What made you a Veggie?

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    Jan 21, 2008 6:12 PM GMT
    So we have all read the vegetarian's, vegan's, omnivore's, and carnivore's opinions on all subjects surrounding meat and what not. So I DO NOT want to read any more bickering about what is right or wrong.

    My question is for the vegetarians and vegans.

    What made you decide to become oneicon_question.gif

    I am not a vegetarian or vegan and I don't think I ever will be. I am just curious what made you change your diet?
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    Jan 21, 2008 7:28 PM GMT
    I am not a vegetarian, but I am gravitating to a much more veggie diet.

    As recently as eight years ago I was a carnivorous pig, but now such meals render me sleepy and sluggish. I really used to overindulge.

    Now I either keep my red meat consumption down to special occasions, or in the case of ground beef, "dilute" it with bread crumbs, spices, eggs, etc. (last night's drunken burger splurge notwithstanding...another Pats trip to the Superbowl IS a special occasion). I've heard that too much red meat, especially factory produced, causes some health problems and contains some bad fats.

    I've been reducing the poultry and pork portions of my meals and boosting the veggie portions, mostly to introduce more veggies in my diet for the associated health benefits (antioxidant, proper vitamin absorption, fiber benefits, etc.).

    I have increased my fish consumption. I assume it's more efficient protein delivery and the fatty acids I've heard are quite beneficial. Plus fish is tasty and exotic to me.

    The benefits of legumes as both a protein and a fiber source are attractive, so I've been increasing these as well.

    Something in my ancestry craves meat though, so I keep it in my diet. A guy like me would stay in a cranky mood if I was strictly a vegetarian.

    I know you were looking for vegetarian responses, but I thought this might be a valid reply as well. Upon request, I will delete this if you want.
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    Jan 21, 2008 8:38 PM GMT
    I made a spiritual connection between the meat I was eating and the animals it came from, and I felt responsibility for the suffering endured by the animals as part of the agricultural system. Intellectually, such issues can be rationalized, but spiritually, when you look at a piece of flesh and see a poor suffering animal, there is no way to rationalize it. To eat it is to take the suffering and cruelty, and make it a part of yourself. To refrain is to reject the cruelty, and to make real a world in which such cruelty is diminished. Intellectually, you can rationalize that your action does not make a significant difference, but spiritually, you must strive to "be the change you want to see."

    If you do not feel the spiritual connection, then you are not responsible for acting on it. But once you do, ignoring it is wrong.
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    Jan 21, 2008 8:44 PM GMT
    XRuggerATX - Don't delete your response. It is good. You are a person leaning towords a vegetarian diet because of the health benefits and fear of too much processed meat.

    TankTop - What suffering are you talking about? Are you talking about the actual killing of the animal, or the way they are raised?
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    Jan 21, 2008 8:54 PM GMT
    gigman17b said
    TankTop - What suffering are you talking about? Are you talking about the actual killing of the animal, or the way they are raised?

    Well, that's intellectualizing it. There are plenty of intellectual reasons, they're just not mine. I can sense the suffering, and it's a karmic thing, not necessarily due to a specific event or a specific animal, but a way of doing things, and a system of confinement and killing. Rejecting it does not make you guiltless as an individual, but it does for a moment bring into reality a world less cruel for all of us.
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    Jan 21, 2008 9:04 PM GMT
    I became a vegetarian 8 years ago in a six-month trial run. Initially I did it for environmental reasons, but quickly noticed how much healthier, more energetic, cleaner my system felt. Six months passed and I never went back. In a year I lost 40 lbs. The next year, 10 more.

    I grew up in Utah where I hunted deer, pheasants, etc. After killing my own meat, it was always strange to see plastic-wrapped slabs of animal muscle in the stores as if it were factory produced. Hunting gave me an appreciation for the life that is taken and has probably contributed to my remaining a vegetarian.

  • fryblock

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    Jan 21, 2008 9:57 PM GMT
    I gave up meat in high school for ethical reasons, I simply did not want to eat the animals that I love. two years later my friend asks me if that was my reason, why do I still exploit them by drinking milk, using butter, etc. So just over two years ago I made the switch. It has now also become a health and environmental reason as well as ethical and anti-exploitation reason.
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    Jan 21, 2008 9:57 PM GMT
    Pescetarian here (wild fish only, targeting fish that are not overcaught)...

