Why Am I Afraid to Talk About Eating a Plant Based Diet?
This is a post that’s been bouncing around in my head for a while and I finally feel ready to write it. Hence the title. For some reason, I’ve been afraid to put these thoughts out there because of various reasons, which I’ll get into more below. But I really want to start this post off by saying you should eat however you think is best for your body. There’s all kinds of ways to consume food, and whatever works for you, that’s what you should do. I’m simply going to talk about my experience and what my diet might look like moving forward.
Growing up, I was the ultimate meat and potatoes girl. There was no part of me that ever questioned where the food on my plate came from, just that my dad made it and it was fricking delicious. Well, I’m not sure what happened, but a few years ago all the sudden the thought of the ribeye steak that I once loved, made me feel sick. I didn’t even see it coming, it literally hit me over night.
I was surprised, but thought, ok, I guess I just don’t like steaks anymore. But then, this summer, something even CRAZIER happened. I ordered a burger at a restaurant and just the sight of it completely put me off my meal. Burgers have been one of my all-time, go-to favorite foods my entire life and now my body literally rejects the thought of them. It’s insane.
So now here I am, a Nebraskan, who doesn’t want to eat burgers and steaks. This is a hard thought to wrap my mind around. Well, hold on tight because it’s about to get even crazier.
Another food I loved growing up was milk. I drank so much of it as a kid that my parents used to threaten to make me buy my own. In college, I was drinking damn near two gallons a week. I was a milk-a-holic. Today, though, not so much.
Too much dairy anymore makes my body respond...uhh…badly. I think you know what I mean. It seems random though — some days I have a bad reaction, other days I don’t. Anyway, all of this has led me to wanting to focus on eating more of a plant based diet.
I follow a lot of vegan bloggers and have learned there are SO many ways to make delicious meals that are only made from plants! I love the idea of eating more food that’s grown straight from the ground and not feeling gross and heavy afterwards.
All of that said, I’ve been really hesitant to talk about this openly because I feel like I’m from a place that might not understand why someone wouldn’t want to eat meat, diary or any animal products for that matter. The truth is, everyone has their own set of reasons for eating the way they do, whether it’s for the environment, dietary restrictions, allergies, or like me, they’re just trying to listen to their body.
So why have I been afraid to talk about this? Let me break it down.
This is the biggest reason, I think. I’m afraid that if I put it out there that I’m trying to eat a more plant based diet and someone sees me consuming cheese or eating meat (of any kind), I’m going to get the whole “I thought you weren’t eating that” comment. This comment is seriously the worst. I’ve gotten in the past when maybe I’ve said I’m on a diet or something and someone sees me eating a piece of cake. Why do people care so much what other people eat? It’s such a personal act and has absolutely no bearing at all on anyone else. I think it boils down to some kind of insecurity or need to prove people wrong.
Am I trying to consumer less meat and dairy, sure. Does that mean I’m never going to eat queso at my favorite Mexican restaurant ever again? Probably not. I’m not swearing off anything and I’m not claiming to be vegan, I just want to see how many body responds to a different kind of diet.
My boyfriend’s family ranches. My sister works at a cattle feed lot. A lot of my friend’s families make a living off of ranching animals. How am I supposed to tell them when I come to their house that I don’t want to eat their food? It’s incredibly difficult to be in a situation where I would normally eat the steak or burger that was prepared for me by friends and family, but instead have to say no thank you. Especially when I’ve been more than happy to consume it in the past. I’m still not quite sure how to handle this situation, and probably never will, but hopefully the people in my life will be accepting and even curious about some of the changes I’m making.
Right now, I’m in the middle of going 30 days without meat or dairy. To be honest, the meat part has been really easy for me so far. The dairy part though, oh my goodness, that’s another story. Dairy is in everything.
I have no idea how permanent or flexible this situation is, it’s just important to me that I take note of how my body is responding to this change. If I feel better overall, maybe it’s worth integrating into my everyday life. Most importantly though, I just hope I can stop worrying so much about what everyone thinks about my diet. For all I know you don’t give two shits. If I can get over that hump, I’d say it’s mission accomplished.
Photography by Brooke Confer