• Paula Tiberius

I Want To Be A Vegetarian, But It’s So Hard!

Animals are wonderful creatures. Warm, fuzzy, loyal, innocent – and great on the barbeque! Whaaat?! This used to describe my attitude toward my carnivorous diet. I was an animal-loving meat-eating hypocrite! Lamenting the horrors of factory farming with a beef burrito in hand, I would search for free-range organic chicken to cook for guests, then obliviously scarf down restaurant mystery meat the next day. Finally there came a time when I couldn’t live with my half-assed habits any longer. And now that I’m reformed, I want to help others make the leap.

Even though the smell of bacon is deliriously intoxicating, many of us would gladly give up meat if we had personal chefs who would prepare delicious, satisfying vegetarian meals for us three times a day because convenience is king, and we are lazy.

Determined to change my habits and become a vegetarian, I recently challenged myself to wean off meat in 100 days, giving up one major animal at a time.

First to go were pigs with their self-concepts and humanlike traits. Next were cows with their long eyelashes and sweet dispositions. Last, and let’s face it, least, chickens and fish. While their brains are small and they’re hard to relate to on a ‘pet’ level, they deserve to live too.

Although as of this writing I’m still eating fish like a motherfucker, so I’m still a hypocrite. A hypocrite full of mercury. But I digress.

Our carnivorous culture is unsustainable and animal cruelty is barbaric, but that’s not why I’m getting on a soapbox. My method is for people who already know all the excellent reasons that exist to become a vegetarian, but just can’t seem to actually do it. There are no judgments here. Because I’ve been a carnivore most of my life, I know that it is simply very, very difficult to stop eating meat. Whether it’s the peer pressure of a late-night group pepperoni pizza or the irresistible aroma of breakfast sausage at a favorite brunch spot, animal products are available and encouraged everywhere we go – at restaurants, events, through advertising – it seems impossible to avoid eating meat. But of course, it’s not. It’s just hard.

The target audience for this method is the woman who is reduced to tears watching Food, Inc., but still somehow manages to choke back a $50 medium-rare filet mignon on her birthday and wakes up the next morning feeling dirty. It’s the man buying pleather to use fewer animal products who then stops for a lamb gyro on the way home and feels guilty about it. It’s the seasoned foodie who buys a $9 gourmet magazine with wild game on the cover thinking she will impress her friends at the next dinner party, but who secretly thinks ducks are really cute and maybe we shouldn’t eat them.

Following my 100-day plan, wannabe veggies can embark on their own journey and come out the other side as a completely ‘meat free zone’. It’s much more fun than cold turkey. They’ll be able to smile at a pig and know they’re no chicken. Short of a cattle prod to the taste buds every time you put meat in your mouth, this method is the most practical approach available to cutting fuzzy-faced creatures out of your diet. Stay tuned for tips, plans and recipes!

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