***DISCLAIMER FOR MY OMNIVOROUS FRIENDS*** Things are going to get a little descriptive. You've been warned. If I gross you out, it's not my fault!
I've decided that I'm making the transition to vegetarianism and quite possibly to veganism. You probably have two questions:
1. What's the difference?
The first one is pretty simple to answer. Vegetarians do not eat meat or animal flesh of any kind. No chicken, pork, beef, fish, etc. But they will eat animal products like milk, eggs and cheese. Vegans don't eat any animal products at all. That includes honey. (There are full websites dedicated to the mistreatment of honeybees. I started reading them with a chuckle but after awhile the smile left my face. It truly is horrible what happens to those poor little bees.)
The second one is a little more difficult to answer. It's hard to explain all of my reasons, but I'll try.
I first want to say that I in no way am trying to change the minds of any of my friends. You all can eat whatever you want and I won't judge. What I'm going to say here applies only to me.
I've never loved meat. Even as a child it was torture to eat it. I learned to eat it as an adult because that is part of eating a well-balanced diet. (At least, that's what I've been told.)
In the last year it's been harder and harder for me to stomach eating meat. I literally can't swallow it sometimes. And, yes, it's because I can't stop thinking about the poor little innocent animals that I'm eating. It grosses me out.
It suddenly dawned on me that I don't have to eat anything that I don't want to. I'm a grown woman and I'm in complete control of my body and my diet. So, I bought a vegan cookbook to see what it's all about. (I haven't made anything out of it yet, but just reading the recipes has me excited.)
I'm going to start slow. VERY slow. Changes like this are huge. The only way to do it, in my opinion, is to start off slow. Otherwise I'm setting myself up for failure.
This week I'm cutting red meat and pork out of my diet. That won't be too hard since I don't eat much of it anyway. I'll keep that up for 2 weeks and then work on cutting out poultry. I'm going to give myself 3 weeks for that.
After that, I'll decide how far I want to go into the vegan diet. There are some things that are really hard for me to get past. Like the fact that cane sugar is whitened with bone char. That means that they take charcoal from the bones of cows and use it to filter the sugar and make it white. (There are other sugars that don't use this process that you can bet your bottom I'll be buying from now on. But, I have to worry about what I'm eating outside of my house.) That's just one example of something I can't stomach anymore. For another example, read THIS LINK about Jello.
However, things like cheese and milk are less of a problem for me. I can't explain it. So, needless to say, I'm still deciding what I will/won't be cutting from my diet after The Great Poultry Purge.
I don't have any intention of forcing my family to take on this diet/lifestyle. Roy and I have discussed it and, from now on, the meat that we do buy for him and the kids to eat will be organic. As will all of our dairy products. The kids and Roy can eat whatever they choose (as long as it's healthy!) and I'll make sure that our meals are well-balanced.
It's going to be quite the adventure, that's for sure.