I’ve been on a reducetarian diet for the last fifteen months. It has been a fantastic experience. I started off with weekday vegetarianism which I talked about in this blog post roughly twelve months ago. However, today, I finally leapt into it. I’m finally stopping all consumption of flesh. I will, however, consume milk and eggs. So, that makes my new diet a lacto-ova-vegetarian one.
The Reducetarian experience
As a reducetarian, I chose the weekday vegetarian approach. My diet involved eating vegetarian food on weekdays while a non-vegetarian, flesh-based diet on weekends.
This gradually changed to a non-vegetarian diet on any two days of the week. This change was needed to accommodate essential events and gatherings where I would want to enjoy the feast and not skip on the good stuff, as I called it before.
Over time, my friends became comfortable with the peculiar idea of a reducetarian diet. Although, I still think I’m the laughing-stock of the group on that one. I don’t care though. There is one crucial lesson I learned during the last fifteen months though.
Vegetarian Choices are Great
Entering this discussion is more laborious than entering Chernobyl because of just how many non-vegetarian friends I have, but I am going to say it. Vegetarian food is lighter, feels easier and while it isn’t as attractive, you can actually grow to love it.
In fact, as I’ve said before on various channels, being a reducetarian made me find some delicious vegetarian alternatives to things I enjoy. Soy still sucks though and that shall forever be the case.
I got pretty comfortable with a vegetarian diet during the weekdays. In fact, I’d often forget until Saturday night that it was “a non-veg day” and that I had wasted two meals by eating vegetarian food. Over time, I realised I could live without flesh, and it’s not that hard.
The TED Talk by Graham Hill that introduced me to reducetarianism includes a critical line, “Can you imagine your last hamburger?”
For me, the answer has surprisingly become, “yes”.
For most of my decisions though, there is a long build-up and then the trigger. The trigger makes most of my friends and family accuse me of being impulsive. However, it is only the trigger they see and not the rest of that constant internal debate.
Introduction To Psychology
No, it isn’t about the field of psychology. Instead, I recently completed a course called Introduction of Psychology on Coursera and the professor, Steve Joordens, goes on to make this remark about himself. He says, “I am an animal lover. You know, the one that doesn’t eat them.”
As casually as he threw it around, it is a compelling sentence and one that made me think about the way I live my life.
My biggest goal, if there is one, is to eliminate the disconnect between my inner self and my outer world. To the point that I go to lengths to make sure I do what I claim or say. So, when I proclaim that I love all animals which I do, it does not add that I am comfortable eating them.
That one sentence riled me up for the longest time, but it still wasn’t enough.
The Goat That (Probably) Isn’t Now
Like most things in life though, the last nudge was as anti-climactic as it gets.
There is a prominent custom that I’ve seen in the community living right behind where my house is in Dehradun. Goats are brought, executed publicly, and everybody then has a feast.
So, I saw a couple of kids walking a few goats today, and as I saw them, I spontaneously remarked, “He’s going to die today”, and a second later I questioned myself. I had seen one such event along with visiting the butcher with my father when I was a kid and I remembered all of that in a second.
It was an obvious situation, and if all that build-up, inner turmoil, and growth made me realise something, it was that the only reason I couldn’t imagine my last burger was because of that statement itself.
The way I see it, my love for chicken or any other kind of meat for that matter was mainly because of one particular thing – I never knew or acknowledged that there was an alternative.
We say it’s so good, and we say it so many times that we stop believing there’s another side to it. The previous sentence is valid about a lot of things. We condition ourselves into things by saying them over and over.
Try thinking you like this new person you met at the coffee shop continually and watch yourself fall in puppy love only to realise it was a glorified crush that should’ve passed had you not read their messages a hundred times.
A minute later, I realised that I really could imagine my last burger and that I gave up on my obsession with how good meat tasted months ago. I was having meat on non-vegetarian days because they were non-vegetarian days. If there was no such tag, I was perfectly fine with some beans, pulses or any other part of the vegetarian diet.
For now, I can’t give up on milk and eggs, and I know anyone who would like to intervene this change or perhaps, try to change my mind would probably hit that particular note as soon as they get a chance.
All I know is that I’m not doing this because my family, friends or perhaps, my religion dictates it. It is a conscious change that I think was coming for the longest time. This is the way I see life; it is a process of becoming who you say you are in everything you do.
There’s a lot about conscious thought and decisions that I have to talk about in a coming post and so, let’s leave it that for now.
All of that said, I don’t judge anyone for having a non-vegetarian diet. Hell, if you like to consume meat in all your meals, do that. As long as you have a taste for it. It is up to you.
As it turns out, I lost mine, and since that has happened, I don’t see any other reason to continue sticking to that diet.
Alternate Title: Chicken Gives Me Gas, Veggies Don’t