I've been a vegetarian twenty-two years. My oldest sister, Lisa started the trend in my family, and after some encouragement I soon followed suit. My first year was hard, and I remember sneaking turkey after everyone had gone to bed my first Thanksgiving. Through the years even the smell of meat has made me feel nauseous. When I was twenty-one, I was diagnosed with diabetes and promptly did nothing about it. I ate tons of carbohydrates and have a soft belly as a poor result. As the years have passed I've been getting more health conscious and on a recent visit with my doctor, I was encouraged to move away from vegetarianism and more towards food that won't spike my blood-sugar level. In essence, I should eat meat with a side of meat and toss in some veggies and only a tiny bit of fruit. I pulled out what I thought was my secret weapon TOFU. With a defiant toss of his hand, my doctor schooled me on the pitfalls of a soybean rich diet, especially for a diabetic. Tofu blocks absorption of vital nutrients and minerals, which then affects the kidneys and so on and so on.
The thought of going back to eating meat makes my stomach churn, but my new motto is, "I'd rather keep my feet than choose wrong food to eat." Choosing to ignore my health has caused an acceleration in deterioration of my sight and overall well being. I have too much to do, give and experience to let myself off the hook and slide into the abyss of apathy and illness.
I'm starting small by adding chicken broth to the vegetable stew I eat every night, and then I'll step up to meat prepared for children (like chicken/turkey cubes). It will be a slow process that will have me rethinking my philosophies and resculpting my identity.
I still feel that animals must be treated humanely, and I hope I can adequately honor their sacrifice, so I can live a healthier and longer life.