It all started when I was living in halls at university. I realised then how hard it is to not think about what you are doing when you are preparing meat.
I've hated the idea of carving an animal's body and eating it since I was about 15 but it only really hit me when I was doing this myself.
In July 2014 I set myself one of the biggest goals of my life - become a vegetarian.
Then in August I was up in north Scotland for a week when I was coming back to our hotel I went passed a small calf who was dancing around the field in a kind of happy way. It put a really smile on my face but unfortunately did not stop me from having a cheeseburger for dinner at the hotel when I got back.
When I got back from my holiday, I made the first attempt to change. I tried out the Quorn® products - particularly the steak. This was to no avail as I could not actually say I enjoyed it.
Where I am right now
I'm currently a pescatarian with the aim of eventually becoming a vegetarian.
The first step towards becoming a vegetarian was becoming a pescatarian, that is not eating meat but still eating fish.
In September 2014 I managed to achieve the first step and became a pescatarian. I will admit, it was made easier because one of my friends at university also became a pescatarian around that time. This allowed me to enjoy going to the union at the university without feeling like I'm missing out.
I made this the first step because it would be too much to cut out fish at once - to me, fish is a luxury like meat so it's not something I eat a lot as I've become more of a vegetarian than before.
The removal of meats meant I needed to find a way to keep healthy and keep my body weight up. I found numerous different things that I would eat normally anyway and put them into a list. Here are a few of the things I would eat a lot of prior to making the change that I now consider possible meals:
- Salad bowl with balsamic or rapeseed oil (V)
- Baked potato and beans (with cheese) (V)
- Baguette/sandwich (V)
- Egg fried rice and other rice bowls (V)
- Curry (V)
- Mushroom risotto (V)
- Quorn® "chicken nuggets" and McCains® potato wedges(V)
- Macaroni cheese (V)
- Nachos with cheese (V)
- Soups (tomato, potato, mushroom, vegetable, carrot and coriander etc.) (V)
- Spaghetti with cheese (V)
- Spicy bean burger (V)
- Linda McCartney range of foods: burgers, sausages and so on (V)
- Wrap (loads of options from spicy bean to mixed salad) (V)
- Vegetarian lasanga (V)
- Subway® Veggie Patty (V)
- Pizza (V)
- Haddock/cod and chips (P)
- Smoked salmon (P)
Interestingly, a lot of snacks are still ok because a lot of them are vegetarian. For instance, prawn cocktail crisps (Walkers) are vegetarian. Looking out for the big V or "Suitable for Vegetarians" label on the packaging is annoying but it's good that they are easy to find in most cases as reading the ingredients is much worse.
Becoming vegetarian is the next step, and it will likely be much harder than the first step due to the fact that one of my favourite foods is smoked salmon which I will not enjoy giving up.
On the 22nd of May 2017 I became a full vegetarian. This is to date one of my proudest achievements since I never thought this would possible.