What Has Changed After Being Meat Free For a Year

Monday, September 18, 2017

Big news, guys. Chris and I have been meat free for an entire year now.

Is this our marriage license, or meat-free license? Who knows. Who cares.

Meat for us = cows, pigs, lambs, (all mammals.) We still occasionally eat chicken and a lot of fish. I've eaten more fish in 2017 than I have in my entire life. And before I dig any deeper into this post let me slap my disclaimer on this by saying, I am not writing this to tell you to stop eating meat. You do you, we'll do us.

In the past year I've learned that writing/talking about our new diet is a lot trickier than I would have ever imagined. For starters, we only touch on it when need be. Like today for example when I'm lacking a post idea.

If we're out to dinner with friends and sharing plates, which is something we do quite often in Chicago, we try to just casually slip in something that is meat-free without making a big to-do about it.

We just choose not to eat a few specific animals, it's really not that big of a deal.

And yet as we've learned, some people choose to make it that big of a deal. And then it gets annoying AF.

I don't get it, why are you doing this?
You're really never going to eat meat ever again?
What about the food chain?
Just take a bite, we won't tell.
Oh, you're one of those people?
You really think two people changing their diet will make a difference?
Let me guess, you watched a documentary right?

The list could go on and on about things we've heard in the past year, those are just a few that come to mind right away. I know that most people aren't trying to be rude when they say this stuff, some are just curious. But some are just downright judgmental. And then I'm reminded of myself in the past, and feel bad for shitty things I've probably said to people who had diets that didn't fit "my standard of living."

So let's jump in. Why are we doing this? For Chris, it's because of the environment. I won't get into his side of things much more than that because I can't speak for him.  But if you're curious, simply google, "environmental impacts of eating one hamburger." There's a lot there that may surprise you. Or don't google it, I don't really care. As with anything, the info is there if you wan't to read it.

For me, it's because I started to feel like a hypocrite regarding my advocacy for animals. FOR ME. I'm not saying you can't love animals and still eat meat- I did it for 29 years and I know how much I loved animals. And bacon. Man, I loved bacon. But one day I met the sweetest little pig at the park and that was a game changer for me. I started reading about how pigs are treated, how they're slaughtered, and how their intelligence is higher than dogs. And I knew I was done.

In the past year, Chris and I had one moment of weakness right before the Fourth of July.

"Should we just take a break this weekend? Just eat a hamburger? Or a hot dog?"

We wondered aloud on the drive to Nebraska. From day one we've always said this is just a day-by-day diet. If we ever felt the need to break, we could. We would. But less than an hour later a semi truck full of teeny tiny pink posed piglets pulled up beside us on the interstate. I watched as their tiny faces struggled to poke through the holes of the semi and all that I could imagine was a truck full of puppies. And I burst into tears on the spot.

I get sad just thinking about that moment. I'm aware there is such a thing as "good farming," where animals are treated okay. But having grown up in Nebraska, I saw a lot of the commercialized farming. I frequently saw semis driving down the road, packed full of animals lying in their own feces.

And there goes the heavy sigh I often do when writing a post I know may rub people the wrong way. So again, as always, I'm writing about my own experience here. I'm sure several of you disagree, you may look at a truck transporting animals to be slaughtered in a different view, probably not nearly as emotional as I do, and so to each their own.

As for the "food chain argument," ughhhh, this is where it's hard for me to keep my judgment at bay because for me this isn't an argument at all. Just because we can, doesn't mean we should.

But now I've rambled on long enough about this for a Monday. In conclusion, I honestly never thought we'd last this long. But now that we have, I can't imagine going back. I don't miss or crave meat. Well, except for sausage pizza. I do miss that.

We both feel healthier, but nothing too crazy. It should be noted we still eat a lot of pizza, nachos, and fried stuff, so we're by no means the world's healthiest couple.

So yes, we still eat/do a lot of things we probably shouldn't. I'd like to stop eating chicken and turkey eventually, but it's taking me awhile to get there. But for now, cutting out mammals had made us both feel better mentally and physically, so for us that means it's a win.

