Being a Young Vegetarian/My Body Image

The issue

The issue with me choosing to be a vegetarian seems to be the mere fact that I chose this lifestyle with the assistance of my own judgement. Now, I get some people would be against my choices for the right reason, that being they have a concern for my well being. Others will be against my decision because they have applied their ignorance to assume I myself am ignorant. For example, I have had people try and educate me on the importance of meat in my diet; they claim it is a necessary component to my diet because of the nutrients, protein, and fat it will provide for me. I have been told numerous times that I am “too skinny” and I need to put “meat on my bones”, but the problem with that is that people don’t realize they are body shaming me. Being a child of the 21st century has been more of a struggle than previous generations may realize. I, and many others around my age, are constantly bombarded with new trends and expectations for how our bodies should look in order to be accepted by society. This is an issue.

The reason why

I became vegetarian because of a certain series of events. One of my first options as a career choice was becoming a veterinarian or animal welfare activist in some way, shape, or form; I realized I couldn’t save any lives if I couldn’t tolerate the sight of blood and guts. I decided to shift from the option of veterinarian and stick to animal welfare activist. My first few steps in pursuing this was contacting and joining as many organizations as possible. I was sent free stickers, posters, pamphlets, books, and information that put me well on track with my goals. I stayed up to date with animal laws, issues that needed attention in the animal welfare community, and I started constructing my own events to spread the messages I had accumulated over time. I felt good about what I was doing until I realized I was being a rather harsh hypocrite. I was eating the creatures I was fighting so hard to protect, and that just seemed so wrong and disgusting. Of course I had to stop what I was doing. I became a vegetarian almost instantly and I haven’t looked back since. It took my family and friends some time to notice my sensitivity towards this subject, but after they made their jokes and offered me meat for a few months, they seen the sincerity in my actions and soon started offering me almond milk, and meat-free dinners. I felt the support I had been waiting for; I felt like they were understanding the reason why I was doing what I did.

My body image now

In this moment I have been heavily influenced by Instagram models. If you’re unaware with the term ‘slim thick’, then I’ll expand. This term means you have a reasonably slim face and waist, but your body is fuller in all the right places. This body structure has appealed to me greatly, and I decided this would be the best option not only for me, but for everyone who claims my body is too skinny to be healthy. I started going on YouTube to find what was working for others who had aspirations for the same body type as I did. I discovered the rave for a product called Apetamin. It was said to help with healthy weight gain, and everyone who used it correctly with a healthy diet and minimal exercise had obtained my desired body image. I of course wanted to try this for myself, but after some suggestion from trusted individuals in my life, I decided adding more calories to my diet and less cardio would be a healthier option. Not everyone supports my weight gain either, but over the years I have learned to stop trying to please everyone else and just do what I believe is right for me. Weight gain, if done correctly, would be okay for my body, and I know this because it is my body and I know it better than my grandma, distant aunt, or even my own doctor would. I’m currently  on a weight gain journey, but the process is a rather lengthy one since I am doing it the old fashion way.

body-image

The effects of the Absence of meat

I do not miss meat, I do not need meat, I do not want meat, and I do not ever wish to include it into my diet again. I am as healthy, if not healthier than I was before. I have replaced meat with more fruits and vegetables. My eyesight has improved (not sure if meat has a single thing to do with that, but I no longer need glasses). I can still run, jump, sleep, laugh, walk, live, and do so happily like I did while eating meat. I don’t go hungry, but I do get more creative while making basic things like a sandwich, because I get to find other things to hold the place of the meat that would’ve otherwise been included. I have been to the doctors many times since and they have not commented on the removal of meat in any negative way. I feel good about myself, my decision, and the fact that I’m taking control of my own life in such a bold way. I feel horrible watching the meats in my home be stuffed, buttered, seasoned, chopped, roasted, and burned on a daily basis, but I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s best to worry about my own life and let others pursue what they insist is best for their own. Many jokes and memes are made about vegans and vegetarians, many saying that consuming WATER is an act of violence as water is the home of sea creatures and that eating plants is deconstructing the forest and destroying woodland creatures’ homes. Of course none of this is even remotely sensible or true, so I am not offended. I just find it absurd that we are so consumed in each other’s life choices even though it affects no one else but ourselves. I am guilty of this, yes, but I am learning and I hope others are too. Loving who you want, eating what you want, and being what you want is a human right we all obtain, and it should never become an issue unless we are hurting others. Being gay hurts no one, eating a salad is harmless, and being yourself is just as acceptable.

Other reasons to join the veggie train

Being a vegetarian has many beneficial effects on one’s body. Meat nowadays is so processed, drugged, chemically polluted, and more harmful for our bodies than good; I won’t lie to you when I say that so are many of the fruits and veggies we consume on a daily. Even our water sources have a shortage and a lead infestation in some areas of the world. The problem here is that we have the information and resources to find natural, unharmed produce for our homes and families; we just need the will power. Local farmer’s markets are brilliant examples of pure produce sources. If you feel that getting up  early on Saturday mornings to pick up some cage-free eggs and pesticide-free tomatoes is too much of a hassle, then let me just tell you why the early bird lifestyle is worth the effort…

AlterNet.org had some very clear reasoning behind the benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle. Number 4 on their list of 10 reasons states that you can avoid Bird Flu. ” The World Health Organization says that if the avian flu virus mutates, it could be caught simply by eating undercooked chicken flesh or eggs, eating food prepared on the same cutting board as infected meat or eggs, or even touching eggshells contaminated with the disease.” That’s some scary stuff. AlterNet.org also mentions how being consistent with a healthy vegetarian diet has been proven to reduce the risk and reverse some effects of cancer, heart problems, and strokes. If these aren’t already influential reasons, then I suggest doing a little more research until you find a reason with meaning to you.

Do what makes you happy

I understand completely that meat, though it may have some downfalls, is a big part of some cultural traditions and an important factor in the rituals performed by many groups around the world.  A certain meat might be believed to hold some sort of power, meaning, or importance to some, and I am no one to say this is wrong. My goal with this essay was not to persuade anyone, but it was to definitely clear the air on why I do what I do. I wanted to be able to show the world the effects social media can have on someone as insignificant as myself. One image can spark a lifetime of negative, or positive, aspirations like my own. I have goals of a certain body type and their is nothing wrong with that. I am doing my best to change my appearance in the healthiest way possible and whether I am supported or not, I will continue to do what makes me happy and I encourage you all to do the same. If you have any additional questions on my diet or reasoning behind this all, then feel more the welcome to leave a comment, visit my social media, or shoot me an email. I would be more than happy to answer them for you My contact information is on my contact page which is located in the main menu. Thank you for those who support me, or don’t judge me, or others for the choices acted upon. You are much appreciated.

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. I am not a vegetarian. However, I was raised in a family where some of my siblings chose not to stop eating meat. Though our parents were doubtful, my siblings’ wishes were respected. Fast forward nearly forty years, and two of those siblings are still vegetarian, and two have become vegan. They’re healthy and happy, and our family dinners are hilarious with all the different diets.

    People will always question what they do not understand; and responding negatively instead of trying to understand is the easy, lazy way for some folks.

    As long as you are healthy and happy with your personal choices for your life, ignore the peanut gallery. People will drive you nuts if you allow them to! 😊

    Continued success to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your family is a great example of how diversity can bring a family together. Thank you for sharing this, this is awesome! :)And thank you for your support

    Like

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