30 Days of Vegetarianism

For the month of September, I am going to “test-drive” vegetarianism.

why is this topic full of such hatred?

As it stands now, I only eat red meat once or twice a month. This is not due to some moral superiority, but because I don’t like red meat except in two or three dishes (a cheeseburger is one). I have never liked steak, and I don’t care for much pork. Again, I’m not smug about this – if anything, I wish I liked more meat because it would help my husband be more adventurous in the kitchen. And I make up for it by eating an enormous amount of chicken.

I have never tried to be a vegetarian before, and I’m curious to see how easy or difficult it’s going to be. I realize my motivations might be completely different from other people’s, but for better or worse, these are the two reasons I would consider someday eliminating meat from my diet:

First: I am an animal lover. I know this sounds cliché and childish to many people. But to me it is a very real thing. I think about how much I love my two dogs, and then I look into the eyes of a pig at a county fair.

I’m not convinced there’s enough of a difference there to create the distinction we are all so comfortable with.

At the same time, I know that every person sees the world through a unique lens and I understand other people don’t feel this way. It’s a luxury to live in a country where you can choose not to eat meat and still survive.

The second reason: I am frustrated with the agriculture industry in this country. I don’t feel like I am educated enough to speak on this topic…which is one of my points of frustration. There are so many problems with the situation that it’s hard to know where to start and whom to listen to. I have no interest in reading a pamphlet that vilifies meat eating or scoffs at vegetarianism, because I respect everyone’s dietary choices.


This problem extends far beyond meat products, as we know from the near-constant recalls of our vegetables, fruits, eggs, etc. In the United States in 2010, people should be able to go into a grocery store and purchase groceries that will not make them ill. This is something I firmly believe, and it doesn’t sound like an outrageous expectation. The beauty of this nation is that people can pursue all sorts of careers instead of attending to the task of trying to raise their own foods. (For instance, working full-time and teaching four yoga classes this week!)

Similarly, not everyone has the money, time, or resources to attend farmer’s markets or drive out to nearby farms and buy locally-grown food. I’d be happy to explain to you why these actions are a luxury of the middle-to-upper classes.

But I’m getting off track here. The point is: people should be able to purchase food in the grocery store that doesn’t make them sick. But even the foods that don’t make us ill are suspicious. The chicken breasts are oddly large and the apples are three times as big as they were when I was a child, yet strangely have less flavor. I don’t have to read up on the subject to know something is going wrong.

Giving up meat for a month will do absolutely nothing to change any of this, and I am completely aware of that. But I do hope it makes me more mindful of what I’m eating. I hope my body talks back and tells me how it feels about the situation. I hope to learn something. Follow me on twitter if you’d like to stay in touch with my project. Who knows, maybe more food projects lie ahead: a month of gluten-free meals! A month of no dairy! A month of no chocolate (yeah right)!

If anyone has any unbiased sources information on the topic, please share. I’d also love to hear your omnivore-vegetarian-vegan-related thoughts in the comments.



13 responses to “30 Days of Vegetarianism

  1. I’ve been test driving the same plan. Can’t give up my spaghetti sauce yet.

  2. vegetariantimes.com is a great resource, for info and recipes alike.

    Can’t wait to follow your progress!!

  3. lol, always forget to log out of my project blog!

  4. I’ve been a vegetarian for 1 ,5 year now, but to tell you the truth I was not eating much meat or fish anyway, so I figured why not go all the way altogether.
    This is the first reason why I went vegetarian, but also because I believe that we eat far too much meat / fish compared to what is really needed. Also, same as you, I don’t want to keep eating food that ultimately will make me sick with all the c**p they are fed. I also hate the fact that a lot of resources on this planet are used to feed cattle, etc, while they could be used more wisely to feed human people. And I hate factory farming.
    These are my own reasons, I am not lecturing anyone here ;-)

    It hasn’t been difficult for me, actually I have discovered foods I didn’t know and rediscovered others. My taste buds are thanking me!
    Usually around us this has been well received, but I found out that in Belgium and France anyway, “vegetarian” is often believed to be “meat no but fish ok”. When you tell someone that no, you don’t eat fish, they go “oh so you’re vegan”. I don’t know how many times I had to clarify this ;-)

    Anyway, this is a great opportunity to explore and experiment in the kitchen, and discover new things. You don’t have to quit eating meat altogether after this, even a little goes a long way, and if everyone just ate a little bit less meat we could feed more people. But that’s just my two cents ;-)

  5. Yay for you :)

    And as for a month with no chocolate… well there is no need to go insane!! The best chocolate is vegan anyway ;)

  6. I really relate to your reasons, Jamie. I’ve been dabbling in eating less meat AND dairy/eggs, and I’m actually undertaking the 21-day Vegan Kickstart that begins on September 6, so we’ll be on related journeys this month! Have fun and bon appetit!

  7. im a born and raised veggie and have never had meat in my life. most meat eaters are totally baffled by this and cant believe i have no interest of trying it. i generally believe that our bodies are meant to eat what our ancestors have eaten for generations (that we are built differently internally) and therefore have different diets. that, at least, would explain why some “ethic” groups are more disposed to celiac disease and other food allergies. i say, give yourself a real, good look at what you crave and what makes you feel better after you eat. i crave ice cream, but usually dont feel better after i eat it. finding that balance…

  8. Good luck! I think it’s a wonderful choice to make. I’ve been vegetarian for quite a while and tried the 21-day vegan kick start in January and loved that! The most challenging part was cutting out the dairy! Enjoy the journey!

  9. Can’t wait to hear how it goes Jamie. I’ve wanted to try this too, but I’m not a big vegetable eater. Or, maybe I just d0n’t know how to fix them so they taste good.

  10. I always respect people’s eating decisions. Well, that isn’t true. I respect healthy eating decisions whether that includes forgoing meat or not. I have a hard time watching people eat unhealthy, processed stuff. It just makes me cringe. Looking forward to hearing how the month goes for you.

  11. I heard about the book “The Butcher and the Vegetarian” from Gluten Free Girl’s blog here: http://glutenfreegirl.blogspot.com/2010/05/butcher-and-vegetarian.html
    I immediately borrowed said book from the library and completely devoured it in no time at all. It’s so thought-provoking and educational and hilarious and engaging. The author was raised vegetarian and shares personal stories of her adventures with meat-eating.
    Perhaps this would be a good read to accompany your vegetarian trial run?

  12. what an exciting adventure!

    ben and i recently got mark bitman’s ‘how to cook everything vegetarian’ cookbook, and really love the philosophy behind it. it’s a very rational and simple approach to cooking meatless meals, without countless suggestions that you purchase pricey hard-to-pronounce new grains for everything you make. for me, it’s been nice because it’s teaching me how to cook without using meat as a crutch or just resorting to call bread and cheese a ‘meal.’ maybe the library has it for you to test-drive?

    our friend just had a gallery opening here with great design on ethical/responsible eating: http://www.aforkintheroad.org

    cheers to september!

  13. Good going hon. I’ve been vego for several years now too and trying to eventually go full vegan. I hope it works out for you!

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