“What? You mean you’ve never tasted meat in your life?
I just love the look of shock on people’s faces, when they hear my Vegetarian story- simply, my life. Well you can’t quite blame them. Born and raised in Cyprus (which is well-known as the land of Souvla after all) blogger’s note(READ ON)
my whole sixteen years of existence have been meat-free, something even my parents didn’t expect. Ovo-lacto-vegetarian since birth, meaning I eat both eggs and dairy), my mother thought that once my sister and I hit our pre-teen years, we’d end up leaning on the Mc Donald’s counter ordering that Big Mac. Quite the contrary!
The idea of being vegetarian – let alone from birth – is an extraordinary thought for many Cypriots. The “If you don’t eat meat,chicken or fish, what do you eat?!”reaction seemed frustrating at age six, but is now a matter of routine. The thought of a pork chop touching my taste buds is displeasing, and I haven’t ever been tempted to taste meat.
As a child I was encouraged to be vegetarian but as I grew older, and had absolute freedom to make my own choice, I wouldn’t have it otherwise. I feel being vegetarian is only natural for me and my great love for animals makes it impossible fr me to imagine a once living creature on my plate. As George Bernard Shaw once said, ‘Animals are my friends – and I don’t eat my friends.”
What’s more, caring for the environment is a priority for me, and eating no meat contributes significantly to the conservation of nature. An average meat-eater produces 1.5 tonnes more CO2 than a vegetarian taking into account the energy required to produce feed. fertilizers, methane emissions etc.
My whole perspective on food is very different to most teenagers around me. I think it’s safe to say I lead a healthy lifestyle, in terms of diet, regular exercise and environmental awareness. My label-checking for non-veggie ingredients, not to mention unhealthy additives, is somewhat a crazy habit, but I like to know what goes into my body! And it pays off – as blood tests prove.
Being a young vegetarian is no joke. If you decide to switch to a vegetarian diet, you must make sure the transition is gradual and you’re eating the right things. Growing up on a meat-free diet is a serious matter. Only pasta and pastries doesn’t exactly constitute vegetarianism; that vegetarian diet is certainly not a healthy one!
To benefit from its positive effects and eliminate protein and iron-deficiency, careful- not difficult- attention is necessary. There are so many substitutes for meat and fish (legumes, nuts, dairy etc), that there’s hardly a problem. There are truly so many options – and for beginners, meat substitutes like Quorn taste and look like meat – or so I’ve been told!
After 16 years of well-being and feeling great, I owe it to my vegetarian diet, and my healthy conscience that goes hand in hand. I have never felt I was missing out on anything and really can’t imagine living otherwise!Food for thought…?