    Transitioned 12 years ago, solely for health and discipline reasons, had nothing to do with animal cruelty issues (and, I'm in the animal protection business)...

    Good question Gigman, good reply Rugger!
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    Jan 21, 2008 10:45 PM GMT
    22 years ago, I had a friend going vegetarian for a year. I got interested, started reading Diet for a Small Planet, and started eating less and less meat at the dining hall at college (and this was in the mid 1980's when college dining halls were crap.)

    Didn't think much about it, and went home for Thanksgiving and got sick. Went back to school for finals and felt fine, then went home for Christmas break and got sick again. When I figured out it was the hormones in the meat that was making me sick, I figured I was better off not eating the stuff. Only time I've gone off was the summer of 1986 in Germany when I couldn't get vegetarian food.

    I don't do it for the "I love animals" cause. It just doesn't agree with me. I can even tell if someone cooked something with chicken broth. The hormones just do a job on my system.
  • Alan95823

    Posts: 306

    Jan 21, 2008 11:34 PM GMT
    About 50% of my meals are vegetarian.. I just don't feel physically good eating as much meat as the standard American diet includes.

    I'd probably increase that % if I had more time to cook. I'm gradually reducing the amount of dairy I'm eating too, because I just don't feel great when I eat too much of it... same with alcohol.

    When I need/want something crunchy, I can plow through half a head of raw cauliflower in pretty short order.. it's a good thing I like my veggies! icon_smile.gif
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    Jan 22, 2008 12:31 AM GMT
    After flip-flopping back and forth for a year, I finally just realized I feel better when I don't eat meat. Meat makes me feel really "heavy" and kinda blah. When I stick to a vegetarian diet, I feel much more energized and alive. Plus, I've fallen in love with vegetarian cooking.

    I believe eating meat IS natural and I fault noone for it.

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    Jan 22, 2008 12:34 AM GMT
    Not to mention I refuse to give up my favorite leather jacket!!!


  • drakutis

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    Jan 22, 2008 12:36 AM GMT
    What's the best way to go about starting? I had always considered doing it. But I would be giving up MEAT entirely! (wink, wink!!)icon_lol.gif
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    Jan 22, 2008 12:40 AM GMT
    I started by learning how to cook vegetarian meals. Just veggies could get kinda boring, just like chicken, if you don't find new and great tasting ways to prepare them. I recommend:

    www.vegweb.com - thousands of veggie and vegan recipes, personals, veggie shopping, articles,etc.

    www.vegetariantimes.com - companion website to the Vegetarian Times Magazine. Full of recipes.

    I also use to know of a couple of vegetarian and vegan fitness/bodybuilding sites.

    If anyone knows the ones I'm talking about, please post the addresses. I would like to visit them again.

  • metta

    Posts: 38636

    Jan 22, 2008 12:53 AM GMT
    In 1990 I read Diet For A New America and just did not see any reason to continue to eat meat but a lot of reasons to not eat it. I grew up in a household that was very heavy in eating meating. At first I thought that I would just wein myself off the stuff, but I ended up just stopping all together. I don't miss it and do not have any desire to go back.

    But I also don't really see myself becoming vegan either. For me, being a vegetarian is a balance between the two that works for me. When I do eat dairy, I try to stick to organic free frange no hormone eggs, cheese, and yogurt. I don't buy cow's milk. I use soy milk instead - I prefer the taste and smell of soy milk to cow's milk

    Some vegetarians don't approve of eating the meat substitues but I enjoy those as well: One of my favorites is at a small restaurant called One World Vegetarian: http://oneworldveggie.com/. You can see photos of a few of their dishes on their homepage.

    Hey Den,

    I think this is the web site that you are talking about:


  • bigtallguy

    Posts: 243

    Jan 22, 2008 12:56 AM GMT
    i became a vegetarian because I knew the difference between right and wrong.
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    Jan 22, 2008 12:57 AM GMT
    We have an awesome vegan raw restaurant in St. Augustine....

