Not Vegetarian, not Vegan: Caretarian

*One month into the journey of living a healthier, “clean” vegetarian-eating lifestyle.*

Its no secret that I’ve struggled with my weight pretty much my whole life. Only within the last few years have I began to face the reasons why food has been a crutch for me & within the last several months (with the last month being a true, 100% dedication) have I begun to make healthier, life-changing eating habits.

Several years ago, during college, I did a rotation at a pig slaughterhouse. Even though I was in the vet department, I personally saw the execution of hundreds of pigs. Saw the way they were exsanguinated & drowned in their own blood…suffering for your breakfast bacon. I swore off pork (and I did really well for several years until about 2yrs ago when I accidentally ate a piece…and I hate to admit, but it was really good!). That was the start of making me look at meat differently & where it came from, however, it wasn’t enough for me to cut it out completely.


I’ve struggled with this. I’ve always felt “guilty” about eating meat. Felt guilty about eating eggs. Felt guilty about buying leather products. Felt guilty about eating fish & seafood (my favorite!). It was an internal struggle for me being an “animal lover”, priding myself on being involved in animal & wildlife conservation & rehabilitation, being their “voice”, all the while I’m aiding in their slaughter. Its weighed heavy on me for years, but yet I did nothing. I’ve always kind of, sort of, in-a-way, been on the verge of being a vegetarian. I could go for weeks & not eat any meat, but I’d never made an “conscious” decisions to cut it out completely. And then this past fall I had a wake-up call from a co-worker. He’s a hunter & on a lazy Saturday afternoon we were discussing hunting & my issues with it. He asked me point blank,”How can you be such an animal lover & preach conservation if you’re eating meat. That’s hypocritical.”


I was actually speechless. And trust me, it takes a lot for me to be speechless. But I had no response because I knew, in my heart, that he was right. I made the decision then & there that I was done. Say what you will about me, but I’m not a hypocrite. I’d never take a stand on something unless I can support it 100% & I won’t back down from it…and he was right (which I hated) but my behavior wasn’t matching my beliefs.

The transition didn’t happen overnight. I decided that on Jan. 1st I was making the full-throttle commitment to become vegetarian. For several months I slowly started buying products to stock my pantry, began researching what vitamins I would need, what changes my body would go through & vegetarian recipes. I wanted to be as prepared as I could for what I knew was a lifestyle change. Through my research I discovered more about what “clean” eating is; and how you need to cut out preservatives, buy & eat mostly raw foods, as well as, cutting out most dairy products & meat.

Overwhelmed…yeah, I think so!

Luckily for me, I’ve got a plethora of friends that are vegetarians/vegans & have guided me through this process with tips, recipes, & emails of support that its been a fairly smooth transition. Although, I’ve been buying mostly all “vegan” products, I’m not a vegan. Northern Ohio (and the area I live in) isn’t the most friendly of places for living a vegan & “clean” eating lifestyle. For my personal home, I buy all soy & plant based cheeses; non-dairy products, but I don’t freak out if I’m somewhere & they don’t have vegan friendly options. So….I’m still eating dairy when I have to. I’ve started to make as many products homemade as I can (insert my weird obsession with Little House on the Prairie, country living) & will post recipes for the homemade mayonnaise, ketchup, bread, cottage cheese & other staples that I’ve been experimenting with. I’m very, very happy to say that I haven’t touched meat in exactly one month! And I’m loving it! One of the main health reasons for wanting to make the switch to a plant-based life was my weight & my skin (I’ve got dozens, upon dozens of skin allergies). Although, I haven’t noticed to much difference in the red-undertones my skin has had since adolescences, my mother has….so I’ll take it. Since weeding out meat & preservatives I’ve lost 20pounds, with 7 of those pounds being just this month since weeding it out completely. I’ll take that too! That’s with no extra exercise, other than my daily walks with my dog. And I do feel lighter & not as weighed down, I also seem to have more energy (which is awesome). It’s been a very positive experience for me & one that I’m gladly hoping to stick to.


*after several months of experimentation, my homemade bread is turning out nicely*

So I’m coining my lifestyle change (drumroll please!) “Caretarian”…which means, I’m not a vegetarian, I’m not a vegan…but I’m Carey. I’m doing this for Carey. I’m making lifestyle changes for Carey. I’m eating healthier & loving Carey more. I’m caring about Carey & what she puts into her body. I’m not stressing about following a strict diet, if I want chocolate…I’m going to eat chocolate. If I feel like indulging & eating a bag of popcorn & having a beer (okay, maybe 2) for dinner (like I did tonight)…I do it. But at the end of the day if my conscious is clear, clean, & I’m feeling good about the decisions I’ve made that day….then I’m a good Caretarian.

Last week when I told my co-worker that he was the reason I’ve made a commitment to getting healthier in 2013 & reminded him of what he said. In typical man-fashion he said, “I’ve been known to change a few women’s lives…”

Rolling my eyes is also part of living the Caretarian lifestyle.

Blessings & good health in 2013

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;  you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” –1 Corinthians 6:19-20-

(my verse for this chapter of my life story)






Filed under *SMILE*, Being Caretarian, Faith & God, Fun-ness Aplenty!, Healthy Living, Inspiration, Memories, Vegetarian

4 responses to “Not Vegetarian, not Vegan: Caretarian

  1. You knew I’d comment on this =) So very proud and happy for you. Not because you’re leaning plant-based, but because you have chosen to take control and live a healthier life so you can be a better you. As you know, I’ve been there, so I can understand. Although I will readily say I’m vegan I absolutely hate labels and still stand by the fact that you need to make it your own and find out what works for you. I’m in your corner rooting for you! Have you checked out HappyHerbivore? Real simple recipes. She has books and also some recipes online.

    • Carey D. Henderson

      Haha!!! Yep, I knew you would. That was one of my first thoughts when I hit the “post” button in my draft window–wonder what Heidi will say *wink wink*. I knew it’d be positive support though & I appreciate it! It feels great to “have it out there” & now have accountability on my shoulders. Weight is something I’ve struggled up/down with for years, but I’ve always went the quick/fad diet route & when that got old, the weight returned. Its been a never-ending cycle, so feels great to actually hit it at the core! 🙂 I did look at that website, I love it! I check out the facebook page all the time, its terrific! I will be purchasing some of her cookbooks in the future.

  2. Bridget

    Good for you, Carey! I loved reading about your journey!

    • Carey D. Henderson

      Thanks, B!!! I appreciate the support & all the tips you’ve dished out! Its helped a lot & I’ve tried a few of them (especially the black bean burger reciepe I found on one of the sites you recommended…fell apart on me, but the crumbles were dee-lish!) 🙂

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