LOOKING for: Why did you become a vegetarian

HNPSeptember 9, 2000

For animal cruelty reasons, better health, any other? I am a meat eater. Love chicken, love steak. We raise cattle and no, I have never had an emotional bond with a cow. Yes, I understand how chickens and cows are treated and kept and injected with antibiotics. Please don't flame me. I just wondered what would make a person become a vegetarian.



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Well, Heather, I guess I'm different from you. I cannot tolerate the idea that innocent animals, who I believe are able to feel emotions including joy and fear, are brought unnecessarily into the world for the sole purpose of being slaughtered for human food.

The treatment of most commercially "grown" meat animals from birth through slaughter is inhumane, and I find it cruel to line up the cows or hogs or whatever and have them stand and listen to the others being killed before being killed itself.

I also believe that, as I think John Robbins promotes, hunger in the world could be eradicated if we were growing food crops on the land it takes to grow meat animals. Why is it alright to allow children to starve in order that someone else can have a steak?

I have a friend who says she will only eat what she can kill. And she does eat chicken and fish because she is able to take that live animal and end its life and stomach it. I think the vast majority of people have no idea how animals are killed and processed. So maybe I could be ok if the only animals eaten were killed by their eaters. But killed in a fair and square face off, not shot from so far away that the animal never knew the person was there. That is cowardly. I think that would limit the slaughter of innocent animals dramatically, and make a huge reduction in the unnecessary breeding of these animals.

That's my two cents.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2000 at 3:50PM
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No cruel intent at ALL meant. I have never known any vegetarians and I just wondered what reasons people become one. I didn't know if they just did not crave meat and poultry, or were making a statement, or for better health.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2000 at 4:45PM
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Heather, I think you already answered your own question. For some its because of their love and respect for animals, for others it's strictly health reasons, and for many it's for both those reasons. In trying to live our lives with integrity and meaning, for many people, this does not include eating meat. It is a very personal and individual choice with many possible reasons. Many vegetarians would not be able to understand how you can raise and care for an animal and not become emotionally attached to it. This is not to say you are a bad human being. It just means that for how ever you were raised and whatever experiences you have had in this life, it does not affect you the way it does some others.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2000 at 6:08PM
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carolb W FL

Well said, Janet!

It's a bit of a mix for me - I eat a small amount of meat(poultry & fish), but I'm primarily concerned w/ my health & the health of the land.The ethical concerns are there, but they're secondary.I avoid a lot of dairy for health reasons as well.

(In fact - the main reason I eat a bit of meat occasionally is so I don't have to worry 'bout the B12 thing.There're plenty of 'substitutes' to provide the flavour & sensations of meat.)

    Bookmark   September 9, 2000 at 7:19PM
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I have to admit, I love meat. We raise our own cows only about 2 a year and love them.
All threw out the bible it talks about meat and that God gave us certain animals for our
use. Burnt offerings in the old testament were pleasing to God. After Noah let the animals
off the ark certain ones were kept close for Noah to use. If you are a veggie do you also
boycott shoes? Many are used from skins. Tennis shoes, leather flats and heels. Also how
many of you carry a leather purse? Do we all agree that animals have no soul? I think my
cow is being lucky that he is put down by an injection instead of being able to live to a ripe
age where he will loose bowl movements, go crippled and attached my coyotes etc. I
know I will probably get a lot of heat from this but it is my opinion and that is why where
on this post. I do not hate vegetarians by all means and I really think that its great. But I
also think that its not cruel to kill the fattened pig for Thanksgiving since the Lord is the
one who gave it to me. I do however think it is cruel when you have 200 own in a mud
filled pasture and not able to hardly walk. Our 2 cows have 20 acres to graze in. I really
did not mean this to piss anyone off. Just my thoughts. I'm curious to what you all think
of it. Why you think its cruel and if you believe in God. Sassy

    Bookmark   September 9, 2000 at 9:34PM
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For the record, I am not a vegetarian. However I know and care about many, many people who are. I have great respect for them as I do for ALL living creatures. And I don't know about others, but most of the vegetarians I know do NOT wear leather shoes, clothing or have purses in leather. Man-made items such as these are very easily attainable. But really, why should anyone care if they did? How any of us chooses to eat and dress is an individual choice. I would never allow anyone to tell me what to eat or how I should dress. As an adult, I can figure that out for myself, thank you very much. Others deserve the same respect, vegetarian or not. Remember, some vegetarians do not eat meat strictly for health reasons.