In the end, you gotta do what works best for you.

Unless this involves swimming with dolphins.  WHY ARE PEOPLE STILL DOING THIS.
* I end every animal post with this thought because I'm very judgy about this "activity."*

Bye! Happy Monday!


  1. I didn't know you'd been eating meat free. That's great that you've found something that works for your body!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  2. It's insane how much judgement there is around eating food! In philly, we also share stuff at meals out with friends and my husband is gluten free. He always says it's not a choice (bc it's an allergy) but there's still such a weird stigma people have!

  3. I've been considering moving toward a more plant based diet, cutting out certain meat products, but keep getting overwhelmed. Any tips for getting started?

  4. Good for you! I was vegetarian/vegan for about 5 years, and while ethically it was very rewarding, my body just didn't agree with it. As long as it's not affecting you health-wise, KUDOS! <3

  5. Please also add unless involved people riding elephants! Why are people still doing this ?!?

    Also, I stopped eating cows 2 years ago after I saw a cute video of a man and cow cuddling, and I can't stop picturing my dogs face- like how is this different (for me!) I really never ate pork for years, and I def could never eat a lamb, goat, or any other cute animal. I literally tell people I don't eat mammals because they're like my dog and cute. I get a lot of eye rolls, but I jut can't do it. If I even imagine eating a cheeseburger (which I miss A LOT) I feel sick. A good turkey burger goes a long way. One day I'd also like to stop eating chicke and turkey but I'm such a picky eater I'd probably starve.

    The food chain argument to me falls flat, unless you're out there killing your own animal to eat, you're not actually participating in the food chain so why should you benefit from it.

    And when I learned how terrible beef especially is for the environment, just an added benefit!

    1. I was just about to say the elephant thing too!! Makes me cringe every time.

  6. I stopped eating meat about 12 years ago. I wasn't sure how long it would last at the beginning but soon realized it's not that hard. Like you, it is all about the animals. I grew up on a farm and fell in love with many a pig and cow. It was a harsh reality that they were grown to be killed. They had personalities and could give and receive love. I know that food is their purpose but I have long thought that we could be more humane about it. If you miss BLT's (a Nebraska summertime staple) try barbecue kettle chips in place of the bacon! Soooo good!

  7. I don't purposefully eat meat free, but I very rarely buy red meats and pork because it's so expensive! We're mostly a chicken fam. Granted, I do enjoy bacon and hamburger on the occasion. I'm trying to eat less red meats just for health's sake. I did have to stop eating ribs because as I was enjoying one once, I started to think too deeply about where it came from and it made me sad and disgusted.

  8. I had NO idea you went meatless and kudos to you. I have been trying the meatless Monday thing, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I wish people understood that it is YOUR life and YOUR choices and they need to butt the heck out.

    Also I love the approach you took so you wouldn't kill yourselves if you by chance wanted a burger or whatever.

  9. Good for you girl! Everyone who cuts meat out has their reasons and that doesn't mean others should be judgy about it. I've been slowly trying to cut meat out of my diet. I've started with beef, I don't have it at home anymore although I have had burgers when I'm out. I don't think I could ever give up chicken and turkey though so maybe I'll try giving up all mammals like you did. I already don't eat most meats like lamb, sheep, venison.

  10. My hubby and I did a meatfree, only fish, "diet" for 2017 too! Same day-by-day idea, and now I think it could be a forever thing. It's insane how much dramatic eye-rolling and questions we encounter. It's all personal choices! Good for yall! Did you watch Forks Over Knives? Ps: Love your insta-stories. PPS: Never swimming with dolphins.

  11. We're not meat free but at home we always stick to chicken and fish! Really the only time either of us eat red meat is when we go out and that's for no other reason than it's just so heavy and makes us both feel very full and gross. Good for you guys for being meat free for a year!

