Becoming vegan, or at least vegetarian, is very popular these days. People are becoming increasingly aware and upset by the mistreatment or animals, as well as the health benefits of changing up their diets. I, myself, was vegetarian for several years until recently. It was a difficult decision to make and incredibly difficult for me to start eating meat again.
Why I became vegetarian
I started to become a vegetarian in late 2006, when I was 14. In early 2006, there was an influenza pandemic in which H5N1 (better known as bird flu) killed several people worldwide. The media were scaremongering and it worried me so much that I gave up eating chicken and turkey. By October 2007 when I was 15, I’d come to realise I no longer liked the taste or texture of meat and gave it up altogether.
Over the years that followed, I couldn’t imagine eating meat again. It repulsed me. I tried to eat meat again when I fell pregnant, but I just couldn’t get myself to, especially when I felt nauseous.
Why I gave up
After I gave birth, I lost a lot of blood. The iron tablets that I was given initially weren’t strong enough, and as such I was left very weak and severely anaemic. How I felt had a big impact on my mental health, causing me a lot of anxiety. However, worse was to come when Autumn fell critically ill. It was apparent that I needed to do everything in my power to make myself better for Autumn and I as quickly as possible. I forced myself to start eating meat again, choosing meals where the flavour would be mostly be hidden by other ingredients. I credit the fact that I gave up vegetarianism to how quickly I managed to get my iron levels back up again. Before that I just wasn’t absorbing enough iron quickly enough, no matter how many lentils I ate or how much orange juice I drank.
I don’t eat as much meat as I did shortly after giving birth to Autumn and have gone back to eating many vegetarian meals. I still don’t like the taste or texture of meat, and I do worry about how animals are treated. However, I do still eat meat at least twice a week. I only have it at home, because as part of my health anxiety I do worry about getting food poisoning from meat.
I am so scared of feeling as awful as I did last autumn, that I’m not sure I’d ever go back to being fully vegetarian again. In October, I felt so dreadfully ill, that I don’t feel I can risk it, for myself or for my little girl who needs a healthy and strong mummy to look after her.