Becoming a Vegetarian in India

Becoming a Vegetarian in India

Becoming a Vegetarian in India

Over the past year, I have tried to become more conscious of the products I am buying, trying to ensure that I am purchasing items that are better for my health and the environment, and making sure that nothing I am using has been tested on animals. The first switch was based mainly on beauty products, but I hoped to eventually make a bigger change, focusing on my diet. I started eating more vegetarian options, but wasn’t sure I could give up meat fully. Knowing that my first month in India would be vegetarian, I knew it would be my chance to try out the diet and decide at the end if it was a switch I was ready for or not.

While I was worried that I would miss my favorite dishes, the longer I ate vegetarian, the less I wanted meat. By week two, just the thought of meat would make me cringe, even though it wasn’t anywhere near me, as Rishikesh is a meat free town. In my mind, this was a good sign that I would be able to keep up with the diet.

Becoming a Vegetarian in India

As the weeks at Rishikesh Yog Dham continued to pass by, that aversion to meat stuck with me and I continued to enjoy the vegetarian options that were being offered to me at the school. If I wasn’t bored with the diet after a month, I felt inspired to keep it going, especially because I had no desire to change back to the way I used to eat. I began to realize that this was a lifestyle I could continue once I returned home.

Leaving the safety of Rishikesh made me nervous, but I was determined to stay vegetarian, at least for my remaining time in India. In Agra, we saw meat on the menu for the first time, although I had no desire for it. In Bangalore, I was lucky enough to have dinner made for me, and even though I was one of only two vegetarians in the house, and I was surrounded by meat each day, it didn’t bother me and I wasn’t tempted to eat it. Actually, I was a bit repulsed by the idea of ingesting it, even though it didn’t bother me to see other people eating it, I had no desire to put it in my body.

Becoming a Vegetarian in India

On my way home from volunteering, I would pass by butchers and see meat hanging up at the stalls, which only increased my desire to remain a vegetarian. I thought back to the conversations we had in anatomy and philosophy classes about being a vegetarian and thinking about where our meat was coming from. Those rickshaw rides really drove that home for me.

The biggest test, however, was my arrival home. America isn’t as easy for a vegetarian as India was. Sure, there are plenty of options, but I do feel that they aren’t as healthy as what I was eating in India. But, even with Christmas, in an Italian family who loves their meat and fish, I was able to bypass anything with meat and figure my own way around it. I’ve only been home about four weeks, but I am finding recipes and options out there and sticking with my plan. Even my favorite meat options, hamburgers and prosciutto, are suddenly unappealing, which is something I never believed would have happened.

Becoming a Vegetarian in India

What I am most interested in is what will happen while I am traveling. I used to be a very adventurous eater, making sure to try it all, especially while traveling, but now that I am no longer eating meat and fish, that will change a few things. In a way, I am excited for the new experience as it will give me a perspective and make me pause and think before I eat, which in turn will make me more mindful toward food. It will change the way I see and understand a destination a bit, but I don’t feel like I’ll be missing out too much. I guess we’ll just have to see.

Will I stay a vegetarian forever? I am not sure, as that’s a relatively loaded question, since I have no idea what my future holds. But, as long as I continue to feel as good as I do and as long as it’s what’s best for my body, I will continue my life meat free. For now, I feel better than I have in a long time, and I have my yoga and vegetarian diet to thank for that.

Are you a vegetarian? Vegan? How has it affected your travels? Do you have any recipes for me? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you!

Spread the love
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Comments (7)

  1. Pola (Jetting Around)

    Fantastic! Welcome to the veggie world, Erin! It’s been almost 20 years for me (and one of the reasons I wanted to go to India – it was a foodie pilgrimage for me). I hope the transition goes smoothly and you won’t have to hear too many questions from meat-loving friends, such as “Don’t you miss meat?” (to which I usually reply, “I wasn’t sentenced to vegetarianism,” haha.) Cheers.

    1. The World Wanderer

      Thanks, Pola! I am loving it. Sometimes there are difficult moments, but I know that it’ll get easier. Wish the restaurants here had a few more options! I understand your foodie pilgrimage for sure – what a great one! I already want to go back, for the food and everything else, of course. Haha, so far they have been ridiculously supportive, so I feel very blessed. It’s only been a month at home, so it’s also still new for them…we shall see!

  2. magaperumal

    My numerous trips to india I try to stick to a vegetarian diet so as not to spoil my trip there with an indian belly, the irony being born a hindu and being vegetarian most days in a week I still am unable to be a full fledge vegetarian. I have gone vegetarian for a few months due to certain religious prayers and etc but were never able to sustain that wholesome vegetarian diet I wouldnt deny the fact once the fact once from vegetarian diet changes to meat eating diet it feels like I have loaded rocks into my belly. I sure do feel like a beached whale but despite that I still cant quite keep up with being a vegetarian or at least up to now. Cheers I am not going to beat myself about it when the journey happens it will happen naturally, though I couldnt agree more with the writer how after being vegetarian for a month it does feel a kinda of awkward when one starts eating meat. Of course the feel good factor the lightness of the body and mind is all I feel when on vegetarian diet, so for me I am going to let it happen naturally when the body mind and soul is ready for the change perhaps it will happen.

    1. The World Wanderer

      I think it’s important to let it just happen. I feel so good, I’m actually afraid of putting meat in my stomach now! I never thought I could do it, but here I am, although we will see how long it will last. It’s definitely more difficult at home in America. Good luck with your journey!

  3. the-worldwide

    Vegetable in India is truly very delicious. You had a good taste and great decision.

    1. The World Wanderer

      Thanks so much! Yes, they were so delicious! I am ready to go back now 😉

  4. Eating Vegan in Russia | The World Wanderer

    […] someone who recently became a vegetarian, I am curious to see how my new life choice will affect my travels. Since my only experience has […]

Post a comment