I’ve been waiting to post about this for awhile, to make sure that it was really something I could stick with, but it’s been almost 6 months, and I don’t have any plans to stop, so I guess it’s probably safe to share.
One of the changes I made while we were gone on our trip was that I became fully vegetarian, and completely stopped eating any meat or seafood (not that I ate a lot of seafood before).
I’ve always been super picky and weirded out by meat, and that always made me feel hypocritical. Like, if you can’t bear to think about what it is without feeling sick, should you really be eating it? So I think it was really kind of inevitable, and it was just the right time.
Most people when I tell them I stopped eating meat when we were in Indonesia say “Oh I can’t blame you, I wouldn’t eat meat over there either”, but it really wasn’t that I thought it was so much worse than meat we have over here.
I was almost completely vegetarian by then, but I would still eat chicken once in awhile, until one day when we were sitting in a small home kitchen for lunch. D ordered chicken fried noodles, and a little boy from the family that owned the restaurant ran out to the backyard to bring in one of the chickens so they could kill it and cook it for us.
And that really freaked me out, but not for the reasons that you might think. I just felt like if I was that uncomfortable eating a chicken that I knew was chicken, and knew exactly how it was going to be killed and cooked, right in front of me, then why would I be OK with eating meat that I don’t know where it came from, and I have no idea (actually I do kind of have an idea, and that’s even worse) how it’s treated and prepared?
When we were in Australia, I was listening to the radio on our road trip, and a local cattle farmer was being interviewed, and she said that people always came up to her and asked her how she could stand raising animals from babies, and then slaughtering them and eating them? Like how could she eat something if she knew it’s name?
And her point was, how can you eat something if you don’t know it’s name or where it came from? Which kind of hit home for me.
So I stopped eating meat, and I honestly really don’t miss it, and I feel great. I actually tried vegetarianism almost two years ago, but when I stopped eating meat I just started eating chips and junk food (because technically that’s vegetarian right?) and I felt awful all the time.
I decided it must be because I wasn’t eating meat, so I went back to it. This time, I’m actually eating vegetables (what a novel idea), and trying to eat as many different ones every day as I can.
A few months after I stopped eating meat completely, we were in the Philippines, diving off the island of Coron, sitting in the boat waiting for our divemaster, when a small canoe-type boat pulled up next to us.
It was a boat from Palawan, bringing live pigs over to sell in the marketplace. There were about 6 of them, enormous full grown pigs, tied to stakes, and tied to each other, and kept that way for the entire 8 hour boat ride. It was very hot that day, and they had no shade.
The worst part was the sound they were making. I’m not even sure if pigs are biologically equipped to scream, but that’s what it was. They were screaming. It was horrible, I was almost in tears, but I asked D to take a picture so I could share it.
I’ve done enough research to know that compared to treatment animals in some slaughterhouses in America, that probably wasn’t even that bad.
So that’s where I’m at right now. I’m having fun experimenting with different recipes and trying new foods, and I’m almost feeling up to the daunting task of trying to make my own veggie burgers, but not quite.