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    Jan 22, 2008 1:24 AM GMT
    Seeing a video on 20/20 years and years ago involving animals testing cosmetics left me feeling sick and sad. I knew I was part of the problem.( at least what I saw as a problem. ) I wondered how I could sympathize with a tortured animal but not see the role I had in causing that pain. It doesn't work for me to be outraged by animal abuse but still continue on doing nothing to change things. I think with anything, you hear a voice inside your head that tells you when you are on the right track. I was 16 and being political struck me as liberating. I was becoming my own person and it was great. It was before I had ever thought of telling anyone I was gay and I was testing the waters of being "different". I only ate peanut butter, mac and cheese, pizza and fries because there were no veggie burgers etc. in Fargo at that time. I wasn't eating healthy, but I was convinced I was doing what was right for me. I never tried to change anyone, in fact, I rarely discussed it. I found it disheartening that all debates led to the "how do you know plants don't have feelings? argument) That was actually a story on 20/20 too. To be honest, I didn't know the science of what I was doing, I just knew I wanted to save all the animals. Look, I never said I wasn't naive.
    My first year in college I took a course on social issues and we covered factory farms. I felt proud I had not eaten meat in 2yrs. I was amazed at how many meat eaters where upset about it too but I found it frustrating that no one was willing to change. By that time I had become an atheist (after 18yrs of strict catholic upbringing) and realized you had to be change if you wanted change , I couldn't count on God to save me. I was never lazy about what I believed and I would always show up for the underdog and speak up. It had become more trendy by this time to be vegetarian and meal choices had expanded. I was in a bigger city and easily found others who believed as I did. I didn't and still don't see it as a black and white issue. I have friends on both sides of the spectrum. I could debate animal rights with other vegetarians and still come home frustrated and empty. By my third year of college I also saw animal experiments first hand. I was going to school at the University of MN, here in Minneapolis, and was involved in a study of Primates addicted to cocaine. I saw monkeys force fed cocaine everyday and locked in their cages. They would be sweet, then mean, then scream, then look shocked and scared. I hated it. I would cry every day over it. I was so pissed that these monkeys had to get jacked up on coke and locked in a cage so they could figure out what to do with junkies who couldn't shake their own addiction. I saw in their eyes something that broke my heart. It was then I also moved on from being an atheist. My connection to animals was/is spiritual and I could sense their pain and fear. I was disgusted that I had gotten myself into that situation. I dropped out of that course study the following week. Even 13 years later, I will never forget those monkeys. I realize that most people don't see value in lab animals lives. They see it as a price worth paying. I respect that, but I don't see them that way. Monkeys injected with cocaine is not in the natural order of things. Animals chained to the floor or a cage so they can't stand up are not in the natural order of things. People who post on here that testing isn't that bad, probably have never seen it first hand. It is actually probably worse than you think.
    Everyone always told me you couldn't be veg and go to Europe..
    But when I go to Paris every year and have to order fries , vegetables and salads at most places, I don't feel like I am missing out. I cook at home almost every night and there is such variety and versatility to a veg diet that I can honestly say I never feel as though I am missing out , even when I dine out. I feel cleaner inside my soul, not just my body. I started out with such a poor veg diet that I can't honestly remember feeling any better physically. Luckily my partner has similar feelings and we are able to fully communicate our issues and passions without worry. No one else in my family is vegetarian and at this point, none of my friends are either. We just don't talk about it. As a small business owner, I have other things to worry about most days.
    I like the idea of not contributing to something I see as a problem, no matter how difficult it has sometimes been. I can appreciate animals more when I don't have to think of them as food. It renews my faith in my own life. At this point in the game I see my choice to be vegetarian as 100% spiritual. The added health and envrionmental benefits are a bonus, but I will never see animals as something for me to eat.