My vegetarian friends and I do believe in God although what that has to do with anything per se I don't really understand. If you want to start debating Bible verses we could do that forever and get nowhere. Each person's conscience and experiences in life dictates what they believe in and what is right for them personally. God does not directly order people to eat meat. If you read your Bible, you will note that he simply says you may eat meat if you choose. It is not a direct order to do so. He also talks about the fact that your body is a temple, so care for it wisely. I am constantly amazed at why some people seem to be so frightened or threatened by anyone who is different from them. Who cares if some people eat meat and others don't? It's every human being's individual right to choose and should be respected. Personally, I don't believe it should even be a debatable issue.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2000 at 2:17PM
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carolb W FL

There are also passages in the Bible advocating slavery & blood sacrifices.

I don't think it's a good idea to take the Bible TOO literally.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2000 at 12:41PM
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Amen to that, Carol! :)

    Bookmark   September 12, 2000 at 1:19AM
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I am newly vegetarian, and I have many reasons. Health reasons come to mind. The waste of land and grain to feed food animals, as well as food animal's contribution to environmental destruction through methane emissions, etc. also comes to mind. Another reason is that I feel so much better after a vegetarian meal! I walk away feeling content and energetic, not stuffed and sleepy like when I eat meat. I woke up one day a few weeks ago and decided that I wasn't going to consume meat anymore. The smell still makes my mouth water, but I haven't had a craving to consume it since I decided to stop. (I know it hasn't been very long, but so far it has been VERY easy for me)

The day after I came to this decision, my boss came back from gator hunting. (I'm in Florida) He had a refridgerated truck with his kills in it. (He hunts them once a year, legally, if anyone was wondering.) He made us go outside and see. Inside this truck he had five gators. Four of them were your standard 6 foot size. But one was a mammoth 12 footer. He proudly lifted the head to show us the 5 holes from the bullets he used to kill it. And seeing those gators, something clicked and the decision suddenly seemed so right.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2000 at 9:37AM
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Before I "went veggie" I was having a meal at a food court, eating some stir fry veggies from the Chinese Take-Out. Two women who I didn't even know walked by and looked at my plate and said right out loud "oooohh yum, chinese food..." in a VERY sarcastic tone.
Now I'm very suprised these women didn't like chinese food because they were about the size of SUMO WRESTLERS! I noticed that they each had TWO big macs, including fries and soft drink of course.
This strange situation sparked something inside me that prompted me to investigate the health, social, and environmental health benifits associated with a vegetarian diet. Fortunately I had the wealth of knowledge on the intenet at my disposal; and it didn't take very much clicking to realize that meat wasn't "all that". I cut out my beef and pork and rarely had any white meats, and recently have cut out all chicken in my diet. It's been four years and I plan to continue with my choice of diet for the rest of my lifetime.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2000 at 10:02AM
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Scott--Chicago IL


