I have done the impossible: At the age of 21, I have finally completed a New Year's resolution! No, I didn't lose twenty pounds or fix any of my procrastination habits. Instead, I finally appeased the five year old flower child I used to be and I stopped eating meat.
Let me explain. After watching Fast Food Nation in my eighth grade social studies class, I wanted to be a vegetarian. I immediately stopped eating beef and pork as soon as I watched the videos of how animals die in slaughterhouses. I somehow justified eating chicken because "chickens are horribly mean". As if that was a good enough reason. I kept this diet up for a year and a half until I went to Kerala during the summer of 2009. In India, especially where I'm from, you either eat whatever is put in front of you or you don't eat at all. So I started eating meat again just to survive the summer.
I came back home and continued to eating meat because frankly, I felt like it was too much of an inconvenience to have any sort of dietary restrictions. But I still felt this longing in my heart to cut out meat altogether (including the chicken)! The problem was that I had lost faith in myself. For God's sake, my favorite restaurant was Buffalo Wild Wings! I craved cheeseburgers daily! Bacon was my favorite breakfast item! It seemed too impossible. Not to mention, whenever I expressed my desire to stop eating meat, I was bombarded with everyone in my life telling me I would never be able to do it.
I don't know what changed December 2015. I think 2015 had beat me down so much that I needed to prove to myself that I could do anything I put my mind to. Maybe I just wanted to prove myself that I had some control over my life. Whatever it was, I made a plan for the year on New Year's Eve. I split the year into thirds (something the math part of me could understand). From January to April, I focused on not eating beef. From May to August, it was pork. And finally, from September onwards, I would stop eating chicken.
And I did it. I haven't slipped up once! We've just come into November and I haven't eaten chicken in two months!
Now for the (not so) currently eating! I've had many "last suppers" this year. Food has always been like a warm hug to me. I love food. It's my greatest comfort. So these last suppers were like saying goodbye to old friends (as dramatic as that sounds).
Towards the end of December, I definitely had my fair share of cheeseburgers. It's funny, as much as I loved cheeseburgers up until this point, beef was the easiest thing for me to give up. I haven't missed it since 2016 started.
For the whole month of April, I ate bacon every single day. My mom made me a whole pack of bacon and snuck it into whatever meal I could. It was a bittersweet goodbye, but I regret none of April and my bacon overload.
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In August, I'm pretty sure I went to Buffalo Wild Wings a million times. Chicken was the hardest thing to part with, specifically my favorite restaurant of all time! If you ever go there, and can handle spicy food, I definitely suggest trying the Mango Habanero wings. Every time I ordered them, I would ask for extra blue cheese sauce and about five glasses of water, but it was totally worth it.
(Photo Credit here)
Another last meal in August was chicken over rice at the halal cart on Hillel Place. LET ME TELL YOU HOW MUCH I DREADED THIS DAY! Chicken over rice has consistently been my greatest comfort food. Whenever I needed a pick me up after a bad day at school, I would always get some chicken over rice with a lot of white sauce! Please try it. It's delicious. It'll make your heart happy. Trust me!
(Photo Credit here)
This change has been a wild ride. The truth is I'm still trying to find ways to adjust to this lifestyle, but I don't regret it at all. I just thought it would be more interesting to talk about what I had chosen to be my last meals this year instead of talking about what I'm actually currently eating (Which is rice. Lots and lots of rice).