Five years. It seems like such a short time ago when you say “…in 2012,” but feels like forever ago when I think of what I was doing then and how much I’ve done since.

In 2012, I was a bright-eyed bushy-tailed first year university student, stressed about school and everything that goes along with living by myself for the first time. I had met some really amazing people in that first year and I was enjoying the independence.

Five years ago today, I decided to alter my diet and give the whole vegetarianism thing a try. And to be honest, I’ve never regretted this decision since then (I’ve had some cravings for meat, but nothing I couldn’t overcome with cauliflower or mock-meat substitutes). When people ask me why, the answer I’ve given has evolved over time. It first started out as something I’d always wanted to try and when I told a friend of mine, she jokingly said she’d give me $50 if I lasted a year (I’ve yet to see that money [; ).

As I studied more in school, I became aware of the environmental impacts that eating meat has on the planet and decided that to acknowledge the dangers of climate change, I couldn’t rightfully partake in an industry that is one of the largest contributors of C02 [1 -Original Article2, 3, 4]. I also started to learn about (an unfortunately see) the process of turning a cow/pig/chicken into a patty/bacon/wings and decided, it was just something I couldn’t stomach.

I should emphasize, this was a personal decision based on my own personal held beliefs and values. I get it, vegetarianism isn’t for everyone and I’m not here to shame you for eating meat (I did it jokingly once to someone and he took it very personally –  I learned that people would be more open to learning and discussing when I wasn’t acting superior or like a know-it-all). I must acknowledge to that in some places around the world, being vegetarian may not be an option. I am very privileged to live in a country where I have the choice to give up meat and the accessibility to a healthy diet without it.

I won’t deny that in the past 5 years, there have been challenges. Whether there are limit (to no) options on a menu at a restaurant and at a barbecue or the terrible cauliflower price hike of 2015 or even people rolling their eyes when you ask for new gloves that haven’t touched meat (I’m definitely still working on the confidence and assertiveness for this one). The worst experience I had was when a lady in a coffee shop got my order wrong and gave me a sandwich with meat. I was very hangry and hadn’t realized there was meat until a few bites in, which resulted in a panic attack/cry-fest in the middle of the store.

But on the other hand, it has also widened my horizon (and taste-buds) to trying new things I would have never tried before. I like experimenting with new recipes and cooking for family and friends exposing them to tasty meals sans la viande.

And so today, I find myself 5 years on. Who knows where I’ll be in 5 years, but if they’re anything like the past 5, I’m pretty excited to see what’s in store.

I hope you enjoyed! If you’re considering going vegetarian, have questions or want some delicious recipe ideas, comment below!

Where were you 5 years ago today? Where do you want to be 5 years from now?