I have been a vegetarian for a little less than 1.5 years, mostly for ethical reasons, and because I do not like the way animals are treated and how meat has become a commodity in this world we live in.
However good my intentions, lately I have found it really hard to relinquish meat and fish. It is not so much the taste that I have missed, but rather the freedom of choice. In restaurants, vegetarian options are often limited. Furthermore, some of my favourite dishes can not be prepared with tofu or other meat-alternatives. Mostly I felt annoyed in situations when I was in the mood for a certain kind of food and knew that there was no vegetarian alternative that made me happy. I hated not having the choice, and that it was me who forbade myself the choice.
Here I was, annoyed with me, and irritated with my lifestyle. Giving up being a vegetarian felt like a failure, yet this way of eating has started to feel like a cage I put myself in that did not exactly make me happy!😕 I started considering other ways of living an ethically correct life that was kind of regulated but gave me more room, yet nothing really felt right. I know of students that are vegetarians and permit themselves so-called “cheat days“ on which they eat what they like, however, it seemed odd to me. I also know that there are people that are weekday vegetarians; since my boyfriend is a vegetarian and has been for more than 10 years, and we love cooking together especially at the weekends, this is not an option.
Some weeks ago a good friend of mine listened to me and this conflict I am currently in and suggested that I not be so hard on myself. It sounded simple.😉
So here is my solution. I live the vegetarian lifestyle when I am at home and live my everyday life in Austria. Thus we can cook home-made vegetarian meals together, and when we eat in restaurants we can share our dishes and steal from each other’s plates as usual.
However, when I am on holiday, I eat what I like and feel like eating. I hope this takes away the pressure to always live up to my own ideals and helps me see how much I already do, by being an everyday vegetarian.
Last weekend we went for a hiking trip and I immediately put my solution into practice. On our first eve out, I had soup with dumplings made of cow’s liver, and a veggie dish as a main course. I did not feel bad, I just enjoyed my dinner. Interestingly, on our second evening eating out, I did not even consider a non-vegetarian option, because I loved the vegetarian pasta dish on the menu right away.
I like not being hard on myself. Feels like me, and right to me.