Because I Love Being a Vegetarian…

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Before my husband and I got married, we watched the documentary Cowspiracy.  It was fascinatingly eye-opening (I actually pulled out a notebook and started taking notes).  The impact the meat industry has on the environment is astonishing—I’d never have imagined how many resources are used to keep up with the United States’ meat consumption.  That’s without considering the way the animals that are mass produced are treated and raised (have you seen a Tyson’s Chicken compared to a healthy one in your neighbor’s backyard?  It will make you never want to eat non-farm fresh chicken again.).  Then, consider the water and land necessary to hydrate and house all these animals?  That’s just the tip of the iceberg…it’s really crazy when you stop to think about it!

Of course, if we didn’t view meat as something we need daily, or even multiple times a day, a lot of the problems would likely start to diminish.

I’m ashamed to admit it, but I used to be one of those people who would incredulously (and, sometimes even mockingly) say, “You’re vegetarian?”  Not eating meat seemed absurd to me.  Of course, for those who found it genuinely gross, I offered understanding, but I just didn’t really get the whole “not eating meat” thing.

Well, now I’m one of those vegetarians who pretty regularly has to defend my stance (though, I’m working on not feeling like I owe an explanation to anyone).

Sometime before we were married, my husband and I decided that after we returned home from our honeymoon, we would officially adopt a vegetarian lifestyle.  He was mostly vegetarian already; I ate meat when I went out or if someone cooked it, but that was about it.  I hate to touch raw meat and didn’t buy for myself.  We chose vegetarianism for ethical reasons: environmental and due to animal production/treatment/processing.

We experimented with new foods to add into our diet.  Whereas avocado had previously been a treat, it was soon a regular item in our fridge.  I started researching new and creating my own recipes.  It was a lot of fun!  My husband was great at broiling tofu and making stir fry dishes.  I loved making veggie quinoa with all kinds of summer veggies—one of the highest compliments I received was from meat eaters telling me that hadn’t even realized there was no meat!  Plus, we were living in the Asheville area, which made vegetarianism so delicious and so easy!  (Whenever we go back to visit, I basically make a list of the places I want to at and then get my friends to go with me.)

Of course, not too long after we were married, I was diagnosed with cancer, so my cooking days abruptly ended (and were what I most looked forward to doing when I recovered).  Each time I got strong enough to start cooking again (I’ve now gone through two battles with cancer), I found the kitchen a place of therapy.  I’ve utilized Pinterest for all it’s amazing recipes—many of which I make and tweak as I go.  And I have enough—when I was in the hospital for my stem cell transplant in January, I couldn’t eat for about two weeks.  I was craving so many delicious dishes, I would just sit and scroll through Pinterest searching all my favorite foods.

A couple of months ago I was finally really able to start getting back in the kitchen.  It’s been so much fun, especially as the weather has started to change.  I’ve experimented with Butternut Squash, curry-ing and coconut-ing everything, and am now working on perfecting the basic biscuit—my mom’s recipe (by perfecting I mean, I’ve made two batches, the second better than the first.  I have a long way to go.).

What prompted this post was, you guessed it, finding a couple of new recipes on Pinterest and realizing: I LOVE BEING A VEGETARIAN!  (Yes, sometimes I miss meat.)  But, it feels like I’m on an exploration adventure!  I’ve gotten to try so many amazing dishes, learned how to get the amount of protein I need (which was higher after my stem cell transplant), and generally eat even more veggies than ever before.  I rarely feel like I’m missing out on anything.  And, yeah, it’s kind of fun to be different…but also, I feel like I’ve gained a new community: it’s like, “You’re a vegetarian?  Me too!”  Instant bond.

This post is brought to you because: I love being a vegetarian and wanted to share.
Also, check out the documentary or do some independent research into the meat industry.  At the very least, consider limiting your consumption and buying from a local, ethical farm so that you know you’re getting a quality product…and supporting a small business!

And if you come to my house, especially currently, you’ll probably smell Indian spices, because I can’t seem to get enough.  Or cozy, winter, comfort food (like this lentil stew on mashed potatoes that is basically a reverse shepherds pie.  It’s amazing.).

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For the Love of All Things Fresh

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Starting back in college, I used to think to myself, “I could be a vegetarian…if it wasn’t for the occasional times I really crave meat.”

Then, I started becoming more aware of healthy foods, eating as well as possible, etc.  But, my sweet tooth won more often than it should (sugar post for another day, because that’s a whole other topic).

Before my husband and I were married, we watched Cowspiracy together.  It was fascinating (I took notes while watching).  So many things I’d never thought about regarding food and agriculture were presented to me—and made perfect sense.

So, upon arriving home from our honeymoon, I became an ethical vegetarian.  It was a unique way to kick off married life, but a great way for my husband and me to bond over new recipes, the cravings that would hit when the smells of summer grilling drifted through the window, and finding the best ways to get proper nutrition.

Fast forward a little more than a year, and this week we are getting first hand experience with home grown stuff: gardening, chickens, goats, etc.  It’s fascinating.  I’ll share about my first chicken experience later this week, because one of our favorite things is fresh eggs from local chickens (I’m kind of obsessed…and have been for years).  Since we are chicken sitting…we want to eat eggs three meals a day.  But we won’t.

I know I’m not alone…I’d love to hear your healthy eating/vegetarian/chicken/garden stories!  After all…we are what we eat!

Welcome!

Welcome to The Teapot Journalist!

Five years (and three months ago) I lay on a pool chair in Daytona Beach Shores reading my first copy of Vogue.

It contained a life changing article that inspired my pursuit of journalism as a career.  The article was about a journalist who traveled to Morocco to teach impoverished teenagers the skills of journalism, and then enabled them to go into their communities and practice what they learned.

Fast forward to now; I fondly reminisce the year and a half I spent as a rural newspaper journalist in western Virginia, continue to gobble up news from a plethora of sites, participate in social justice activism, am learning to be a better vegetarian, research ethical and sustainable fashion, notice the beauty around me, and care for myself, as a spiritual being…all while enjoying ‘newlywed’ status in the mountains of Western North Carolina.

You might be asking: why this blog?  Why now?

The name came to me over a year ago; the content has continued to steep for the past ten months.  People frequently ask me if there are others who think like me?  I tell them YES!  Are we identical?  Absolutely not.  But, our ideas and philosophies are similar—therefore, let’s share them and live them together.

How many people do you know who are intelligent, caring, and keep talking about wanting to do something to make something, somewhere, better, but they don’t know where to begin?

This blog is for those people.  This blog is for you.  This blog is for me.

I love discussion, so please feel at home to comment, email, etc.

Here is to many more posts, good conversation, and encouraging each other in this big world as we all pursue our unknown.

Sincerely,

The Teapot Journalist