's not an actual reason..." at the answer. Ready?

I hope it's No Thai! 
Back in April, a series of events transpired where your innocent heroine would show up to some catered event or some kind of luncheon extremely hungry and prepared to eat a meal ordered for her by persona gratis. Innocent heroine (IH) would search for her sandwich/plate/whatever was free that day for the masses and find nothing with her name on the label. Stress levels immediately rising to a 9, she would frantically find the organizer and tearfully ask where her pre-ordered meal could possibly be. The organizer would graciously smile and say something along the lines of "No worries Innocent Heroine, I put yours off to the side. I ordered you the vegetarian, of course".

Innocent Heroine Has Earth Shattering Epiphany!
Now, we've all had this happen to us at some point. However, Innocent Heroine realized that this must be divine intervention/inspiration or something when this same situation occurred 3 times in a two week period. On the last occurrence, IH couldn't help but ask persona gratis why she thought IH was a vegetarian. Persona gratis shrugged her shoulders and said something like " I don't know, you seemed like a vegetarian to me." Perplexed, IH ran away into the forest and called upon her innermost recesses to question such a bizarre motif in her life... why was she being labelled as a vegetarian? She was clearly a meat eater, she ate chicken every day practically. She had tried being vegan before but failed due to iron deficiencies. Why now? Was it her alpaca sweaters from Chile or tea drawer at work? But as these thoughts swirled around her little mind like a flushing toilet, the answer became abundantly clear to her: Innocent Heroine should be vegetarian. 

However, this was to be a big change in IH's life. She first decided to go 'Optional Vegetarian' over the summer. This meant that when presented with the choice of meat or no meat, IH would choose no meat. It would have been a great approach, but in reality, this meant that over a 3 month period, IH chose no meat over meat maybe 4-5 times. This was not enough... so as of August, your beloved IH has been a full vegetarian. What does that mean? By my definition, it means that I don't eat meat (wow! who would have guessed?!), like chicken or beef. No, I'm sorry, IH doesn't care if gelatin comes from pig hooves... she's trying her best her, give her some space.
Vegetarian Super Powers!

Full disclosure: becoming vegetarian has been one of the easiest experiments I have ever done on myself and one of the happiest outcomes I've ever had with a self-experiment. Sure, I became vegetarian essentially because of peer pressure, but I am staying vegetarian because it is the right thing to do for me (and probably you too, but don't let peer pressure get you). The sustainability cause, the fact that non-animal based food has fewer toxins (http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/R-D/Veg-congress-day-one-The-fact-vegetarians-are-healthier-than-meat-eaters-is-one-of-the-most-consistent-findings-of-nutritional-epidemiology), and not killing animals which do feel pain and terror when they are slaughtered... I am so glad my body is letting me do this. I am happier and yes, it's an ego boost to know that I have lowered my net environment damage by simply ordering cheaper entrees (hopefully this offsets my carbon footprint a bit for flying so much...)
It's OK, I've always felt special.

What are some vegetarian roadblocks? Well, mostly my family (sorry family! Search your feelings, you know this to be true!) and sometimes my confused friends (your reason for becoming vegetarian is terrible, therefore you should not be vegetarian, therefore eat this meat sandwich). When IH came back from Los Alamos with dyed hair and a new vegetarian lifestyle, her good-natured family (GNF) lightly mocked her and made congenial bets of 'this lasting a few weeks'. When IH seemed hell-bent on her goal to stay vegetarian, GNF escalated the situation, preparing meals that entirely consisted of meat or trying to sneak chicken stock into foods that normally didn't have chicken stock in them (but why GNF, why?!). This plan of attack ultimately backfired because IH is a decently competent cook and would retreat to the kitchen to prepare a more delicious and aromatic meal than the GNF meal (Ha! Take that GNF!). We've since struck a mildly amicable balance where weirdo IH's bizarre eating habits are acknowledged now but still not understood.

I don't need your meat. I have power tools and a kitchen! HA!
I'm still working out the kinks now. Since I've been traveling so much, sometimes my diet descends into essentially eating pies and carrots (mmm...). Sure, it requires some flexibility and a willingness to stick to your guns (no GNF! No I don't miss steak!). As far as I know, I've stayed strong the 5 months I've been full vegetarian so far, except for the first day I went vegetarian and accidentally ordered a beef burrito (whoops. Solid start there IH). It was absolutely revulsive to eat that burrito (swallowing pride is literally hard), and since then, I don't crave meat and I don't miss it. There is this whole world of vegetarian food that I'm making my way through... come join me :) Maybe one day I will go back to eating meat or at least including fish, but right now, I see no need.

Final Verdict: Vegetarian (Innocent Heroine) Lo is here to Stay.

PS Thank you to my vegetarian support network! I have had a lot of encouragement along the way, and whether it's posting vegetarian recipes on Facebook or a "I'm proud of you", I have really appreciated it. Don't stop :)

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