  • Artesin

    Posts: 482

    Jan 22, 2008 1:37 AM GMT
    Well each side of my family is either mostly vegan/vegetarian or omnivores so I had a chance of becomming either. I decided to become a vegetarian at the age of 10, although I was a vegetarian up until the age of five. It started with my cousins telling me what was inside burgers/hot dogs and spanned from there, overtime it started to be fueled by my compassion for animals and the desire to keep toxins out of my blood stream. Sure I had a few slip ups on the way but by the time I had hit 12 I never messed up again and I've been vegetarian ever since.
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    Jan 22, 2008 1:49 AM GMT
    I've had trouble with this for a long time. I became a strict veggie when I was 11 years old. Somehow, without fear or threats or any extreme convincing I became more interested in eating healthy everyday. One day I just started to eat a BIG salad with other diced veggies and ranch dressing every day.
    As I got older I learned more and more about what corporations do to test their products on animals, and about the treatment of the animals that come to my table. It was hard as hell to seperate in my 13 year old mind that the delicious Thanksgiving turkey and my brother's world famous meatloaf where the same animals I loved to see on family roadtrips. But, after accepting that I had to sacrifice my cravings for something so short term as a tasty meal for the long term gratification of the prolonged life and shrinking the business of those who would otherwise turn a blind eye to the torture they do to those animals.
    I remained mostly a vegetarian/pescetarian and occasionally a pollotarian until I was 23. Than I moved in with my sister to a new city with out a car far from public transportation. The closest job was McDonalds. I worked there for a year before succumbing to my first burger. Now I'm finding a middle ground with my values and my protein cravings. I eat fish and seafood sometimes, chicken and pork everyone great once in a while, and red meat about twice a year. But when I eat these things they have to be organic, local and free range whenever possible. Otherwise, I stick to my diet of about 85% vegetarian diet. The best way I ensure my healthy diet has even less of an impact on the environment is to buy organic, natural, and local ingredients and make as many of my meals from scratch, no matter how many steps neccessaryicon_biggrin.gif But not eating meats altogether has been the hardest thing to do so far...
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    Jan 22, 2008 2:44 AM GMT
    No one can tell you what is 100% right for you. We all have to come at it on our own terms. I can relate to everyones apprehensions and doubts. If you aren't ready, you aren't ready . You may never be. We all have a different code for ourselves that we have to live up to. At the end of the day, you only have to answer to yourself and your own conscience. If you are cool with how you are living your life that's about all you can ask for.
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    Jan 22, 2008 3:39 AM GMT
    Thank you everyone for your great replies. I enjoyed them all. It gave me a great incite on your feelings towards the subject.

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    Jan 22, 2008 4:10 AM GMT
    Thank you to everyone in this thread for calm and reasoned proffering of beliefs and opinions and the mix of conversation icon_smile.gif
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    Feb 03, 2008 3:49 PM GMT
    Started as a dietary thing. Just didn't like the feeling of rot-gut that meat gave me.

    So I cut meat out of my diet.

    Then transitioned into more veggies, beans, fruits.

    Then read a story about caged hens, the radial, extreme conditions they are kept in, and that did it for me.

    Plus, it never really made sense to me why we drink cow's milk. Milk is a product produced by female beings to nourish their offspring, why the hell do humans drink it then? I wonder why it is ok for humans to consume cow's milk as opposed to horse's or hippo's milk?

    I am a compassionate soul, decided I just can treat other beings on this earth by using them for their by-products.

    Have never this much energy before in my life.
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    Feb 03, 2008 4:01 PM GMT
    I became a vegetarian in the 4th grade, I was just learning about the inefficiency of the system. Only 10% of the energy from grass is utilized by the cow, only 10% of the cow energy is utilized by the us. I kept seeing the poor kids in Ethiopia starving and thought it would be a lot more efficient to skip the middle cow. A lot more food available globally. I was young, not realizing the whole destruction of food for market stability etc.

    Then I went to an event where the Dali Lama spoke and it was all about the animals suffering and how inhumane it was for awhile.

    Now I just think it's healthier. I don't think there's anything terrible wrong with people who want to eat meat and there's no judgment again any of it...I just think it's healthier and a better lifestyle for me to be a vegetarian. So I've stayed one for the past 22 years!

    It probably is more efficient, but not as much as I thought initially and although I think the animals do suffer, I also think it's part of the natural order of things.