Somehow I am ashamed to admit that I shouldn’t really be calling myself vegetarian anymore. Health reasons… but, back in 1989, I only started by giving up meat. For spiritual reasons, linked to food density and metaphysics cf Pythagoras.
To me all life is sentient, so killing only animals never really figured in my reasoning.
I well remember the day before cutting out all meat that I went to an expensive restaurant near where I lived and had steak tartare for lunch. It was so heavy and rich, I fell asleep – in the middle of the afternoon! Haven’t knowingly touched meat since. Unless you count those Polish ‘vegetarian’ dishes swimming in revolting animal fats which I unwittingly tasted (and spat out).
But I wasn’t a vegetarian as fish was still on the menu. More specifically, shellfish and smoked salmon. That pescatarian period lasted for about 4 years or so until I developed a very serious allergy. Over that time I had at least 3 allergic reactions resulting in serious difficulty breathing and finally gave up fish when I landed up in Santa Monica ER with full blown anaphylaxis. Yeah, you’d have thought I had a death wish!!!
And so from c 1993 till 2003, I was religiously vegetarian – though never vegan. Even gave up alcohol and coffee for a number of years.
Then in 2002 I had a serious car crash and my left hand was very badly injured. My little finger and ring finger were so badly broken and the bones on the back of my hand were so crushed I had two general anaesthetics – one week apart.
It was recommended I ate oily fish to aid healing but it still took several weeks before I took the step back to eating fish again. Clearly not shellfish though because of the since confirmed allergy. I did however stop and revert to a vegetarian diet once it looked like no further progress could or would be made with the fingers. (I still have adhesions in that hand.)
Anyway, now it’s 2009 and my normally smooth unmarked back is covered in large dark brown splodges. But it wasn’t just that. My scalp was burning and reduced me to tears from the pain. I could almost live with oily gunk on my head every night but it was the seeming endlessness of it which made me go to the GP who immediately referred me to a dermatologist.
After several visits (to the dermatologist – and another story in itself), it transpired I had a ‘serious allergy’ to tomatoes – which as you probably know includes aubergines, chillis, peppers and potatoes. Also included were soy products. Now for a veggie, that leaves next to bugger-all you have left!
Within a couple of weeks of giving up all those food stuffs, all splodges went and my back reverted to its normal niceness. Phew! Palpable relief. (The itchy scalp thankfully stopped after giving up cheese.)
Then, circa 2013 (not entirely sure exactly when TBH but at least two full years if not longer), I started to get hives on one side of my stomach and on one shoulder. I didn’t bother going back to the dermatologist, just got a repeat prescription for anti-histamines and Eumovate and did my own elimination diet.
And, oh misery, no rice, no green veg, even carrots and peas caused reactions. Eating became so stressful and my social life died as it was so difficult finding anything to eat.
Who knows what the issue could be: histamine levels, lousy enzyme digestives, leaky gut, liver not healing properly or just plain stress? It all meant I had to start eating fish again – albeit not every week.
Then I had a fright a while back with low white blood cell count so had to take collagen.So I am now in a position where I am a vegetarian by desire alone. I still think of myself as a veggie but clearly am not – hence this confession.
That said, unless a doctor orders it, it is unlikely I’ll be eating meat, let alone another steak tartare! .