If you want the world to become a better place then you can only start with yourself. The world goes fast and negativity thrives the planet. We are taken over by a huge digital age and information is at our fingertips. The majority of people want to change the world but give up prematurely because they are just ‘one person’ in a big world full of billions, if not gazillions of others. One day I looked in the mirror and wished for the same. I was unhappy about how minimal my impact was on the world. I exclaimed ‘I care about our planet, I care about who lives on it and I care about what grows on it!’ I decided that very day to become a vegetarian and I’ve never revised that decision. Last month March, it had been four years since I’ve made that decision and I wanted to share my personal view on this topic.
I grew up in a family that had enough food opportunities to always keep my belly full, which I had always felt guilty about to be more fortunate than others. I was conscious about the fact that I had all the food I needed and yet I could not enjoy it. My relationship with food was bad. Doctors prescribed medicines or diagnosed me with food disorders and yet I’ve always had a doubt in the back of my mind if they had any clue on how important food was.
By the time I was nineteen they could prove that I was allergic to certain foods and the world made a little bit more sense to me. I had changed my diet accordingly, finding out – still to this day that bodies can reject food for no apparent reason. I learned a lot about food in rapid pace. I educated myself on how important food was to the body. You simply do not function without. I wasn’t influenced by media and I have never read any personal stories of other vegetarians before I made that conscious decision myself. A close friend of mine forwarded me documentaries, that I stopped watching after the horrid images that my retina screened and could not lose. I couldn’t look at meat as just ‘meat’; it were the dead carcasses of animals.
I questioned my own morals and integrity. I cared so deeply about animals, probably even deeper than I did about people. So why did I continue being responsible for their deaths? Wasn’t it hypocrite of me to say that I love animals and yet I kept paying others to slaughter them like they are nothing but a product. I couldn’t bear to look at that person in the mirror. It wasn’t who I wanted to be and certainly not what I wanted my impact to be on this planet.
My decision to become vegetarian and why not vegan? Because if I claim to love animals then why use them still as a producer of food? I simply do not look at animals as products but as a co-existence on this planet, so whatever they may produce as long as it’s organic and in a totally fair way towards nature I would consume the products that animals are producing either way. Our food industry is secretive about what happens to the animals and I choose not to buy any products from those big food chains that involve animal torture and slaughter.
Another reason why I do not call myself vegan despite being able to enjoy vegan meals nevertheless, is the stigma that is put on them. ‘They nag and complain about how meat eaters shouldn’t live on this planet and that everybody should become vegan’. The elite part of vegans that go into extremes – that I can sympathize just half-way with, is because after seeing so much of animal torture that it can only result in being mad about how some people still deny the existence of these horrific treatments and carry a disrespectful attitude that may seem humorous to them but isn’t at all. I, personally don’t think the extreme vegan attitude is going to make the situation any better so I remain neutral and choose no sides.
I do want to state very clearly that I don’t urge people to stop eating meat; I want them to think consciously about what they are putting in their bodies and what they are doing to our ecosystem. Therefore this writing contains an overview of my thoughts in the hope to inspire people to lead us into constructing durable solutions to the fundamental problems of our time.
My life changed after learning how to live with being overly sensitive to food and becoming a vegetarian. I felt more confident about my impact, being less responsible for suffering and being more responsible for saving a little square on our planet. However, it wasn’t always easy. Not all members of my family were so keen on me being a vegetarian. It was sometimes hard lunching or dining with friends cause they had to adjust to me. I lost a few and I gained a few. I also noticed that my choice affected people around me. Some went completely vegetarian and some reduced the amount of meat they were consuming each week.
What is vegetarianism? You might roll your eyes and tell me that you know what it means, but most of you don’t really know what a vegetarian eats. Basically, vegetarianism is the practice of abstaining from the consumption of meat (red meat, poultry, seafood, and the flesh of any other animal), and may also include abstention from by-products of animal slaughter. Eating without gluten-contained food can be a challenge for a vegetarian. Nonetheless, it’s the brimful of my creativity that fetches me more alternatives. The first thing I got so crazy about was chickpeas. From Chickpea salads, soups to hummus, I enjoyed every dish with chickpeas. This is also a great source for protein (in case people are going to ask silly questions about where vegetarians get their proteins from, answer; beans!). Slowly I found more solace in making easy peasy recipes for myself that I had learned based on other recipes.
The irony of our times is ‘no’ human is “human” enough. I don’t claim to be an exception, but I definitely believe being a vegetarian is a step towards getting less inhuman. Forcing ideas to become a vegetarian is undeniably not a fair practice, but it would be worth an attempt to reassess the importance of “taste” at the expense of animal welfare.
If you feel like reaching out to me, be it about recipes, tips or further information about this topic then contact me. If you feel like complaining and spotting contradictions be free to send me a message too. firstname.lastname@example.org
My year review of 2016;
The year 2016 went by so fast. Let’s be honest, for all of us. I’m one of those bloggers that just couldn’t find the time/energy/inspiration and name it reason to post frequently. I’ve lost readers and that’s okay I guess. The year 2016 started horribly already. I was alone and the only comfort I had was Yoko. I was anxious and disoriented. I never do New Year’s resolutions but I had high hopes things would go well this year. But I stayed anxious and disoriented and I didn’t seem to lose it. I panicked a lot, felt unsafe in my own house. I clung onto A, but subconsciously knowing that no matter where I was looking for safety and peace, if it’s not inside, it’s nowhere else. Hard lesson to be learned and can only be told afterwards (speaking for experience).