    Bookmark   September 12, 2000 at 11:48AM
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Good morning. Vegetarianism is essentially the way to go for optimum health. I have an amazing book that explains in great detail what red meat can do to your system. It says that "Like the rabbit, the human digestive system is not designed to digest meat." "Human and anthropod ape digestive organs are very similar. These apes eat primarily fruits and nuts. They have molars to grind and chew their food, and their saliva contains ptyalin for grass and plant digestion. The intestines in these apes are twelve times the length of their body, for slow digestion of fruits and vegetables, and their skin has many pores for sweating." "Humans have characteristics like those of the fruit eaters. They are similar to those of the grass and plant eaters and are very different of those of the carnivores. The human digestive system, the tooth and jaw structure, and bodily functions are completely different than carnivorous animals.
Just like the ape, the human digestive system is twelve times the length of the body. The anatomy, the digestive system, and instincts of humans are suited to a diet of fruits, nuts, grains and vegetables."
It goes on to talk about the process of how the meat gets from the field to your supermarket. All types of cancer are significantly lower in groups that omit meat, for religious reasons or otherwise. "People who eat meat have a higher risk of getting cancer because of the carcinogenic preservatives added to meat like nitrates, nitrites,and other preservatives added to mask the green discoloration that occurs as the meat ages." The book is called " Prescription for Cooking & Dietary Wellness" by Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C. & James F. Balch, M.D. The are so many reasons why a person decides to live a life without meat. The main reason should be because of health to prevent devestating and often deadly disease. I myself, love meat, but choose not to consume it. Although I do eat some fish to get my Omegas 3 & 6 and some protein. I'm sure that many others that have chosen to convert to vegetarianism will agree with me in saying that you feel better, your digestive system is not bogged down with heavy meat protiens that is harder to digest. Coupled with knowing you are doing whats best for your overall health.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2000 at 12:04PM
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I decided after attending a lecture about vegetarianism that if I was not comfortable with the concept of eating my pets(2 cats) I could no longer be comfortable eating any animal. A cow's or chicken's life is no less valid than that of my beloved furred companions. There are so many alternatives to killing for survival and not having kills made so I could live seemed the right choice for me. Now it is 9 yrs. later and it was the best life changing decision I have ever made.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2000 at 7:58PM
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Animal cruelty was my number 1 reason. I have often thought that the idea of eating animals was odd. There were times in my life that I can remember thinking it was a bit deranged but I continued to eat meat anyway. Then one day I got some Peta material and decided to stop. The only thing is the smell of bacon (my husband still eats meat and occassionally cooks up some bacon....it's hard to resist). But I remember why I started this to begin with and grab an orange instead. I have no problem with people that eat meat. To each his own.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2000 at 8:05PM
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I have many reasons-ethical and health as many have said,and also religious reasons since I'm a Hindu.
I have been so since birth and I have no idea what meat tastes like but I have smelled it and I have seen chickens being slaughtered and that only reinforced my beliefs in vegetarianism.
And yes I have had emotional bonds with many animals,mostly goats and cows so that's part of the reason as well.

Many people(not anyone here) say that animals are 'given' to us for our 'use' and that plants are also living things,but then plants don't have a nervous system and a cow probably eats as many plants as fifty humans.I believe that animals have a right to live.Carnivores(except maybe dogs) have a digestive system adapted to only meat and they cannot be compared to humans.We have the ability to make choices.
Just my two cents.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2000 at 11:33AM
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I ate alot of meat and chicken most of my life. Back in 1996 I happened to stumble upon an article about how animals are killed. It was a magazine geared towards kids.Had a picture of a cow with a number on the ear and a bell on the neck. Said please don't eat me. After I read it, it made me so sick I quit eating animals that day.
What gets me is how some people (and my friends)rant and rave how they love animals yet they think it's OK to eat them. Animals are not above them or they were put on this earth to eat. If you love animals so much, why eat them?? They are hypocrites!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2000 at 12:30PM
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I initially became Vegetarian for health & preference reasons. Simply put, I felt better when I didn't eat meat, and it just didn't appeal that much to me anymore. That was 4 years ago, and since then my views have changed considerably. My reasons for continuing to be Vegan are now based more in ethics and respect for life. I am healthy, and have more energy now than ever before. I do not believe that ANY animal products are necessary for protein/nutrient requirements. For myself, choosing to no longer eat certain foods (i.e. seafood, icecream, desserts containing milk/egg) was more of a *psychological* feat, rather than a physical deprivation.
Like many of you, I have strong feelings about the ways in which meat eating is justified by our society. At times, I really feel like it's me against the world, and while this can be frustrating, I grain strength from my own beliefs and the choices that I make. I guess in the end we can only lead our own lives the way that we feel is best, and perhaps plant some seeds in our dealings with others along the way.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2000 at 7:30AM
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Thanks for your honest responses. I am an animal lover but I'm also from the south. I was raised on a farm where we have pigs, chickens, cows, horses. We have always had gardens with vegetables but every meal has some kind of meat. I grilled some portabella mushrooms, steamed some broccoli, and boiled corn-on-the-cob the other night for my husband and me and it just felt as if something was missing. Oh well, not for me but I'm glad you all are doing what makes you happy.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2000 at 7:09PM
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I just found this forum tonight and it's great! I'm a meat eater, but work in a vegetarian home. I have a lot of respect for vegetarians, as that is a choice they feel strongly about. I hope vegetarians can respect me as well. We all have enough stress, hostility and turmoil in our life. Let's not criticize eachother for what we eat! I find the hardest thing about my job is figuring out what to cook them for dinner~! I enjoy vegetarian food, but am not a real fan of the canned non-meat products. I'm interested to read more posts and find some yummy veg. recipes. Great forum!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2000 at 11:49PM
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As a side note,I might mention that vegetarian food is not exclusively veggies and fruits.Many people wonder how we/I go without meat without feeling "full" but then rice is my staple food,wheat for some.Chickpeas are very filling.so are red kidney beans.All high in carb and protein to balance the veggies.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2000 at 7:56AM
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I was having severe headaches - actually one huge headache that never went away, only varied in severity - and my doctor could find no cause. He prescribed strong prescription drugs that only lessened the pain, but never took the headache away entirely. I did some research on my own, and decided to try vegetarianism. Within 2 weeks the headache was gone. I have since learned that I am allergic to most meats, and also eggs and milk, so became vegan several years later. Because of what I have learned, I have also raised my children vegetarian, entirely for health reasons. And in fact, they have always been much healthier than any of the other children growing up around us.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2000 at 8:22PM
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Flash (Darlene)

