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My Experience of Being a Vegetarian

My name is George King and I have been a vegetarian for 4 years.

My name is George King and I have been a vegetarian for 4 years. As part of acknowledging the impact that this has had on my life, I wanted to share my story with you; from my first steps to becoming vegetarian to the environmental impact of my decision.

How did we get here?

I have always cared about animal welfare, but had never truly considered how this could extend to my dietary habits. As part of a New Year’s Resolution, I decided to become a vegetarian for the month of January 2018, to see if there would be any health benefits for me and to see if I could maintain the change through the month.

The first few days were quite hard. As I had never tried vegetarianism before, it was a new experience for me to be checking ingredients and working out what was suitable. However, as the month went on, this activity became second nature, and I found that I was paying more attention to what was in the food I ate. By the end of the month, I was no longer missing meat, and I haven’t looked back since.

Health benefits

Personally, I have found that becoming vegetarian has provided a number of health benefits. As a result of eating less fast food and paying more attention to the contents of my meals, I found that both my physical and mental health improved.

It’s not all pasta with tomato sauce…

When I first became vegetarian, there weren’t a lot of options available. Tofu had never really appealed to me and lunch options were usually restricted to pasta or a falafel wrap – okay for the first few weeks but a little repetitive as the months went on. However, in the four years since, there have been huge developments in the options available.

Most mainstream supermarkets have now developed their own plant-based vegetarian and vegan brands, alongside improvements in restaurants and fast food providers. Wagamamas, for example, recently launched a 50% plant-based menu, as part of their plans to decrease meat consumption at their restaurants.

Home cooking, also, has developed in the last four years. From plant-based products to new methods of using seasonal vegetables, it has never been easier to have varied and healthy vegetarian or vegan meals cooking solely from home. One set of cookbooks in particular that I have made use of since becoming vegetarian is BOSH! – which provides a huge range of different recipes all prepared to vegan recipes. You can find out more about the BOSH! cookbooks here.

Environmental Impact

In addition to the personal health benefits I have found since becoming vegetarian, I have also become more conscious of my impact on the environment. Studies by environmental scientists have found that meat production is a leading cause of climate change, water depletion, soil erosion and most other environmental problems, so even small changes could have a huge impact on the environment.

I was recently made aware of platforms such as Vegetarian Calculator, which quantify the impact of vegetarianism; the platform estimates that during the last four years, I would have eaten more than 800 animals and added 2919 kilograms of CO2 emissions through my diet. It was really interesting to look at this data and understand my personal impact on the environment – if you would like to find out more about the platform and see how much even one month of vegetarianism could benefit the environment, you can find this here.

Summary

Given the environmental impact of vegetarianism and the recent surge in products available, now is the perfect time to give vegetarianism a go. It’s not always possible for people to make a change like this to their lifestyle, especially if they have health issues. However, even a small change can make a difference – perhaps having a vegetarian day once a week would be a good place to start, and if you find yourself enjoying the change to your lifestyle and the benefits it can bring, try increasing it.

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