Last month, I wrote about why I blog as the first post of the why I do it series. Next up: why I went vegetarian.
From November 2008 – May 2009, I was vegetarian. In all honesty, that time around, I didn’t have too much of a reason other than just wanting to see if I could do it. Once I hit my goal mark of six months, I started incorporating meat into my diet again.
On Valentine’s Day 2010, I recommitted myself to a vegetarian lifestyle. I am absolutely horrible at remembering statistics, so don’t expect that. Most of the time my answer when people ask me about it is something along the lines of “it works for me”. There really is more to it though. Here’s just a few reasons why.
This is probably the biggest thing for me. I love animals. I don’t think it’s okay to eat animals like dogs or cats, so what makes a cow or pig any different? In my mind, they’re all God’s creatures and I don’t want to be a part of a system that kills so many. I’m all for non-violence and killing innocent animals is not a part of that.
After learning more about factory farming and the conditions the animals live in, I was appalled. I know there are family farms that provide the animals a great quality of life, but the big names in the industry, such as Tyson, are in it for the profit. The chickens, cows, and pigs that wind up on our plate live a miserable life. They are crammed into extremely small and dirty quarters,
When I had my six month “trial” period, I felt so much better. I had more energy. I slept better. My skin was clearer. I had fewer digestive problems. All around, I felt healthier!
People talk about needing the protein and fat from omnivorous diet. I completely disagree. There are plenty of sources of the nutrients a meat-centered diet provides other than meat itself. The key is eating the right types of foods: whole grains, nuts and legumes, fruits and vegetables. I think it can be easy for a vegetarian to live solely on pastas, chips, and processed foods. Yes, it is vegetarian. That doesn’t make it healthy.
Another health related issue that has been absolutely huge for me is reading about the chemicals and hormones that are pumped into the animals. All of that junk ultimately ends up in our bodies when we eat animal flesh.
I know people who release the results of this study or that study can frame it to make whatever point they want, but I have read enough to strongly believe that a meat-based diet leads to higher rates of high cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes, amongst others. I know I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist, but I strongly stand behind what I’ve read.
The amount of resources it takes to support a meat-based diet compared to a plant-based diet is ridiculous. We are already putting such a strain on our planet. If eating a plant-based diet will conserve some of those precious resources, I’m all for it. I fully advocate for practices such as recycling, using reusable bags/containers, conserving energy, and other sustainable practices. I think that not eating meat is just another sustainability habit. Go green!
i’m not perfect.
Sometimes, I screw up. I’ve eaten rice I didn’t realize (or think to ask) was cooked in chicken broth. Might I eat meat again someday? Right now, I don’t anticipate it, but I think it’d be foolish for me to say I will never, ever go back to that diet. I don’t know what my life will look like in a year, 10 years, 40 years down the road. People question if I am hypocrytical because I still eat eggs and dairy. I do make an effort to minimize such animal byproducts and someday I might go fully vegan. But, for now, cutting out meat has been what works for me.
for more information.
Some of the things I’ve read and watched that have influenced by eating habits are widely available. If you want more information, some of my favorites are:
DVDs: Food, Inc.