I announced to my mom when I was 8 that I was going to be a vegetarian. It surprised the heck out of her. I don't really remember what influenced me, but I think it had something to do with the movie "Bingo" (1991) where a butcher used to sell stray dogs as meat (and this was a kids movie?!). That was horrifying and it helped me make that animals-as-food connection. Know what I mean? Also, I had a teacher tell us a scary story about a butcher that sold human meat. I don't know what it was with me and butcher stories that year. Yuck.
I just read the synopsis for this movie... no wonder I went veg! At least it had a happy ending? Egads.
I flirted with vegetarianism off-and-on until I was 17, when I finally made the decision to go veg. Although, even when I didn't declare myself a vegetarian, I still wasn't eating that much meat. It's always kind of grossed me out. On nights where my mom made everybody a steak, I'd eat cereal or something. I've never tasted ribs or lamb or most seafood and fish, etc. and I haven't touched a piece of steak since I was eight.
I've always loved cooking. I made my first batch of cookies when I was seven (I made sure I asked Dad when Mom wasn't around, cause I knew he'd let me. Ha!). I used to watch the cooking shows on Discovery where they spoke in French and had a British lady do the voiceover. However, even though I liked to cook, I didn't broaden my horizons until I took a cooking/nutrition class my senior year of high school. When I moved out on my own, I really started cooking!
I finished my Bachelor's of Science degree in biology in December 2011. Plants (and fungi!!) are my thing. I'm currently a graduate student in plant biology and I'm doing research in molecular and cellular plant and fungal biology. I intend to get a doctorate and do research in the private sector. I might teach when I get older.You know, after I gain some worldly experience. Maybe. Go plants!
I grew up in a small town (<4900 people) that was next to a small city (<72000). However, this city is located smack dab in the Midwest and it is extremely close-minded. It didn't have a health food store until HyVee (a Midwest grocery chain) showed up about five years ago. It has a pathetic farmer's market (the kind where almost nothing is produce!). There isn't a single place that serves veg food unless you count Chipotle and Panera (both are still fairly new, by the way), and the mall we have is 75% vacant. We have more restaurants than most cities our size. I swear it's one of the only industries keeping our unemployment down. We also have a shit ton of condemned buildings in the northtown, midtown, and southend areas. Oh, and there's also a lot of meth and STDs. One upside to the place I live is... well, we have a Chipotle. And we're close (enough) to Kansas City! When I leave to go to grad school, I won't miss it.
UPDATE: Now, that I'm in grad school and in a town I love, I DEFINITELY don't miss my hometown. In fact, when I think of it, I imagine some sort of gloomy cloud hanging over the place with a few lightning strikes in the background of the Pony Express statue. Seriously.
Anywho. I'm a metal head. I tend to wear black t-shirts with large graphics on them and jeans. I used to be sort-of "goth" but I've toned it down a bit since I'm expected to dress more professionally. I love to dress up for events though, and I love shoes and high fashion (helloooo Harper's Bazaar), but I can only dream such clothing as I'm meandering through the local thrift stores (I will always refuse to pay full price!). I used to have fushia hair and an eyebrow ring and a snakebite (two lip rings), but not at the same time. I miss the snakebite because I looked like a badass, it just sucked because you couldn't bite into an apple without it pulling on the rings. How can you be a vegan and not bite into a piece of fruit?! And that was just the least of things I could do! Ahem...
My bottom lip is a little swollen.
Oh, yeah. I went vegan right before I turned 20 when I worked at Chipotle (I'm 24 now). That made being a healthy vegan easy. I got a free meal everyday. I still love that place, and I go there
As a vegan, I never missed cheese or ice cream. I missed yogurt. I finally found two brands I like (Whole Soy & Co. and Wildwood), so I'm content. I was kind of lactose intolerant anyway, so giving up the dairy made me feel great!
Being vegan also expanded my palette. I had never tried lentils, Indian food, Thai food, couscous, sweet potatoes, fresh peaches and pears, split peas, and various types of grains and beans (and more). I also eat way more vegetables now. In fact, I haven't meet a vegetable I don't like! And actually, becoming vegan has led me down a path I never thought it would... Not only do I eat a variety of foods, I eat healthy. A complete 180 from how I used to eat (as a young vegetarian I would survive off pasta, cereal, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches). I've also become more aware of factory farming, animal cruelty, the state of our environment, and nutrition. Amazing.
Oh, and I'm thinking about getting my first tattoo. It will probably be a picture of Albizia julibrissin (the pink variety, which has special meaning to me), and it will be draped around one of my shoulders. I'm designing it myself.
What? You thought it would be something other than a plant???