When I tell people that I’m vegetarian, it’s usually met with a moment of silence. No, seriously, they get silent then ask why. On the surface, I became vegetarian because I wanted to see if I could do it. But on deeper levels there is a more personal reason.
On September 6, 2016 (the day after Labor day) I started a Daniel Fast. The fast was something that I was avoiding like a plague because it would require a level of discipline that I wasn’t accustomed to having. Anyone who has done, or attempted to do a Daniel Fast knows how rigorous it can be. Well, it was the first time that I completed that type of fast and succeeded. The fast was tough initially because I had to deny my body things that it craved. I believe it was the mental struggle that was the most daunting of all. After the fast, I made the final decision to stop eating meat and fully throw myself into the vegetarian lifestyle.
While I use my decision with the fast to pinpoint a date when I made up my mind to change, it happened long before then. I believe that God was guiding me towards this lifestyle for approximately 2years prior to my decision. It started with little things at first. The first meat to go was pork. Ironically, when I was younger and well into my adult years, I loved sausage and bacon. I mean breakfast wasn’t complete without Bob Evans sausage at breakfast. However, slowly but surely I lost the desire for pork. There was one time in particular that I attempted to fry some pork chops and when I took the first bite into the chop, I tasted what seemed to be a wild taste. When I say “wild” taste, I really mean something that is kind of unexplainable. Have you ever went to a zoo and saw pigs? DO you remember what they smelled like? Perhaps a bit dirty, unclean, or like animals smell. Well somehow that smell transformed into a taste in my body. I know it sounds weird, but I wasn’t able to touch pork much after that. You may think that I can chalk it up to a bad experience with the chop but it extends beyond that meal. The sausage and bacon started to take on the same form of taste for me. Now, this devastated me because I loved pork. But, I couldn’t bring myself to eat it after awhile.
So, when I stopped eating pork in 2015, I substituted it for more turkey. The turkey was cool and fulfilling. I would eat turkey bacon for breakfast to replace the pork and would be fine. I ate turkey bacon up until the day I decided to become vegetarian. As far as beef is concerned, I’ve always had a love hate relationship with it. My family are avid steak and burger eating people. I was literally raised on chuck steaks and burgers. However, I noticed that the heaviness of the beef always left me sluggish, or in my family we call it “the itis.”I wasn’t able to eat much of it as time progressed because it would leave me unproductive. So beef wasn’t something that I struggled to remove.
Now I’m not eating pork or beef so my go to food is chicken. Chicken Chicken Chicken!! I mean I would eat chicken all day long. LBS. Anyway, chicken was perhaps the hardest to stop eating. In June of 2016 I challenged myself to stop eating chicken and teach myself to like fish. I was “challenge” because I’ve never been a fish eater. I didn’t like the smell of it nor the taste. I used to reason that it had a “fresh water” taste to it, so I wanted to avoid it like a plague. However, I taught myself to like fish and became pescatarian. From June-September I only ate fish and it was great. I kind of miss fish unfortunately. Since I was new to the fish gang I only consumed salmon and tilapia. Those two…ok I have to stop because I might have a relapse.
Anywho, this brings me to the present. When I finished the fast, I didn’t have a desire to go back to meat. If I did, it would only be out of religious practice. Meaning, because it has been a part of who I am for so long, it would be expected of me. Yet, I didn’t want to do something that was expected of me any longer. I wanted to live above the status quo of who I was and do something different.
This desire is largely tied to my spiritual walk. I came to Christ in 2013 and was completely lost. Just like I loss the taste for certain foods during my food journey, I lost the taste for certain sins. It is interesting now that I reflect upon it because I used to live a reckless life. I used to be undisciplined in a lot of ways and just did what I wanted to do. Now, the tables have turned.
One day, I might embark upon the vegan journey, but for now this is fine. Since I’ve been vegetarian, I’ve had to become more responsible in planning meals. Not only this, but I’ve been able to think more clearly, with a more sober mind than I once was.