Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Why I'm Vegetarian

I have a good friend who is struggling with the idea of becoming vegetarian. She likes the idea of it generally speaking, but finds the follow-through difficult.

I can't say as I blame her. I know there are many out there who have been able to give up meat cold turkey (tofurkey?) and never look back. They don't miss it; they don't like the smell of it; the very idea of it roils the stomach and leaves them nauseous.

Well, I want to be that voice that says to everyone who is wrestling with this concept: "being a vegetarian is hard!" It is especially hard for those of us who grew up in agricultural settings, who "know" where their food comes from. I put it in quotes, because often times the idyllic farms we know (especially here in VT) don't adequately represent the mass production scale of the factory farms out west. There can be a dichotomy: you buy the steak thinking it was raised similar to Uncle Ed's steers. It never occurs to you that it lived (and died) horrendously out in Idaho somewhere.

So, to all you newbies and all of you struggling with the difficulty of being vegetarian, I give you my own personal reasons for being veg. Maybe you can relate to them, maybe you can't. But I think it's important to have another voice saying "it's hard, but it's doable".
  1. My heart. This is the main reason I went veg. I think only one or two people on my dad's side lived passed the age of 65. There is a genetic predisposition on that side for heart issues; one I inherited. There is also a direct correlation to the amount of meat you eat and heart disease. For me, I like living more than I like meat.
  2. My weight. A few years ago, I lost 40 pounds. I did it very unhealthily, relying on frozen lean cuisine dinners and highly processed food. Vegetarianism allows me to maintain my current weight without feeling deprived.
  3. My health. Learning about vegetarianism made me realize how much processed food I was eating, and how bad it was for me. I have stopped consuming so much (although I will not say I avoid it altogether).
  4. I feel better. I must say, I don't feel as slogged down as I used to.
  5. The environment. By not eating meat, I am lessening my carbon footprint on the environment. Raising mass meat for consumption is using up our resources at a faster rate then almost anything else. Do the research on it.
  6. The animals. They deserve a better life than what 95% of them are getting. It is one thing to be respectful of the animals you are raising for meat; it is quite another to look at them as expendable objects that have no intelligence, feel no pain, and deserve nothing.

As you can see, animals are on there, but not at the top of the list. In the end, only you can decide your reasoning for becoming vegetarian. Everyone is different. Some people may never give up fish; some people may continue eating meat and only do a few meatless meals a week. It's all good. Each choice you make makes for a better you and a better environment.

The point is, make a choice. Don't be mindless. If you want to eat meat, go ahead and do so. Just be informed about where it came from, what is in it (hormones, various -cides, etc) and how it lived/died.

You have a choice with everything you put in your mouth. Make it an informed choice.

1 comment:

Little Miss Tiara said...

I eat almost all foods, but now I think I should re-think before I eat, mom said i shouldn't be a vegetarian yet because I'm still growing up (and I don't think I want to be one yet, too...)

but yeah, your post opened my ind that I should know where did my food come from ;)

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