Your Life Is Not About Deprivation

“Vegetarians shouldn’t be eating those fake burgers that taste like meat, that’s just hypocrite.” -Random Guy 

I actually read this comment a while ago, and I was completely dumbfounded. Apparently, this person (and many like him) think that being a vegetarian, or having any kind of alternative lifestyle where you abstain from anything, is about depriving yourself of something, in order to make a statement. Well, as I hope you already know, it’s not!

I’m a vegetarian. I made that choice for myself, and I’m happier for it. I’m not suffering to make a point. I choose not to do a lot of things, actually, and it has enriched my life, rather than deprived it.

I choose not to eat meat. 
173689495_a345eaec99_zI personally can’t stand animal suffering, so eating meat just didn’t feel right to me. Whenever my mom served meat, when I was young, my stomach would knot up as soon as I thought about the animal this food came from. So not eating meat actually makes me feel much better. I also believe meat consumption is bad for the environment and our personal health, two more things I’m not contributing to by being a vegetarian.
Do I miss eating meat? Well, that’s actually not a simple question. When I smell certain foods, (especially fish) I do feel a certain craving for it. During those moments I guess I do miss the taste of those things. However, it’s just the taste, not the food itself. I know eating the actual food would make me feel horrible. (And probably sick, since I haven’t had meat or fish in about 15 years.) I guess the short answer would be that, no, I don’t miss eating meat.
There’s a company that makes vegetarian alternatives to meat that I love. Their products aren’t as dry and bland as most “veggie-meats”. They are pretty high regarded because their foods taste just like real meat…. Or so I’m told… ‘Cause honestly, I have absolutely no clue as to how chicken tastes. I like to think I’ve got a pretty good idea based on the smell of it, but I can’t be sure. So when someone tells me the fake-chicken tastes just like real chicken, I just shrug, and tell them I wouldn’t know. And here’s the thing, I don’t care either. I eat it because I like the taste, not because I’m trying to find something to replace real chicken. When I became a vegetarian, the options for substitutes were very limited, and I did just fine. Now there are plenty of alternatives out there, and I’d be a fool not to take advantage of that.

I choose not to buy new things. 
3529034253_7564999299_zI feel like our consumption, as a people, is running out of hand. Our planet is being more and more polluted, because of it, and we are blind to the wealth around us. I don’t want to be part of a cycle that’s taking advantage of workers, destroying our environment, and which is really only benefiting a select few at the top. So I don’t buy anything new.
Do I miss buying things new? Absolutely not! When I need something I can’t make for myself, I can get it second hand. It might take me bit longer to get it than it would if I just went to the store, but it’s worth the hassle. I won’t have to give my money to companies I don’t support, I’m giving a used item a second life, and I’m saving a ton of money to boot! So much in fact, that I get to be a stay at home mom once the baby is born. This is something people have repeatedly told me to be nearly impossible in this day and age, where you need a double income to support a family. I guess if you’re a “normal” consumer family, you do need a double income. However, not buying new things has given us an insane amount of financial freedom, something I would never give up for a new purse or a stylish new couch. I’ve also learned to be more appreciative of the things we already own, and to be more creative when it come to finding solutions for broken items. Two traits I’m very proud of.

I choose not to drink soda in my every day life.
4825113119_9630b7927f_zSweet sugary drinks aren’t good for your health, and everybody knows it. I don’t want to mess up my body by putting large amounts of junk in it every day. Most of the time I just drink water. Sometimes I’ll have a cup of tea or a nice cappuccino. And  on rare occasions, I will have a diet coke, but I’ll treat it like having a cocktail, something to be done in moderation and on special occasions. It’s very odd to see people’s reactions when they ask me what I want to drink, and I tell them “Water please”. They act as if I asked for a glass of sewage. They’ll start offering me all kinds of other things, as if drinking water would be some sort of inhumane punishment. I think we’ve become so accustomed to drinks that are incredibly heavy in flavor, that we can no longer appreciate the taste of water. Well I can, and I’m thankful that I can.
Do I miss drinking soda? Well, as I mentioned, I have a glass on rare occasions, but I don’t miss it in every day life. I enjoy drinking water. It’s good for my body, I don’t have to pay huge amounts of money just to drink, and I don’t contribute to the massive production of plastic bottles either. I wouldn’t want to go back to the way it was.

I’m not making a statement here, I’m living my life the way that I feel I should. I’m living my life in a way that feels good and makes me happy. I’m not on some life long hunger strike, trying to change the world. I’m doing what feels right to me. If that inspires you to do the same, great! If it doesn’t, great as well! I’m living my life to be happy and so should you. Don’t give up your happiness for some greater cause, I’m sure you can find a way to support that cause without feeling like you’re depriving yourself of anything. Be creative, and find what works for you.

Gree(n)tings,

Cyndi

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