Vegetarianism challenges dietary norms; by leaving meat off your plate, you rebel against tradition, culture, and a lifetime of brainwashing. This adjustment proves that you are capable of evolving based on your values. That you can genuinely become a better person because of information that you’ve gleamed.
When you’re confident in your personal decisions and moral behaviours, there is no need to be discouraged by the problems you see around you. If you feel that climate change is a problem, you take action in your life. You can critically look at your habits that are toxic to the planet, and change them. This practice is incredibly empowering. There is no need to be complacent with that which troubles you.
These informed decisions to lower your carbon footprint; consciously reduce your waste, to treat animals with decency and compassion are all significant steps that make a difference. There’s an organic growth of one meaningful action facilitating the next. Maybe you start by cutting out red meat. Then you being to question where your food comes from. You realize how much trash you were mindlessly collecting on the curb, and you start composting and buying less products wrapped in plastic. You might install a solar panel, or switch out your soaps for biodegradable and river-friendly alternatives. Perhaps you start biking to work, realizing that commuting can be great exercise, not time washed down the drain. You can build a healthy physique while saving the emissions tied to car use. It’s all about reframing, changing your perspective. Once you are fully in charge of your own decisions, you become master of crafting your own experience. It is absolutely possible to reprogram the conditioning that held you back.
When you are awakened to the injustices of the world, there’s no reason to feel helpless. You hold the keys to impacting change for the better. Little decisions like exchanging beef for beans, or chicken for seitan have serious ripple effects. This phenomenon expands when we factor in social media. Influencers today capitalize on their audiences’ attention to promote a cause, service, or product. Influencers influence. We want to be like them, or have the life they have, because it seems so much more exciting and fulfilling than our own. When one person decides to stop eating meat, they inevitably make a difference. But when one influencer makes the same decision, and broadcasts to their followers why it is a liberating, helpful, beautiful choice, this decision has infinite potential. Rather than preaching to others why we’re living a great life, we can set the right example, for our planet, for our fellow humans, for the future.
A vegetarian diet is only the appetizer in the buffet of questioning societal norms. There is no inherent problem in tradition, but it takes a healthy dose of critical thinking to decipher true right and wrong, unencumbered by social programming. After upending something as fundamental as your diet, why does any other perceived boundary have to hold you back?