Nocturnal Works Narrative Therapy

Two Years a Vegetarian (Pescatarian)

I am on a path of compassion, which will ultimately be a vegan one. Two years ago, I became a pescatarian, giving up all meat but fish (with fish a rare part of my diet). I have been slowly removing even fish, as my omega intake has increased from other sources. My newest efforts involve the minimisation of dairy and learning the best "substitutes" in my favourite recipes. People ask me "Why?" so I am writing this post both to answer their questions and to share my insights of the last two years.

Why?

Before I began this journey, there seemed to be (at least) three reasons to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle:

  • Compassion
  • A focus on individual health
  • Concern for the environment

A dear friend of mine discussed her 40+ years as a vegetarian in terms of health benefits. I had asked her "why", before I made the change, myself. I wasn't sure how to evaluate any perceived health benefits and (for me) this reasoning would not have fit. Of course, this was not her only reason - she is a compassionate person - but considerations of health benefits was not for me.

In all honesty, I had never considered not eating meat as being beneficial to the environment. Since I have changed my lifestyle, I have come across a number of papers, including a 2006 UN report on the effects of meat consumption on climate change and I am beginning to understand why this lifestyle choice can be much better for our planet.

My reason for becoming a pescatarian, on his way to vegan, was that this was a choice for compassion. I first saw a pig slaughtered when I was eight and it had a profound effect upon me. I found it difficult as a child to stop eating meat. During my last semester as an undergraduate, I spent a month without meal. Finally, in 2014 my partner and I separated for the last time. I realised that this was an ideal time to make the transition from meat to a more compassionate life. I started immediately.

What insights have I gained in the last two years?

First, I have come to realise that compassion is a cumulative mindset. The more empathy and compassion I have for other beings, the more I want to "do no harm". As a by-product of meat consumption, I minimise the leather and other animal goods I purchase. My compassion has extended to the cattle who are forced into machines to give us milk. Compassion breeds compassion.

Second, while I didn't stop eating meat for "health" reasons, I have found positive effects which I would have never considered, beforehand. My skin is clearer, as are my thought processes. I have honestly noticed so many positive physical effects that I would not go back to meat, even if it could be "harvested" by more compassionate means (e.g. in a laboratory).

Third, I am helping to save our planet. The 350+ animals I save each year do not fill our atmosphere with methane, our rivers and lakes with the results of their bodily processes and these effects have run-on effects of their own.

In short, karma. I am trying to create a more compassionate world - not world, but humanity - through my own consumption habits of harm minimisation.

Hoping for a better world and living in such a way as to create it!

Jerry