Chef at a restaurant holding a tray full of carrots. Source: Tina Stafrén/imagebank.sweden.se

Sweden Made Me: Vegetarian

Following the great series of posts that my colleague and good friend Sania started, I will now share my story on how Sweden changed me. Over the past year I’ve learned a lot of things, and I do have to agree with Sania’s post about the force being strong in Sweden (yes, I’m a Star Wars fanboy). The force works in mysterious ways, this time it taught me to be more aware of what I’m eating.

One of the main reasons for me choosing Sweden was sustainability. I wanted to be in a place where sustainability played a huge role, and it was definitely a great decision. A few months ago I would never consider a plant-based diet as an option for me. Fast forward to today, and here I am, being a vegetarian.

Potatoes harvest close-up.

Source: Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se

Sweden is indeed life changing.

To be honest I used to think that vegetarians were a bunch of snobbish people just bashing against steaks and bacon. Sweden indeed made me realize a few things that completely change my paradigm about food and the choices we make everyday before eating. Maybe at this point you are thinking “well, cool story but I’m not really interested in being a vegetarian”, so I won’t try to convience anyone. Instead, I will just share my experience on how Sweden made me realize that everyday decisions have an impact on our environment and how we can change them.

I wrote a post about the documentary “Before the Flood” almost a year ago, and the way we should take action against global warming. My conclusion at that time was: to get involved. A year after, I would say that I’ve learned more things about sustainability just by being in Sweden and asking random questions than in the past 23 years. Yet, I’m no expert at all. I’m just a regular student who is extremely good at taking naps concerned about the environment.

My food choices are different now.

My flatmate is vegan, and our conversations are 60% about food, 15% of “how hard the life of a student is (according to us)”, 20% about football and 5% about video games, memes and random stuff that happens on the internet. Out of that 60% mostly it was me asking questions. Until one day I said “what the heck! Let’s just try some vegetarian food”. Slowly I tried more and different stuff, different combinations that I would never consider. After long conversations, a few hours reading different articles online, looking at videos, documentaries, and many other life events. I decided to try out a vegetarian diet.

If you are curious about how does current food production impacts our environment, there are a lot of documentaries online, and a lot of scientific articles about it. I like this one in particular.

Organic farming in a greenhouse.

Source: Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se

Organic farming outdoors.

Source: Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se

The results (so far)…

All these different interactions that I had, showed me that there is a better alternative to our food choices. It’s been a slow transition, and I still need to gather more information to make better decisions, but so far so good. My main driving force for changing my diet is: to lower my carbon footprint in this planet as much as I can. Of course there are many benefits as a consequence of a plant-based diet, but for me it’s all about improving sustainability.

Another great thing that I found out, is that it is so easy to be vegetarian in Sweden (I haven’t tried it yet in Mexico or anywhere else, but I’m sure that there are ways of making your way through). Elke had a similar experience, she also became vegetarian in Sweden and wrote a few great posts about it.

It is amazing how steping outside of the comfort zone often has positive results. I would never consider being vegetarian before coming to Sweden, and it is even more amazing to talk with people and hear similar stories on how Sweden changed them, how they are taking actions to become better persons.

Andrés

Mexican student doing a MSc in Automotive Engineering at Chalmers. I live in Gothenburg, Sweden. Email your questions, comments or requests to andres.studyinsweden@gmail.com
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