I agree 100% with Johanna's comments (2nd post from the top). I became a vegetarian for ethical reasons, but remain a vegetarian (almost vegan) for many other reasons stated by others above.

I also want to say that I applaud Heather's attempt to better understand those that are different than she is. Asking questions, giving civilized and honest answers and all around good communication is the key to understanding and accepting people that are different than yourself. You don't have to agree with someone's view points to accept them and value them for the individual that they are. It works both ways.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2000 at 8:51PM
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I believe many dyed in the wool omnivores could easily be swayed toward vegetarianism if they were introduced to vegetarian cooking by those who have become vegetarians and are excellent cooks. Many people we know through involvement with our local zoo are strict vegans, others not quite so strict ovo-lacto vegetarians. At get togethers and pot-luck lunches and dinners we have had many excellent meals where we could not even tell there was no meat included. As a result, these vegetarian recipes have become a part of our menu plan. This household has not yet made the complete switch to vegetarianism, but through gradual familiarity and experience with vegetarianism, there is considerably less meat eaten here than before. We are doing this not for health, religious or ethical reasons but simply because there are excellent vegetarian choices out there that we thoroughly enjoy.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2000 at 10:29AM
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I think Melissa has a great point. A lot of times, people bawk at us for being vegan, "How can you eat that BLAND food?" But I probably cook more "gourmet" meals than any of my friends... who consider Chik fil A & Miami Subs a treat! We are also from the south, Heather. I grew up on a farm raising sheep, chicken & the usual smattering of other animals. We would go hunting & what not (we always ate what we killed) but I always thought the "save the cow" people were kooks (wait, don't shoot me yet, guys!). Now that I know exactly what they do to the animals, I understand where those people are coming from... but we do it for health reasons. I actually get sick if I eat something with meat in it (we've been veggie for almost 2 yrs). I'm a Christian & although food isn't even touched on in church, I wish they would start teaching a little about it... we'd have so many less prayer requests for healings!! : ) It's cool that most people here are open & can chat about different views without biting each other heads off! Thanks guys!

