Let’s be honest, Episode 1: I want Meat

Let’s be honest is a Food Circle’s project with the aim to open up the conversation about the challenges when being or becoming a member of the SC (Sustainability Club). This series will shine a light on the different approaches to make life more sustainable, as well as the step-backs and difficulties that arise. Being more kind and understanding, instead of critical, will hopefully help to encourage us to try, instead of giving up when facing a step-back or failure. This is made possible thanks to Sapient, the mother company of Food Circle, which every year offers internships to students from all around the world creating a uniquely multicultural environment.

Let’s celebrate the achievements and give room for honesty and struggles!

For many, becoming a vegetarian or vegan is not only an ecological but also an ethical decision. Still, it means saying no to the food you used to like and eat. In this episode, we want to allow some honesty on the issues arising from changing eating habits.

Allow me to introduce Teressa, a newly committed vegetarian who says that her choice makes her feel better, however, the cravings are REAL! Which strength do you need to reach this level of feeling better health-wise? Whatever your motivation may be, whether it's for animal rights or health reasons, how difficult does it get to keep strong and power through?

Hello Teressa. If you could do something without any consequences, what would it be?

So, I decided to become vegetarian two months ago, therefore I would suppose that my response to this question would be to be able to eat meat without any consequences. The reason I became a vegetarian was because of the environmental impact but also because it is better for your health. Diabetes strongly runs in my family, so that impacted my decision as well.

With that said, how often do you crave meat?

I guess on average once a month. Usually, the craving comes to me when I see things that I used to eat.

“For example, sushi makes my cravings explode, also with Thanksgiving coming up, the turkey craving is real!”

Are you happy with your choice to quit being a carnivore?

Yes, I would say, I really decided to do this after spending a week in an eco-village, where we ate only vegan things. I felt so much more clean and energetic. Eating organically and good quality products just makes me feel so good about being vegetarian, and ultimately more healthy. However, there is still room for improvement, I could do more when it comes to being vegetarian, for example cutting out more processed foods.

Would you consider going pescatarian instead of a full-on vegetarian?

I am not sure. I think the challenge of not eating meat includes fish as well, however, it may be something to think about. The main issue for me in the beginning and the true reason why I quit was because of meat and fish not being farmed sustainably. Due to not being sure of fish being farmed and sold sustainability, it would probably just be better for me to stick to veggies and only veggies.

Do you have anyone doing this with you? If so, or if not, would you say that having someone else making the change with you helps/ would help?

This is a super question. I certainly believe it would help more. My partner is not vegetarian, and I really doubt he would make the change. Although he supports my change, I face challenges with his family. They believe that I am not getting all of the nutrients that I need, also they joke a bit about my meat substitutions. However, I decided to make the change anyway because it was so important to me, so I decided to kick ass and go for it. However, YES, I do wish I would have had a partner along with me on this journey.

Despite your cravings, do you think you will ever quit being a vegetarian?

I definitely think I will stay a vegetarian. Actually, I believe that this may be a step to becoming vegan, even. It has been really nice to be open with people about their cravings; hearing that I am not alone amongst other vegetarians or vegans makes me feel like this decision was right for my life and I feel heavily supported. A bit of advice would be: just GO FOR IT, maybe seek out some veggie friends for help. Making this change makes me feel like I am doing my part and I feel empowered, and so can YOU.

Thank you for your honesty, Teressa!

Deciding to change eating habits might not be as easy as it sometimes seems. So be humble with yourself. You do not have to go full in if you struggle a lot in the beginning. You can also start with reducing meat and if so, only buy regional and organically certified meat. Talk with others about your struggles and get tips on how to get used to new eating habits.

Facing backlash from family or friends, defending and questioning yourself is normal when you change.

Be brave, be kind to yourself and embrace the change. You can do it! Thank you for being an important member of the SC.

Interviewer: Cody Bush

Interviewed: Teressa Griffith

Editor and Writer: Lea Annikki Kaiser

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