The summer was supposed to be ideal for me and my photography but my mind was in different places and I couldn’t grasp my thoughts cause they were too ephemeral. I spent ten great days in Sweden and met amazing people (almost found myself). Right after I came back A told me he was going to the UK for a job in two weeks, and gone he was. I couldn’t live in this place anymore and on this short notice I wouldn’t find anything else.
I heard the cracking of my heart before it had even started. Tiny cuts ripping open until they were wide enough for me to feel the blood running out of me. With that heavy heart I packed my stuff one by one. I had wanted to leave this apartment for a while because the city was intoxicating and draining me. But I never wished it to be in such a way that I didn’t know exactly what was happening. My mind was catching up way too slow. Then the apartment was near empty and all that was left was his stuff. In a hopeless attempt I had put an old photograph with him and me together, in the mirror frame. I ended up feeling too frustrated and angry at him that I stuck it in a box. He can have it, he can have it all!
Yoko and I had moved in with my mother. From day one my mother and I fought. She was talking to me but I was beyond listening. The switch, the moving, the full responsibility of Yoko, my distracted mind, A. All of this and more prevented me from being an adult. All I wanted to do was curl up in bed and cry. My mother disagreed and instead of giving me the space and understanding, she fired me with screaming lectures about how I should fit into society. Sure this sounds reasonable. It wasn’t reasonable at all. I was doubting myself. I couldn’t ask myself a question or I had forgotten the rest of the words mid-sentence. My mother pressured me (I’m sure she disagrees, but what else we agree on?). I mean no disrespect towards my mother. I love her but she isn’t a very good listener. She has one view in her mind and that is just how the world is (yes of course it is, to her. I’ve learned that we all have our own truths and realities that we create for ourselves and this was hers. I had my own and she didn’t care about my truth and my reality and that’s where we kept colliding).
After three weeks things got heated and that same day I moved in with my dad. The first few days I slept on a mattress on a floor but I didn’t mind at all. I just kept thinking; anywhere is better than with my mother. I cried rivers, not knowing how to make all of this better. After a week my father had built me a bed and made a little room for me. And I felt welcome.
Although most of these intense paragraphs capture my mother’s bad side I never cease to believe in the good she has done for me. I thought for a long time I was unable to forgive her and at this point perhaps I’m not ready to yet but it never prevented me from loving and believing in her. 2016 wasn’t a good year for A, my mother or me.
While living with my father was supposed to be temporary and I was looking for ways to ‘’fit into society’’. Finding a stable job, getting enough clients, looking for a place for Yoko and me etc. At one point I just gave in to the feeling cause it was getting me all twisted inside. I had to find peace inside myself and when is the time better than now?
After a long time of slow progress I was gaining back my rational thinking. This had so much to do with meeting Luna. I think she came at the right time in my life. I can still cry tears of joy how much she saved me from the bad thoughts that were circling in my mind. I didn’t know that I needed someone to understand me until I talked with her. Life made sense after all. By cutting open some old wounds from my past and admitting that it had shaped the last three years of my life, I finally dared to open up my mind to others again.
I’m also totally neglecting the fact that my father’s support was crucial. I reasoned that, this is the way it was supposed to go. I had a bond to recover with him and my little (now-taller-than-me) brother Beau. Living with them made my life and theirs easier. I lied low in photography, clients, social media, Fashion Push and blogging and I forgave myself that I hadn’t pushed myself to do it. What else did I do with my time? I fell back in love again with reading and writing (although not publicly). Reading books were giving me the comfort and yet the escapism of feeling bored all the time. I was in different places. I had different faces. I had different friends and enemies. I started collecting my journals, read them, wrote new ones, knowing I could never stop writing. Writing was important to me. More important than photographing. Words pour out of me and if I don’t write, I’d go mad. It was an ancient rule that all of my journals had carved in the front.
Before my birthday I set up the Christmas tree and decorated it. I loved Christmas, ever since I was a small child. I used to care about the presents. My birthday was in between the Dutch Santa Claus and Christmas, giving me lots and lots of presents or nothing. Throughout the years I held Christmas in my heart but I stopped caring about the presents. I had hand-knitted two scarves for my father and Beau, wrapped them and put them under the tree. My birthday was everything I could have ever wished for. I made vegetarian sushi. My other brother, Jorrit and Luna joined our sushi dinner and stayed over. Near the fireplace and the decorated Christmas tree.
Christmas, we spent at my uncle’s and I received this book for Christmas. I read first two pages and I found myself in Spain this time. I’m not going to tell you what face I’m wearing but I totally recommend anyone who loves music and magic combined; ‘’The magic strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom.
I hope you had a very pleasant Christmas & up to a very happy new year!
[In a sort of weird way I reconciled with A, nearly seven months later. I’m not angry at him. Even if the only thing that connects us is Yoko.]