Vegetarian food

The reactions that I get when I tell people I’m a vegetarian are really fascinating.

They might narrow their eyes in curiosity, some will have their eyebrows shooting up in fury demanding an immediate discourse, some would scratch their head and shrug it off their shoulder.

Whichever be the reaction, these are all sprouted from confronting an ideology that hasn’t passed through their mind.

Whether I was interrogated, ridiculed, pitied, or praised, all these diverse reactions eventually but undoubtedly converge at an absolute pointlessness. A futile voyage that will never make it to the land of a better world.

This post is not to give you a second thought on whether eating a live plant is the same as eating a live animal. This is about telling you what will change if you become a vegetarian and not about why be one.

Before I begin, let me put a little caveat saying that my subjective experience is from living in Kerala, the leading meat-consuming state in India with the consumption of meat at 4.5 tones per year.

This post contains

How vegetarianism changed me

Wrap up

So let’s get started then.

Learning to satisfy with what you have

If you have savored the taste of meat, there is only one way that you can survive as a vegetarian that I know of. You need to learn to be satisfied with what you have and not bother about what you could have.

This might be the very reason people don’t choose vegetarianism, because the price you pay for it is monumental for everyone. To give up something that you love is by any means not a simple walk.

But when you think about it, a lot of the reason we feel hurt is when you realize what you actually have and what you could have had. There are many ways to put it into words, but I hope you got the meaning.

To be truly happy in life, we need to learn to be content with what you been offered rather than what we could have offered.

One might argue if we are satisfied with what we have, how we might grow? Where is the need to grow?

We are so used to extracting our need for growth from self-hate and self unacceptance that we can’t comprehend that growth is a conscious step we take to improve ourselves. You shouldn’t grow to run away from yourself.

Vegetarianism is a philosophy that taught me to be thankful for what I have on my plate and not be hateful for what I don’t have.

Feeling what being a minority feels like

When I look back at my life, I could see that I was always in a majority group, so the existence of a minority group never really occurred to me.

Everything got shaken up after I became a vegetarian. Suddenly I belong to a striking minority, and that made me realize what it means to be in a minority.

Allow me to clarify what I mean by feeling like a minority. Being in a minority feels like not being satisfied with the decision that caters to the majority. Not a good feeling if you have experienced it.

When you are in a majority group, your ways are so normalized to you that you become oblivious to other possibilities.

When we decide for a group, we might ask ourselves whether this decision satisfies men and women? But we haven’t been trained to think beyond that. We live in such a diverse world that we need to think beyond that.

You need to learn to make sure that the food you arranged does have something for vegetarians or the application form you created has an option for transgenders.

Being a vegetarian taught me to respect and think of other possibilities of choice.

Food equality

This is why I had to put a caveat at the beginning of the post, otherwise, you might read this and think that I’m absurd.

I live in the southern tip (almost) of India called Kerala, where vegetarians are a minority and where I noticed a phenomenon of food inequality.

Since we are talking about inequalities of many kinds, why not try something called food inequality?

Now let’s talk about what food inequality means, as you might have guessed, it simply means to treat different food differently.

I noticed food inequality when started seeing non-vegetarian foods are getting a superior treatment than vegetarian foods.

Whether it is a guest coming over to your house, or a social function you are arranging for everyone or a simple dinner plan, you could act as if vegetarian dishes are some inferior dished you must avoid at all cost and make sure you never even have to see one at your sight.

This is a straightforward case of supply and demand where vegetarian food gets ignored because of the lack of demand. But I think vegetarian dished needs to get a lot more appreciation than being in a corner of a menu that you need to look twice to find it.

Loving non-vegetarian food is not a problem, but acting like you can’t go near a vegetarian dish is a problem. We need to see food as food and there are no superior or inferior ones.

Being a vegetarian has taught me to see vegetarian dishes as dignified dishes as well.

Strengthening will power

We have already established that the path of vegetarianism if you have laid your hands on meat will be of stones and thrones.

But as the saying goes, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

So if you have walked this vegetarian path of stones and thrones then you will emerge undoubtedly as stronger.

I will slip in a little secret for you. One reason I turned into a vegetarian is to see whether I have the willpower to do it.

Willpower is the major ingredient of self-discipline, and I think self-discipline is a very underrated skill set. I think how disciplined you are in life can make an enormous difference in your life.

So yes, vegetarianism for me has been a path for attaining self-discipline as well.

Seeing the true colors

Not for once think that the last point is vegetarianism improves your eyesight.

This is a point that isn’t the perk of being a vegetarian per se but is the perk of the problems that come with it.

This is something that has baffled me as well.

The way people responded when I was facing any problem because of my vegetarianism speaks a lot of who they are.

Something that I have to admit was a bit of a shocking experience.

You identify who are the kind and considerate ones amongst us, who are the selfish ones, the impassive ones, the ones that see you as baggage or get annoyed by you. All these will become plain sight in front of you.

Like the famous quote,

Hard times will always reveal true friends

It is surprising who much bad time will teach us when compared to good times.

So for me, Vegetarianism and the problems that come with it was the hard time that revealed the true color of my friends.

Wrap up

Through this post we have seen what it is like to be a vegetarian. We have touched upon what differences vegetarianism made in my life. Vegetarianism helped me learn to satisfy with what I have, to feel what being a minority feels like, to learn about food equality, to strengthen my willpower, and finally to see the true colors of the people around me.

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