I’ve been a vegetarian for 12+ years. Since I was young I never really liked eating other animals. For me, it’s something that always felt kind of foreign and awkward to me. When my family would have steak and vegetables for dinner I (more often than not) would have a simple plate of veggies. I didn’t even really try things like roast chicken, lamb or beef until I was around 14; I didn’t eat seafood either. It wasn’t until my late teens that I started to have any idea about the concept of a vegetarian or vegan diet. As silly as it may sound, I didn’t know that it was even an option for me.
I started hanging out with one of my punk friends and his family who were all vegetarian and I was slowly introduced to a whole new way of eating that felt completely natural to me. Becoming a vegetarian opened me up to a whole new world of food and tastes! I had never eaten capsicum, mushrooms, zucchini, cucumber, sweet potato, mangoes, blueberries, lentils and more until I became a vegetarian and started to learn more about different foods and their benefits to us.
A big decision for me choosing to become a vegetarian stemmed from a long period of illness. In my teens I had a lot of stomach problems. After a ridiculous amount of tests, the doctor diagnosed me with a stomach condition and put me on a course of antibiotics which required me to take 21 tablets daily. After a few days, I felt the antibiotics made me sicker than my usual stomach troubles so, I decided to take myself off the medication. I decided to take my health into my own hands and started researching diet and nutrition. I decided to become a vegetarian. Within a couple of months of cutting all meat and animal products from my diet, I started to feel better and the stomach pain etc. started to subside. I went back to the doctor for more tests and they all came back clear. The doctor said, ‘I don’t know what you’ve done but the stomach infection is gone.’ Through my own experience I realised that we have the power to heal our own body.
Later on, during interviews with bands’ whose members were vegetarian or vegan, I started to learn through our discussions about the cruelty that animals endure as a result of our consumption of them and also the impact those kinds of industries have on our planet. John Feldmann (of Goldfinger) first told me about the book, Diet For A New America by John Robbins; that book had a huge impact on me and sealed the deal for my choosing not to eat animals anymore. Now being conscious of the pain another sentient being went through simply for me to eat a meal when there were so many other options and alternatives available just didn’t sit right with me. Over a decade later I’m still really happy with the choice that I made.
Diet is a very personal thing. I’m not writing this to try to convince you to be a vegetarian or vegan. I’m simply sharing my story and the story of people (see below videos) whose creativity I’ve grown up being inspired by. As regular readers of ConversationsWithBianca.com will know, I do a lot of learning and growing in my life through the interviews I do and connections I make with people I chat with. I often find that when I want to learn about something I default to what I know best and that is familiar to me—punk and hardcore music and the people who make it as it has been a constant in my life since I was a teen. Over the years, punk and hardcore has given me a great platform to explore myself and the world.
Ultimately, as with anything in life, you have to experience things for yourself; they have more meaning and value to us when we experience it for ourselves. Each of our bodies and lifestyles are different and therefore require different things. I believe that we know our bodies best and if we take the time to get in touch with our own cycles and rhythms it’s possible to instinctively know what we need to function at our best. That’s one thing I really do urge you to do–to listen to your body and do your own research. How much thought do you give to what you put in your body to fuel it? Make an informed choice…
Tim Mc Ilrath:
Wishing you a beautiful day filled with lots of yummy goodness!
Gratitude & compassion,
*Thanks Z (you can find his band here) for sparking the idea for this post by posting the Ian MacKaye clip on FB the other day.