Motivated by a love of the earth and animals (and in an effort to live a more sustainable life) (and also save some ca$h money) I became a vegetarian. I had been flirting with the idea of being a vegetarian for a few years, but I dreaded becoming a stereotypical arts student who committed to eating only vegetables for the rest of my life, only to run off into the sunset with a juicy hamburger when temptation was too much to bear. However, after seeing videos of baby chicks being thrown into a meat grinder, ALIVE, I was decided. Now was the time.
At first, I felt pretty good. In fact, I felt great, I was sleeping more sound, and I was finding that the cough I usually have (meat apparently produces mucus) was subsiding. I felt like I was more lean, I would eat until I was full but it wasn’t accompanied by painful bloating that made me question my existence in the universe. The positive feelings I had continued for little less than a month, until I got my first UTI.
Now, to be fair, there are about a billion causes for a UTI, and they’re super common for those of us with two X chromosomes and (consequently) a shorter urethra, and they hurt like hell. I think there’s a certain percentage of the population who generally doesn’t think that women can tolerate large amounts of pain, and they think we’re being babies when we complain about periods and the like, but let me tell you, I wanted to gut my own bladder out. And after peeing blood I was pretty sure my body was doing that for me.
Off the urinary track and back on the main one (heh),
I went on a ton of trips this summer, finally got involved with the ELRD team in a way that works for me, and I got the chance to save up some money from extra time at work. But I was miserable for pretty much all of it, and looking back on it I think a lot of it had to do with one simple thing.
I was hangry. I just didn’t know it.
In actuality, looking back on the summer as a whole, there were a lot of things that should’ve alarmed me to the fact that I wasn’t eating properly, vegetarian or otherwise. My fatigue, which used to plague me, was returning, but I explained it away by thinking that I just needed to get more allergy shots. Then, my digestive track was constantly uncomfortable, like a pressure that would never go away. I also was crazy thirsty, all the time, and drinking more than what I usually do (which is a lot), to the point where I had to be careful towards the end of the day that I wasn’t getting too much water — and there were a few days where I did. All of these things should’ve cued me in on the fact that something was wrong, but it was one thing that really got my attention. I was unreasonably angry.
For whatever reason, in the past when I have had allergic reactions to medicine, sometimes my reactions are just odd. When I was in high school, and trying to get my asthma under control, I took an inhaler that altered my mood significantly. I wasn’t upset over specific instances, but rather, I wanted to get in a fight. I didn’t feel a targeted anger at anyone, I just felt… feisty. It was the weirdest thing, and it just kept getting worse and worse, until I stopped taking that inhaler. When I began to feel the same way again this summer, I decided that it was finally time to throw in the towel on being a vegetarian.
I still think the principles behind being a vegetarian are important, and I wish that my health would’ve improved, or at the very least stayed the same. However, I now recognize in myself that I have no desire to risk the health that I have so carefully maintained over the past few years of my life on the chance that I might get better after 6 months or two years (which is how long people say you need to wait to break through some kind of wall??).
To be fair, the 180 I did after beginning to eat meat again wasn’t behavior I would expect someone who felt really committed to these ideals would be okay with.
And I’m still not convinced that I can’t eat raw meat (but thanks mom, for stopping me).