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Vegan to vegetarian to a chicken-eating vegetarian

The lies I told myself - A story by Sarah Do.

The V-word.

Vegan.

Such a loaded title, mysteriously evoking so much heated emotion and debate. I was inspired to become vegan and to evolve and I believed I could recruit the world to join me in this noble movement.

Then I was a vegetarian. Because I don’t know how long I can truly say to you that I was actually vegan. Cadbury has some answering to do.

Now I’m a chicken-eating vegetarian.

Let me explain the not-so-humble progression.

Oh Canada!

It’s 2012 and in a matter of months, I would be following the then-boyfriend-now-husband to Canada to start a new life.

Touchdown in Vancouver, B.C.  – it was the great land of possibilities. I could start again. I could be the improved, cool, calm girlfriend.  I could be a more reliable friend.

I could meet new and exciting people, I could focus on my long distance running, party less, drink less alcohol and be super healthy… I mean look at people in Vancouver – visions of health and fitness. It was the perfect timing for a big change.

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My new inspired lifestyle

I watched Forks over Knives – the quintessential documentary for vegan conversion.

It was January 4th 2013, I had been in the magical land of possibilities for just over three months when I made the decision to become VEGAN.

Everyone must know!!

I wrote down some annoying health issues that had been bothering me for a number of years – 13 in total. Within three weeks on this newfound diet I had crossed out 9 of the 13 problems – wonderful! I told everyone I knew.

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I was also very tired but I continued my vegan crusade. Verbally, I’m not a well articulated person, particularly in a position of conflict.

So to armor myself against the colossal army of animal-eaters who seemed to be suspiciously concerned about where I was getting my protein and iron from, (okay but, where do you get your RDI of protein and iron? Do you know the required mg per day?!) I had just a few well-rehearsed reasons lined up perfectly in a smoking gun aimed right at them.

Here are some facts, meat-eating haters!

  1. Veganism is environmentally sustainable – dairy cows consume on average over 1000 tonnes of water a year.
  2. It’s socially responsible – have you seen those YouTube videos of live chickens being sucked into a vacuum in China?
  3. A vegan’s dietary requirements can be met and even supersede the animal-eaters diet. 100g of lentils have 17% more protein than the same quantity of red meat.

I wholeheartedly believed all of this made me look to the average person like I had done my research and I knew how to scientifically balance my diet with all the nutrients that I required under a vegan diet.

Nope.

I knew I had to eat legumes. I did that sometimes. I was still very tired and my then-boyfriend did some quick research and found that it was probably B12 that I was deficient in. Yes, that was the source of my fatigue. Problem solved. Winner!

I was so fixated on being vegan I used to dream about kidney beans.

But I also dreamed about crispy chicken.

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Man that crispy chicken tasted friggin good too – in my dreams. I’d wake up wracked with guilt and think “I’ve blown this whole game to smithereens – I ate chicken” and then realize it was just a juicy wet dream about delicious crispy chicken.

Not that I wanted it. I was vegan for goodness sake. I might’ve well sworn an oath to never, ever eat meat again.

The Office

I worked in a really cool office for an awesome company and I loved my team of three dudes. We got along well and joked a lot, but I seemed to really bother “Miguel” shall we call him (Hey Mikey!) when I spoke about being vegan.

He’d get really upset and sort of yell quite angrily across the desk that I was NOT vegan because I had honey in my Soy Latte.

But didn’t he know WHY I turned Vegan?? It wasn’t for the bees!

And then along came a secret…

But then, a secret guest started appearing in my undies drawer.

Milk chocolate became a household visitor when the then-boyfriend would travel to Toronto for work and if he didn’t see it – it wasn’t happening, right!?

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I felt like a criminal, committing these sneaky and sacrilegious acts against my newfound beliefs. So, eventually Mikey, I mean, Miguel’s yelling across the desk sunk in. And the milk chocolate slinked out from behind the shadows and became a known resident in our Kitsilano basement suite.

I confirmed one day with Miguel that he was right – I’m not a Vegan, I’m a vegetarian. As if I was a saint for letting him win that little feud. Saint Sarah – shining halo and all, so honest and in touch about who she was.

I followed the vegetarian diet pretty well for about 4 years – we even went to our beautiful friends’ wedding in Tuscany during that time and I did very well living off red wine, soft cheeses and tomato risotto.

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A new chapter

Fast forward a little bit to 2016 and we are back in Australia! The boyfriend becomes a husband…

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…and we very happily fall pregnant with our gorgeous little baby girl.

As a first-time mother, I wanted to do absolutely everything by the book.

I had read many, many things. And I listened to ALL the advice. So apparently babies can develop allergies from within the womb from the food the mother eats – through the placenta.

Well, I was certainly going to do everything I could to prevent that!

Out comes the peanut butter, hard cheeses, fish, chicken and ice creams, six times a day and you get the shit I’m talking about – I put on some weight, okay!!

Listen – here’s a tip: don’t ever fucking ask a pregnant woman if it’s “just the one baby?”

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Back to my story. At this point – Chicken has now become one of my favourite animals. Since I breastfed for 12 months and 1 week, I figured the same allergy rule applied so the KFC down the road has had a few more visits this year.

My parents are baby-boomers, so like any money-savvy mortgage-free 60 something year-olds – they love leftovers and cold meats so the ol’ chilled BBQ chicken made an appearance and well, a very justified, understandable and reasonable “disappearance” a few times.

And before you know it…

I’m a chicken-eating vegetarian.

I have sworn on many things in my life, and I swore I would never, ever eat meat again.

But then there are some lies we tell ourselves that find the truth within the lusty confines of dreams of crispy, fried chicken.

And being a vegan was one such lie I told myself.

Be kind to chickens, people.

Sarah

 

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