I Did It: Choosing to Become a Vegetarian

Our latest "I Did It" article comes from ISF supporter Kelly Mayer. She wrote in to us in the Environment Division, excited to tell her story about her switch to a vegetarian diet. We decided to use a Question & Answer format. 

1. Give us a few sentences describing yourself.  

My name is Kelly Mayer. I'm 33 years old from New Hampshire. I'm a mom of 3 wonderful boys, Lucas (11 years old), and twins, Hunter and Charlie (3.5 years old). I'm always looking for ways to lessen my impact on the environment and be a good role model for my children.

2. When and why did you decide to become vegetarian? Was there a single moment in time that made you decide to make this change or was it a decision over a longer period of time? 

I have been working on making the change to a Vegetarian diet for a long time actually. It wasn't until around October 2013, when I first heard about ISF, that I knew I had to make the change. The more I learned from ISF, the more I wanted to make this change. I've been participating in the "Meatless Mondays" campaigns and not eating meat on Mondays but something bothered me. I wasn't eating meat on Mondays, BUT I was still buying meat at the store for the other days in the week. To me, it didn't make sense that I was still buying meat. This feeling really motivated me to stop eating and buying meat all together! I started reading about the effects on the environment and it really opened my eyes. The more I learned, the more I knew I needed to make a change.

3. Was it difficult at first? What obstacles did you have to overcome on your journey to vegetarianism? 

I couldn't figure out what my problem was and why it was so hard to just not buy or eat meat. I LOVE all animals but I never gave it much thought about what I was eating or where it came from. The hardest part, to be honest, was changing my habits. I started with making the change and making the effort to buy NON GMO products. I did my research on the benefits of NON GMO products online, so when I made my shopping list I knew what items to change out. By making this conscious effort and realization, I was more aware of what I was putting in my cart. The biggest obstacle for me on this journey to vegetarianism has been and still is every day... my husband. He's a meat eater, always has been. Trying to come up with meals that he would like that didn't include meat has been very difficult. I felt like if I didn't have his support in this change I wanted so desperately to make, then I couldn't do it. I realized though that even if I can't get him to stop eating meat, that shouldn't stop me from following my heart. I am happy to say I've been "meat free" for almost a month now and I feel AWESOME! I feel good in my heart knowing I'm helping the environment by not buying/eating meat. I feel proud of myself for making a CHANGE to my life. I've been eating meat for the past 32 years of my life, and to make a change like this, is something to be proud of! 
Although my husband still has lunch meat in his sandwiches, it's a HUGE step towards the right direction. He is a work in progress! I'm getting pretty crafty at substituting items for healthy non-meat items and he doesn't know!

4. What advice would you have for others wanting to make this change but are afraid to try?
Start by making a small change. The only meat I was eating for the past year was chicken. Then I started substituting food items to NON GMO food. This small change forced me to stop and think before purchasing items. By doing this, and making this effort, it really led me to just phasing out all meat! Even just cutting out 1 type of meat, it does help. Don't expect it to happen overnight. Don't get frustrated if you fall back into an old habit, because it will happen. Just stop and think before you buy or eat meat and you'll get that it’s really the hardest part! Making the decision to make a change and making the conscious effort in doing so, is that hardest and greatest feeling!!

-Photo Credit: Kelly Mayer

-Written by: Kelly Mayer (Guest Contributor)