Why I Went Vegetarian

I know I have a couple of pounds that I need to get rid of, but if you honestly think that I went vegetarian for health and weight loss reasons, you need to check yourself again.

The Westgate attack happened on 21st September 2013. Thanks to a process called Equilibration, I was able to collapse the ordeal and move on with life.

As the First Anniversary of the attack was approaching, that entire week messed around with my head.

I was avoiding the one at Karura Forsest on Sunday, 21st September 2014 as that would have been too heavy. Too too heavy.

I got invited to a memorial for Westgate at The National Museum, where they had created a space for people to be together and share their testimonies. An exhibition done by Arjun Kohli.

That’s where I, for the first time in almost a year, spoke to Pablo’s family. It was filled with tears and emotions as I spoke to his Aunt, the lady who stopped in front of her mother’s body at Westgate and I told her she needs to move now (reference to this story in my post about Westgate). I oddly had closure after speaking to her.

A day or two later a journalist who is also a friend of mine, Kabir, came over to the East FM studios to take some pictures of the Westgate survivors for something he was putting together for the Anniversary.

While chatting, he said, “I will never forget what you told me when you came out of Westgate”. I was confused. I remember seeing him when I got out, but I don’t remember speaking to him or saying anything to him. I asked Kabir, what did I say? He said, “you said, “you’re going the wrong way, don’t go that way””.

As media started to make a fuss about the anniversary, the HBO Documentary got leaked as well. I was interviewed for it, but wasn’t featured and was actually quite thankful that they didn’t! I watched the leaked video at 1AM that night. It was well documented but left everyone with more questions than answers.

Anyway. I was lucky enough to have escaped from Nairobi for that weekend and had a great time camping with friends in Naivasha.

From that week till Christmas. My mind was not at peace. I felt constantly uneasy. Everything was just out of place. I detached myself from friends, drowned myself in work and literally isolated myself.

On Boxing Day I decided, I need to make a huge change in order for a change to occur. It had to be so huge, that it would actually affect my everyday life.

I chose to go vegetarian.

From 30th December 2014 I vowed to go as long as I can without any meat but kept the option of having eggs.

And it did actually make a difference. I was feeling lighter and more calm.

On 8th April 2015, I fainted. Went to the doc and he said it was just dehydration and gave me some vitamins and minerals.

On 30th April, fainted again. This time fell. Have a bump on my head and hurt my elbow too. Luckily, during both incidents I was at home and this time round the family was around.

Doc definitely got really concerned this time round and demanded that I at least start having fish if not chicken as well.

A lot of my vegetarian friends think he’s a useless doc if he can’t give me another option for protein and iron intake. But I kinda see where he’s coming from.

I was an omnivore all my life and then suddenly cut off meats! And now I don’t actually get proper protein at home – it’s true. We’re Punjabi, the only protein we know is meat! Totally different if you’ve grown up vegetarian.

So it’s back to chicken and fish (not that often though) but staying away from the red meats.

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