    Bookmark   September 28, 2000 at 10:33PM
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Carol Ann

I am one who likes meat but feels better when I don't eat much of it - so for years I haven't been a big meat eater. But in the last few years I've become much more sensitive to suffering. Watching a dear friend die slowly over 11 months made me think a lot about life and my values and I finally realized I just can't support suffering anymore. I am much more sensitive to pain and suffering - All life has meaning for me, and I do think we can be judged by the way we treat all life and this earth and even the universe. If animals were allowed to live with some freedom and dignity and killed as painlessly and humanely as possible I might still eat meat but that isn't the case. I don't consider myself an animal-rights activist; but like I said, I just can't support suffering and cruelty anymore.

The health benefits are an extra but not the reason.

I hope that others respect my decision and I certainly respect the rights of others to chose differently. I would never try to force my way of thinking on any one else. It is for me a matter of deciding what my values are and - the most important and usually most difficult part - making the choices that help me live my values.

You've probably gotten a lot more answers than you anticipated! Surprised to hear you don't know any vegetarians because I've run into them everywhere for about the last 25 years, and in the midwest I know our numbers are smaller than elsewhere. Hope this has been of some help.


    Bookmark   September 30, 2000 at 9:02AM
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Bill Boyd

Self-defined vegetarian now for about 28 years, I'm thinking back how this choice took root. We had become active in a local food co-op in Columbus and began to meet quite a number of vegetarians. In fact, our introductory lesson on vegetarianism came during the first co-op business meeting we attended. Walking in a little late, we listened to co-op members lambast "Nick," who ran the vegetarian area. Seems "Nick" had, unauthorized, up and bought some half ton of brown rice. So, we're thinking "Brown rice": Whazzat?

We learned quickly.

So with the co-op resources at our disposal, we figured, "Let's see if we can do it?"

Starting the usual route, heavy on cheese and eggs, we continually exposed ourselves to the diverse schools of thought regarding vegetarianism. Now, for some 20 years, I've settled into mostly a diet based on the macrobiotic principal of eating locally grown food as much as possible. 'Course, part of this regimen, growing now most of what I eat, includes eating insects.

Bill "vego-insectivore" Boyd

    Bookmark   October 1, 2000 at 6:56AM
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Pat Smargiassi

I became a vegetarian when I met my present husband. He had a severe heart attack, because of high cholesterol and smoking. The medicine for his cholesterol attacked his liver and almost killed him again, so his Doctor, who by the way was Korean, suggested vegetarianism. He started off slow, not really knowing what to eat. When I met him he was still experimenting. The first dinner I cooked for him was a disaster. I ate meat all my life, although I always loved vegetables more. Maybe that's why it was easier for me to change. I never really liked a lot of red meat, but did eat a lot of chicken, pork and all the bad things like hot dogs, lunch meat etc. After you read all that goes into the processing and all the antibiotics and hormones that are used in these animals, it makes a lot of sense not to eat it. Now after six years it is so easy to prepare a meal that meat isn't given a thought, and we both do feel so much better. I used to get sick all the time, colds, flu, stomach viruses, etc. In the last six years I've only been sick with the flu once and really haven't had a cold since I can remember. I actually used to eat turkey and ham on the holidays at first, but felt so sick after that I stopped that a long time ago. the hardest part was the switch from eating cheese, since we were both cheese lovers, but they have some great tofu cheeses out there and they really do make great pizzas. My adult children have stopped eating red meat and only eat chicken and pork occasionally and my daughter is raising her baby as a vegetarian. He has never had milk, other than breast milk and soymilk and no meat or egg products, and he is a very, healthy, active little boy, who is rarely sick. Only recently have we begun to eat salmon for it's omega three benefits. Also, my husband cholesterol went from a high of 335 to 213, without medicine. Just diet, exercise and vitamins. We too have met people who shun us because we don't eat meat, but for the most part they say they wish they could do it too. We are animal lovers, but it's only been in the last year or so that we feel it really is cruel to raise animals for food. And it is true, our digestive systems are not equipped to handle meat. All in all, I guess it should be to live and let live. We all make our choices for different reasons, and we should respect everyones right to make those choices, for or against.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2000 at 1:05AM
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I became a vegetarian for health reasons, secondarily for ethical reasons. I also limit my intake of refined grain
products, which I feel are almost evil!
I feel that I have benefitted spiritually from vegetarianism as well. I believe that the process which our bodies go through in order to digest meat basically robs the human body of more energy than it contributes.
I would like to give up cheese, too, but as this food is a real comfort/drug for me, I'm having a little trouble. Thanks for the substitute cheese ideas! I'll have to try that stuff out.
I don't believe that there is anything inherently wrong with the killing of a sentient being, nor do I condemn anyone who chooses to consume animal derived protein in any form. Unfortunately for most Americans, this is less a conscious choice and more a blindly accepted way of life
foisted on them from birth by our consumerist society. Not that I'd want to live anywhere else, but I want to live and eat as consciously as possible...which brings up the issue of social responsibility. I believe that it makes just as much sense to eat vegetarian as it does to limit family size. I see no need for excess; it is destructive to the individual morally, spiritually, and physically, and equally destructive to humanity and the whole ecosystem. I also choose to use public transportation whenever possible.
I have more problems with the idea of buying a new car every five years than with the idea of daily meat consumption. I consider myself an agnostic. I'm sure that there are as many different reasons for ending meat consumption as there are vegetarians. This is a really great forum!!!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2000 at 4:41PM
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Diana in WI

