Not Ready to Be a Dread Haired Hippy
Not Quite Ready to Be a Dread Haired Hippy
I guess I should start at the beginning, that is of course, where most people start. It makes sense, it’s logical and there is something kind of reassuring about knowing that you have all the information you need right from the start. We don’t really enjoy those films that start at the end and then backtrack, do we? I guess I just love that moment at the end of a piece of culture, where life pauses, you take a deep breath and process the ending you didn’t see coming.
Sorry but this story isn’t quite as dramatic, more of a glimpse of life piece, think French Indie films, just without the cigarettes and red wine, but hopefully you’ll enjoy the journey even so.
Let's Start at the Beginning, It Seems to Work for Everyone Else
I read an article on the treatment of meat used in the products of a well-known fast-food chain and it struck me, this article, probably less than 500 words changed my life. I find it fascinating to think that words and research by someone I have never met, or will likely ever meet for that matter, changed how I lived my life; in quite a drastic way.
I believe I had always eaten well; I was lucky in the fact I grew up with home-cooked meals every evening, which left me with a distaste for the fast-food franchises frequented by my peers. I was okay with that. You could say I was even grateful for it. So, I read this article and triumphantly declared I was now a flexitarian, I would eat meat occasionally, maybe once a week and defiantly for Christmas Dinner, but would avoid it where possible.
2020 - 5 Years On
This was 5 years ago, when vegans and vegetarians, in some instances, were still hippy loving peacemakers who were rarely seen wearing shoes. Safe to say I received some ridicule. Surprisingly not for this stereotype though. The jest came more from my decision to eat meat only some of the time when I felt like it, but I didn’t eat it when I felt like it, I ate it when I felt like I didn’t have a choice to refuse when someone had cooked something for me. This was a new change for me so it was going to be a bigger change for those around me. I went flexitarian not only for myself but also to give everyone else some adjustment time; vegetarian was the natural next step.
I like it when people ask me why I am vegetarian, I don’t flaunt it, but I like to be asked. Not because it boosts my ego or makes me feel self-righteous, but because I know people only ask if they are generally interested in either you or your chosen lifestyle. If they didn’t ask, they simply wouldn’t care.
I don’t generally let it spark off though, it’s a dangerous ground between educating and preaching, and whilst I am still learning myself, I don’t think that this is a path I can yet walk confidently. But neither do I discourage those who chose to do so. You see, its difficulty is complex, people may want to know more to educate themselves on alternative diet options or they may see it as an attack on their own way of living, a very dangerous impression to give. But for me, personally, I will educate those with the knowledge I have, if they want to listen, and for those that don’t, well, that’s their life, who am I to say how they should live it, I just ask that they treat me the same.
Flexitarianism had sparked my interest. I wanted to know more about food and about the best way to fuel my body, I do after all adore eating. I read up, though admittedly not always legitimately, but I read widely and was cautious of the information I was receiving. I spoke to people, I wanted to learn more about people in the process. Why they lived the way they did and how they felt about it.
My ‘research’ only strengthened my thoughts after reading that first article; the meat industry wasn’t great for my health. The effects were showing. I had more energy, I felt less lethargic and I was sleeping better. Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t life-changing but I did notice it, and I think that speaks for itself. So, I ate less and less meat. And probably after 1 year of flexitarianism I moved to pescatariansim. Now there’s some pretention for you.
Have You Ever Thought About Giving up Meat?
Not Quite a Metamorphosis
This new phase of my journey still left me feeling uneasy about my choices and other people’s thoughts about them. I was still young, still trying to navigate who I was and who I wanted to become; I think to a strong extent I still am. So, I called myself a vegetarian, because I didn’t want my diet to define who I was. I wasn’t ready to be a dread haired hippy with no shoes. Vegetarian was easier. Something everyone already understood, and it meant I avoided those conversations of fish is meat though? Which I inevitably came to dread. When you confront people with a different way of life, to the one they live and understand, they can become quite defensive, simple psychology really. It doesn’t make these conversations any easier to hear though.
So here we are 2020. A year they write cultural literature about; a role it seems to be taking quite seriously so far. Five years since I first read that article, 6 months on the brink of veganism, and a lot can changed in 1,827 days.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Beth