I came out.
I came out to my parents.
I’m eating meat again.
It was August 12, 2016 that marked the beginning of my vegetarianism and it was April 19, 2019 that I decided it had ended. I never gave up meat for strictly ethical reasons, although, yes, I do think factory farming practices are not okay and I do not condone them. My main “why” I have stood by all this time has been simple: I wanted to challenge myself. In recent months, I began to challenge my challenge. Why did I need to challenge myself? How long did I need to challenge myself? What was I proving?
Honestly, I learned that I can do what I set my mind to. It was no simple feat to change my diet all of a sudden. It was no simple feat to learn to travel and plan my meals. It was no simple feat to learn all the spots in town with the best vegetarian food. It was no simple feat learning to cook the majority of my food, when I had very little kitchen skills to start with. I gained a lot from this experience. On this side of my vegetarianism, I eat a wider variety of foods. I eat generally healthier, also. I prefer meatless meals. What I have done now is simply lifted the restriction. If I decide I want a spicy chicken sandwich at Chick fil A when I’m on the go, I give myself permission to eat the sandwich. I just had my first in years and it was the sweetest thing. I felt so happy.
What inspired me to incorporate meat back in?
I would be lying if I said that the people I have been inspired by lately (looking at you, Jill Winger & Lisa Bass) have not impacted my goals as far as what I’d like to learn to cook. I have cookbooks now and I want to try recipes. I want to face my fears.
How have I felt?
I have felt nervous and scared. My smallest concern has been the opinions of others. Granted, I’ve been off social media so far this year, and don’t have to worry about that. By the time I get back on social media, people probably won’t remember anything particular about my diet. I am unsure of where my apprehension is coming from, and I am looking closer at it, but honestly, it’s just a big change for me. I am continuing to face the fear and discomfort head-on.
Have I cooked meat yet?
Yes. Yes, I have. It was surreal. The day I “came out” to my mom, I went to Aldi and bought a pack of ground beef, a bag of frozen shrimp, and a whole organic chicken. Cooking a whole chicken was truly strange. I had never learned rules about food safety for cooking poultry, so I had to learn as I went. I washed a chicken. I held a chicken, which was super uncomfortable! I took out the giblets pack. Then, much to my liking, I stuck it in the Instant Pot with seasonings and cooked it out of sight and out of mind. I pressure cooked it, opened it up, cut into an undercooked bird, pressured cooked some more, and then finally took it out. I put away pieces of shredded chicken, saved the bones for broth (seriously) and threw the rest away. As for the beef and shrimp, I still have yet to venture into that territory. I’m truthfully not craving them quite yet. We shall see.
This is a good thing for me.
I feel like I’m breaking a disordered eating pattern. I also think it’ll be really nice to not have to supplement what I can get in meat. I can eat wherever I want. I can be more open to social gatherings. I don’t need to have stress around food and I look forward to how I’ll feel months down the road after not worrying about it constantly.