Never did I think I would actually want to be vegetarian. My entire life (mind you I’m still only 16 years old) I’ve always been the “nah I like chicken too much to go vegetarian” kind of person.
That’s why I was so blown away when I made the decision on the spot to become vegetarian after watching a ten minute video called, “What Cody Saw Will Change Your Life.“
The YouTube video contained footage of how overly sized factory animal agriculture farms run the way they do.
Within this short video contained real life undercover footage of people turning up to these factory farms claiming to want to work there. When they are hired, they actually film the farming operations and treatment of animals with tiny hidden cameras, capturing heartbreaking footage of piglets getting held by the legs and slammed into cold concrete floor with the peoples bare hands. It made my stomach churn. It made me question human kind.
The video progressed further to show a conveyor belt packed with freshly hatched chicks, thousands and thousands of them being taken along the moving belt and down into a fine grinder that literally rolls them paper thin, completely alive and conscious. Why this heart breaking end to their lives? Because the chicks aren’t female and are thus deemed ‘useless’.
The video continued on and by this stage I couldn’t handle it anymore. I was emotionally overwhelmed by this one video; so mad at the fact that I had been basically supporting factories like these all my life with my carnivorous diet. I felt so helpless just sitting there staring at my phone screen but at the same time I was so grateful for the film’s producers Mercy For Animals for educating me on this horrendous issue.
I immediately left the channel and clicked the “sign up for support and become vegetarian today” button and typed my email address in. I got a ‘thank you’ response from the organisation and initial tips on how to handle becoming a vegetarian.
The email also provided vegetarian recipes and ingredients to use; encouraging a transition to a non-animal diet and helping to shut down those mindless chicken nugget cravings of mine.
Related Post: How Meat Eaters Can Transition to a Vegetarian Diet
At this point, I immediately messaged Jen the link of the video and informed her that I was now vegetarian. She was so excited for me and supportive as I expected she would be. She urged me to keep a diary to write about my experience for inspiration for other people. I was seriously determined to make a change in my eating habits.
So on 28th of February my vegetarian mission began. It didn’t start off too well.
Around the time I swore off eating animals, KFC were selling their chicken nuggets (which just so happens to be my favourite food) for just $10. I was struggling with the idea of having to give up my finger-lickin’ delicacy, but decided that I needed to for the sake of those animals.
Anyway, I went to school the next day as a vegetarian rookie and packed a container of lettuce leaves (yes, literally just lettuce in a container) I was so unaware at the time of the huge variety of tasty food to choose from. I was at school munching on my plain lettuce but all I could think of was going home to feast on the tasty chicken schnitzels in the fridge.
I got home from school and needed to avoid the schnitzels in the fridge, so put my energy into making and enjoying a big mug of coffee to calm my meat withdrawals. I had only just made the decision to become vegetarian so I didn’t want to give up so soon. I focussed on feeling pride in making the right decision.
I went to bed early that night. I blamed it on needing rest for my weekly traineeship day at work but really, I was avoiding the bacon that mum just cooked to include in the delicious-smelling chicken Caesar salad.
The following day was going to be a hard day – that much I knew. Every Thursday I went in to work, I got into the habit of making the trip down to KFC for lunch. What was worse was that Jen was in Melbourne so I wasn’t even going to get her moral support or have her make me accountable.
However when lunch time came around, I breathed a sigh of relief. Ben, Jen’s partner, who runs his own marketing business, had planned to film some footage for an advertisement he was creating for a local burger joint and needed all of us to take part in the commercial. Being force to eat a burger for work is not my fault.
Ben needed us to sit at the best burger place in Gympie, enjoying each other’s company whilst eating burgers – big juicy burgers – so he could capture the moment for the ad. What was even better was that he was PAYING. I could see my vegetarian diet going downhill instantly.
I explained to Ben how I had just turned vegetarian and didn’t want to put my hungry self in a burger-filled building full of juicy chicken and tender steak and crispy bacon and of course all he could do was laugh. Jen is vegan, Ben is obviously not.
So as I sat in the burger restaurant filled with the fragrance of bacon and steak and trying my hardest to beat my chicken addiction. I sat at the table listening to everyone reading out the menu describing each burger. I stared at my menu trying my hardest to picture how disappointed Jen would be when she got back from her trip. I tried to picture those helpless chicks being taken down the conveyer belt and ground up alive and all. But as hard as I tried, my craving for a big burger was overwhelmingly strong.
Then I did what only a weak vegetarian does, I gave into the temptation. I ordered a mouth-watering chicken burger.
And that was it. I did not live that down for a solid two weeks.
My friends at school joked about my 48-hour vegetarian experience and made it the news topic of the day. I sat there at lunch with a chicken burger in my hands and my bright red face full of embarrassment. I had my work colleagues and Ben paying me out for my lack of food control. Meanwhile I had Mercy For Animals emailing me every day telling me how good I was doing in my quest to avoid eating animals.
I finally accepted the fact that until I could conquer my need for chicken I just wasn’t set out to be a successful vegetarian.
I didn’t realise how much food has such enormous impact on our minds and how addictive it is.
Eating chicken is my addiction. I can’t stop even though I know what’s happened to it.
But I do plan on giving vegetarianism another try. Next time I’ll be much more prepared.
Below I’ve added the YouTube video that opened my eyes to the cruelty in factory farming. If you want to view it, just remember it’s extremely distressing.