Sixteen years ago, I became a vegetarian. At the time, I didn’t do it for ethical reasons or to save the planet. I had moved to a new place and my roommate was one. She liked to cook and I didn’t. After living with her for a while, and eating her dishes, I realized how long I had gone without eating meat. Did I feel “physically” different? Yes, actually, I did. The only way I could explain it is that I felt lighter and I don’t mean this in terms of my weight, which basically stayed the same. Because I liked the way I was feeling, I decided to stick with it and I’ve been going meatless ever since. I understand that as an individual I’ve made only a small impact on saved resources (water, land use) due to not consuming meat, but it’s something.
When I became pregnant last year, I thought a lot about how small amounts of chemicals, whether in food, soap, or a mattress, could affect a baby. Could these toxins have a stronger impact on her little body? Having her has inspired me to do research on safer soaps, toys, cleaning products, food, which then helps me to make better choices for things I would use myself. I knew then and still understand now that I can’t eliminate all hazards from coming in contact with her, but I can try to reduce them. These changes I’ve made haven’t made a huge impact on the world’s pollution or waste but it’s still something.
These small substitutions over time, however, could have a big impact on my health and my family’s health. By spreading the word on what I’ve learned, perhaps I can inspire others to want to do the same and all of us making safer choices for ourselves and the environment add up to measurable differences.
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