I’ve been doubting whether to write about this or not for months, but I’ve decided to just go for it.
Disclaimer: this is not a post promoting veganism.. just sharing my personal experience and journey towards a plant based diet.
On March 2016, I stopped eating meat. I don’t remember how or when I decided to stop, but I just knew it was something I had to do.
Let’s go back a little bit.
To give you guys some context.. I’ve never been someone who LOVES meat. I’m from South America, where any excuse for an “asado” is always welcome, and I would gladly eat everything without really questioning anything. I’ve always loved asados, because of the social aspect of it, not so much because of the meat on the grill. Almost 6 years ago, I started dating my argentinean boyfriend, who is (or was :O) even more obsessed with meat than most of my Chilean family and friends. We’d cook a looot of meat. In 2015, I made my recipe book, in which I included lots of meat recipes (because it’s something we ate A LOT of during that time).
In the meantime, anytime I’d post a picture to instagram with any meat or seafood or chicken or whatever.. I’d get comments from people saying “you should go vegan”, “you should switch to a plant based diet, you’re gonna love it” etc.
I would get really upset at these sort of comments. I wasn’t really informed at the time about why a vegan diet was better than the one I was eating, but I wasn’t about to quit eating meat just because some strangers on the internet pushed me to. I knew if I ever stopped eating meat, it’d be because I wanted to and not because of someone else’s ideas of what I should or shouldn’t eat.
Stranger’s opinions didn’t matter to me at the time, but my close relationships DID. I was incredibly inspired by my sister and my cousin.
I went to visit my cousin in Orlando in 2015, and for a week, we ate only vegetarian food (she’s been vegetarian for years now). I LOVED it. I loved trying new foods, with lots of colourful and tasty ingredients. I went to lots of vegetarian restaurants and was amazed by how little I missed meat during that week.
My little sister, at the age of 15, became vegan. I was (and still am) so incredibly amazed and proud of her for sticking to her values at such a young age. She became vegan after watching the documentary Cowspiracy (but more on that later).
I began to wonder, if they can do it, then surely so can I, right!?
Eventually, I started getting bored of meat. I realised meat was not something I was passionate about, it wasn’t a necessary part of my diet. I wanted to try and see if I could live without it. That was IT. That was my reasoning.
So in March 2016, I stopped eating meat. My boyfriend was NOT happy about it, and tried to convince me to change my mind. But I saw this as a challenge and I wanted to prove to myself I was strong enough to do this. I stopped eating meat and chicken but continued to eat seafood (I wasn’t ready to stop eating salmon and CEVICHE just yet). I’ll admit, I had a few slip ups. When we went to Peru in May, I had some meat, which led to me being all FUCK IT YOLO for a week and proceeded to eat burgers and try alpaca. No regrets though, it had to be done for me to realise this was something I wanted to continue doing.
So I kept going. I didn’t miss chicken or beef at ALL.. but I knew that at some point i’d have to stop eating fish. People would ask me “are you vegetarian?” and i’d be like “well.. kinda.. i don’t eat meat but I still eat fish so I’m a pescatarian” to which people would roll their eyes and say “I can’t keep up with all the different diets that exist these days”. YEAH, I KNOW. It’s annoying and i’m sorry haha
My boyfriend was one of the people who got most annoyed at my “pescatarianism” (is that even a word?). For those of you who might wonder what it was like to start being vegetarian while living with a meat loving guy.. It wasn’t easy. I’ve never tried to force him to become vegetarian, he’s actually far from it. But during my first months of being “pescatarian”, he questioned my decision to stop eating meat. He tried to convince me to switch back. During the first months, he whined about it almost everyday: “la puta madre se me olvidó que ya no comes carne negraaaa! porque me haces estoo!?!?!?” haha which basically means “i forgot you don’t eat meat anymore natiii whyyy do you do this to me?!?” to which i’d roll my eyes and remind him it’s not about HIM and what’s convenient for him. It was my decision and he had to either deal with it or prepare for a slap on the face real soon 🙂 So eventually he started dealing with it and trying veggie burgers and different veggie options. He was very pleasantly surprised at how good the veggie options were and he started buying more of those for both of us to enjoy.
Then, a few months ago, my boyfriend and I watched Cowspiracy and it changed everything. Pablo was VERY resistant to watching this movie, he knew there would be some information in it that would force him to open his eyes and stop eating meat, and he was not happy about that. But I had been dying to watch it for a while, and I hate watching documentaries by myself (I love to be educated in good company mkaayy?) so I forced him to watch it with me #sorrynotsorry. When the movie was over, he sighed and said “well.. fuck”. We both laughed nervously because it was a VERY impacting documentary. We had just become a lot more educated on a topic which both of us had been trying to avoid, and now that the information was in our brains, there was no point in denying or pretending. When the movie was over, I immediately called my sister and started crying. I finally understood her decision to become vegan so many months ago. I regret not watching this documentary sooner, so if you haven’t watched it already, I highly recommend you add it to your MUST SEE list.
After watching Cowspiracy, my boyfriend stopped eating meat. Well, not completely (he still eats chicken every now and then), but he’s cut down his meat consumption by 80%, which is CRAZY. We’re talking about a guy who ate meat at basically every meal (damn Argentina, they’re seriously obsessed with all things meat). He’s so much more open to trying vegetarian and vegan foods lately, and I love it.
As for me, I knew I needed to make a change. I couldn’t keep eating fish and pretending like it was fine. Ideally, I would have transitioned to a vegan diet on that same day, but I knew it wasn’t that easy. I needed to make the change slowly, in order to make it a sustainable change. So I decided to slowly eat less and less fish. I would still eat it every now and then, saying “ahh i’ll stop soon, it’s fine” but a few weeks ago I decided to stop pushing it and stop eating it completely.
I’m not saying it’s easy, but also.. it’s not THAT hard. At least, it not for me. Living in Sydney has given me the opportunity to try so many new foods, and there’s always vegan and vegetarian options in every place I’ve been to, so that’s always nice.
Do I miss fish? Yeah. Can I live without it? Fuck yes!
When I became vegetarian, I didn’t post about it on instagram. I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it because a.) I was doing it for myself and no one else and b.) I didn’t want to say I’d do something and then fail publicly. It felt great to do this, on my own, without any pressure from anyone.
Now, I’ve been thinking of making the transition to a fully plant based diet. I didn’t want to share this, again, because of my fears of failing. But if I’ve learned anything from these past months, it’s that two steps forward one step back is still forward progress. Even if I eat eggs every now and then, every time I make the decision to NOT eat eggs, i’m making progress.
But i’ve been trying to shift my thinking:
Instead of looking around and seeing all the things I can’t eat.. I think of all the foods I’ve discovered & all the fun and creative ways there is to play with ingredients in order to make the yummiest, healthy and plant based recipes I can.
I’m not ready to declare myself a vegan and put it on my instagram bio like it’s what defines me. I’m not going to start trying to convince everyone I know that veganism is the way to go and start judging people for their food choices. I just know that this is the right step FOR ME, so i’m going to start SLOWLY transitioning to a plant based diet.
Soooo wish me luck! Also, any recommendations on good vegan restaurants & meals are always welcome! 🙂
PS. Feel free to check out my blog post on the Documentaries that have impacted my food decisions.