    And I went swimming with dolphins in Jamaica a few years ago (I couldn't wait to go! It was the only excursion I wanted to do while we were there!) then we started watching all those animals documentaries and oh how I wish I could take it back. I will never, ever go swimming with dolphins or any other animals again. We always joke that our poor future kids will never be going to Sea World, the circus, anything that involves caged animals! They'll be the weird kids in class. Oh well.

  12. I'm happy for you guys! I'm meat free, but Dane still eats it every now and then. He thought FOR SURE he would miss it much more than he actually does. I don't miss it at all if I'm being honest. Random, but how did you decide which animals you were okay eating?

  13. I've cut way back, too, and mostly eat fish. I feel the same about animals and I, too, come from Nebraska where cattle came to die (we had a stockyard across the river and a meat-packing plant down the road). I was a vegetarian back in high school because it grossed me out so much. The older I got the easier it was to slip back into it because I didn't have the daily reminder anymore. I switched back again because I kept reading all about the damaging effects high-protein diet on my body as well as the environment. I'm all about healthy fats, lots of veggies and the occasional piece of salmon or sushi. It's been working for me, too, and glad to hear your reasons why. Makes me love you even more!

  14. Yesssss. You go!! Next post: How to convince your husband to become vegetarian.


  15. Going meat free for me is easy as I often can't afford meat or be bothered to good it but that said I do like my meat but mostly I like chicken

  16. I have several friends that have pet chickens with fun names like Hennifer Lopez. This makes me want to stop eating chicken also, that combined with seeing the trucks of poor chickens going to the Tyson plant. It's tough. I give you a lot of credit.

  17. I think this is awesome for you! I'd really like to cut meat out but I know my husband isn't on board. Fortunately, he's 100% ok with lessen our consumerism in commercialized farming. For the past two years we've split a local, free-roaming, well-treated beef cow with another family (which sounds terrible to type, but you know what I mean) and my parents have friends that raise a handful of pigs each year. The only animal we still buy regularly is chicken. Honestly, the only chicken-based-meal I am OBSESSED with is nuggets. (Yeah, I'm 5.) Other than that, I could probably cut it out. Some day I'd like to own chickens and love them like pets and collect their eggs. When that day comes, I know I'll never be able to eat another nugget ever.
    For now, I don't eat lamb, veal, lobster, or duck. Slowly adding more animals to this as I go.

  18. We haven't ate a lot of meat in general for years and stick to mainly chicken and fish when we do eat meat. I have been through bouts of true Vegan and Vegetarian but it is so damn hard, but I never felt better then when I was not eating meat or dairy at all....but cheese.sigh. I could easily never eat meat at all again if it wasn't for bacon, and I feel guilty every time I eat it. We live in the chicken producing capital of the country and my husband is sickened by the treatment and conditions of the chicken. He really wants us to stop eating it all together. Honestly it boils down to just being lazy. Good vegetarian meals require much more though and prep and we have so little time and energy (and money) to devote to be successful at it long term. Sure you could eat pasta all the time but that isn't healthy.

  19. I hate saying that I'm a pescatarian because it sounds so annoying, but we do eat fish. We've been meat free for 5 1/2 years and it's mostly environmental and health related. Plant based diets are really good for you and better for others plus we love it, but the questions we get and eye rolls are super obnoxious... even after all this time. I'll never give us cheese though.

    If you ever want recipes, let me know. I'm lazy and horrible in the kitchen, but have found some really easy ways to make this happen and get better every year.

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  22. Good for you! You guys do your thang! I love it. We actually have a dairy that's about an hour or so away from me that they call the "cow spa" because the cows get massaged & bathed & all these other wonderful things that make me want to be a dairy cow there. They are treated really, really well & the owners feel that that's what makes their cheese & other dairy products so good/different. :)

  23. You do you.

    I don't care what dietary choices people make, as long as they aren't being all cultish or constantly talking about it. That's when I get annoyed. I have friends that are vegetarian or vegan or gluten free or just don't want sugar. It's all good. But I don't like it when they start judging me for my choices.


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