I remember eating some biltong, around 2 years ago, exclaiming that I could never be a vegetarian. I just loved meat too much to even consider a plant-based diet.

I have heard a number of people saying that vegetarianism is the new in thing, and since I am one to dislike trends and fads, I paid no mind to the fact that half of my Facebook feed was about going vegetarian and vegan.

I used to work with a fully-fledged vegan who, might I just add, was not a vegan or vegetarian when we first started working together. Let’s call her R. I watched her transition from being a meat-eater to a vegan – her journey was inspiring, but I still didn’t have the will power or even the knowledge to go vegetarian. Back then, I thought that it was a difficult lifestyle to follow.

R and I parted ways when both of us moved on from the company we were working at, and a few months later we decided to go out for dinner with a few of our other old work colleagues. As we all sat down and caught up, I remember wondering how her lifestyle change was going – was she tired? Was she getting enough protein? Think she missed cheese? She was actually doing great – she looked healthy and her skin was glowing.

Hmmm… it got me thinking. Was it so difficult after all?

It was until Dillon and I went to Thailand a few months later that we decided to become vegetarians. The thought had been in the back of my mind for a number of months, but I was holding back because of how difficult I feared it would be without the support from Dillon.

Thailand made starting our journey very easy because there were always amazing vegetarian options on the menus. Just like I needed the push from R, I think Dillon needed the push from his best friend, Craig. Both Craig and Eleni are vegetarians and supported our new lifestyle choice during our travels through Thailand.

Dillon was more of a meat-lover than I ever was, so as soon as Dillon jumped on the vegetarian-train, that was it. I had to make the change before he had time to reconsider – we were vegetarians form that moment onwards.

Our month in Thailand, and a month as vegetarians had flown by. We came home feeling better about ourselves, determined to lead a more holistic and plant-based lifestyle.

Of course, coming back from our holiday meant that we needed to cook for ourselves. So we started researching meal plans, recipes, and the sort, and you know how research goes… we become entrenched in the space called the internet. We came across horrific things about the conditions of animals in the slaughter houses, and even on dairy farms. The sights are heart breaking and not something I want to go into detail about, but if you want to go and look, you can just Google it.

Society is so far removed from what happens to animals before they reach our grocery stores and finally, our plates. But like politics and religion, eating habits and lifestyle choices are on the top of the list of taboo topics to discuss at parties and events. I know that a few people have been curious as to my move to a plant-based diet, so if there are things that went unanswered in this post, drop me a note and I will be happy to answer anything.

But to answer the most commonly asked question of all, “Are you sure you are getting enough protein?”. Dillon and I are doing just peachy, and the answer is yes!

Another questions that I get from a lot of people is “Would I make the transition to veganism?” I am not going to say that I will never make the switch, because here I am a self-proclaimed meat lover turned vegetarian. Dillon and I are on our way to become vegans, but we are taking this lifestyle change one step at a time. Every month or so we decide what we are going to cut out of our diets until one day we reach a diet that is free of any animal by-products.

Tyla van Til

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