I thought today would be a great day to share a little bit more about myself, in a truly odd and only Megan sort of way. It all began when I was 8 – and became a vegetarian. Yup, at the very young age of 8, I decided to leave meat behind and embrace the world of vegetables forever. To get some perspective, let’s take a trip down memory lane. When I was 8, the year was 1995. This is what was big in 1995.
- Gas…at$1.09 and stamps at $0.32
- OJ Simpson found innocent
- DVDs were just announced
- Toy Story released — remember what a big deal Pixar was?!
- Jumanji, Casper, and Apollo 13 also released
- Bill Clinton was President
- Coolio, TLC, Seal, Alanis Morissette, and Mariah Carey were popular
Too bad I don’t have a picture of 8 year old Megan. Weird, but I’m not sure where those pictures are…Mom, can you help me out?
One big pop kid culture item I left out of the list was the super duper, film of the year (ha! Just kidding!) Babe. Just to give those of you who do not know what this movie is about, it is a movie about a talking pig that learns how to herd sheep. Collective “aw” together. Well, at the beginning of the movie, his mom is slaughtered in a very subtle, non-graphic way. From thereon, you look through the eyes of Babe the pig. I guess I really took that to heart. Can I get a “Baaa ram ewe” in chorus?!
Before I watched that movie, I was a happy meat eater whose favorite food was ham. I even remember loving some good ole Spam, although I’m not really sure if that is real ham. Then, post-Babe, I became a vegetarian. Just like that. Boom. No meat. Thankfully my parents are awesome and fully supported me. Heck, my mom even became a part vegetarian, as she gave up all red meat. So for the next decade of living at home, my mom and I banded together in our vegetarianism. Kudos to the mom who will cook special meals for her daughter.
True confession: My real title is pescatarian (did you know this term was made up only in 1993). That means someone who will eat fish but no other meat. But I don’t tell people that is my real “title” cause it’s just plain weird and no one knows what it means. Want to know why I decided to keep eating fish? Of course you do! It is because at that rare ole age of 8, when I was of very sound mind making life altering decisions, I used to go fishing with my grandpa in Maine. We would catch fish together (if we were lucky) and eat them as a family, or if I weren’t there but coming to visit, he would save his best fish for when we were together. Still does to this day. Man, I should ask Grandpa to write a blog post all about our fishing stories together. He is one heck of a writer. I have been lucky enough to receive the most well written and thoughtful letters from him my entire life. They are quite the gems. Nothing is better than hearing fishing stories from him. Yup, ask Grandpa if he’s beaten my fish catching record yet (don’t worry, they were all thrown back). Spoiler alert: he hasn’t! So, as not to hurt Grandpa’s feelings and to still share that bond, I decided not to give up fish.
Here is the fam hanging out on the porch of the cottage at Maine when we visited in 2011.
Now, as much as I would like to give full credit to being a super forward thinking 8 year old, I would like to point out some other influencers in my life that could have helped the Babe watching experience culminate in a life decision. First of all, I went through a long, hard core pig phase. I loved pigs. SO MUCH. I collected figurines of pigs and displayed them all over my room. I even remember knowing someone who had a pet pig, and I think they were my hero for a while. Second of all, I knew some vegetarians growing up. One of my first memories (I was living in Connecticut at this point, so it was under age 6) was my mom taking my sister and I to a friend’s house whose family were vegans. They served us seaweed and I still remember that odd salty flavor (I don’t think it was the most positive experience for me). When I was a little bit older in Virginia, our best friends in the whole wide world were vegetarians. So, looking back in my wisdom now (eh hem, right), I can see that those two factors could have definitely influenced me into my cold turkey decision of giving up meat (HA! See what I did there?!). But for all those fun games where you have to make up two truths and a lie or share an interesting fact about yourself, my default goes to that I became a vegetarian at the age of 8 because of watching the movie Babe. And I am still a vegetarian today.
Yup, at 25 years old, I am still a vegetarian. I remember certain adults over the years telling me that they too went through a “vegetarian phase”, and laughing at cute little Megan taking control of her life. Sorry silly adults but it is still a decision that I stand firmly behind now. It is my way of life and I could not imagine ever taking a big bite of a hamburger (although I do remember eating McDonald’s hamburgers) or chewing endlessly on a piece of steak (because that is what I remember about steak). I just couldn’t do it. I love being a vegetarian. It started off as a compassionate and empathetic stand about not being able to kill animals for my own sake and it still stands that way. Now, as an adult, I very much appreciate the healthy lifestyle effect of being a vegetarian as well.
Let me finish this post by telling you that this is a decision for me and by no means reflects my attitude about all you meat eaters. By all means, please eat your steak and burger in front of me. Order all the meat you want. It does not offend me. This is a personal decision for me, and you do whatever you want to with your life. I completely respect that. I think it is great! I know all the arguments out there about that say how important meat is and how silly my beliefs are and the irony about the whole fish thing. Come on, I went through elementary, middle, and high school being a vegetarian in the lunch room. Kind words were not always said about my decision, which is why I stand firmly behind my decision but completely respect yours. I don’t like to try to convert people. I like to share with people my experiences, if they ask, but it is your life, your body. It’s just all so personal. We are all just doing the best we can.
I just thought it would be nice to share this part of me out on the intraweb. It might even be fun to do a follow-up post on my DIY vegetarian cooking life, since once people find out I am a vegetarian they pepper (HA again!) me with questions about cooking, protein, etc. So stay tuned for Veggie Tales: Part 2!