"I'm not a vegetarian because I love animals. I'm a vegetarian because I hate plants!" ~ A. Whitney Brown
I love that quote!
I stopped eating meat about 5 years ago. I still drink milk and I do eat the eggs we get from our own free-range chickens. We have no rooster, so they're not fertilized, and the chickens will lay them anyway, so I don't waste them. DH will eat meat, but he knows I won't cook it for him, so when he wants to, he gets out the grill. I try to tell Sonny about vegetarianism, but he's 13, and it falls on deaf ears. I don't serve meat to him either.
Mainly I stopped after my SIL set the good example for me by being a vegetarian for 10+ years. After reading a lot of information (pro and con) I just can't wrap my brain around the concept of raising animals as "crops." It's extremely wasteful...do you know how much land, water and food it takes to raise ONE cow? Mindboggling. It's also better for me health-wise, and I feel better and more energetic, as I'm eating mostly veggies and grains and pasta and fruit. I'm glad I did this. I wish everyone would at least TRY it! Diana ;)
~There's plenty to eat, without eating meat!~

    Bookmark   October 15, 2000 at 1:27PM
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My husband and I are not full fledged vegetarians - yet, but we aren't far from it. We originally started eating less meat after we got married, we couldn't afford much. I am Italian and learned many meatless ways to cook foods growing up, I simply relied on those foods to get us by. As time went on we became less interested in meat and decided that we felt better, maintained our weight better and were doing better things for the planet and our environment by eating less meat and eating lower on the food chain. Most meats I can't even stomach looking at anymore. Plus now with the way our food is being handled, I am very cautious about everything I buy. We are constantly hearing how animals are raised in inhumane conditions (though there are stores in my state to buy organic free range meats) and some things are now being bioengineered, even some of the feed that the cattle and other animals are eating before it's gets to us as consumers. That is a whole new topic that concerns me.

I grew up on a farm, and I did form bonds with the animals that we had, which made it all the harder when we had them on the dinner table. I could never do that now. It's personal choice.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2000 at 9:11PM
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Heidi Rogers

I became a vegetarian out of necessity - I'd been suffering from migraines and sinus infections for over 10 years, and the prescription pain killers I was taking didn't help and left me groggy and nauseated. Then I came across an article in Prevention, that suggested avoiding all milk protein if you have migraines. And sure enough, once I gave up milk in any form (*especially* cheese) my headaches vanished! But the damage was already done; I had taken so much OTC pain reliever for so long that I destroyed a good chunk of my auditory nerve, meaning that I'm going deaf. I do feel much better now that I'm a complete vegan (no eggs or gelatin), and the soy substitutions are great. I'm also a passionate animal lover and eco-head, as vegetarian eating is *much* healthier for the environment.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2000 at 11:36AM
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I became a veg for health reasons orginally. Stayed veg for 7+ years, even "converted" meat eating hubby to almost full vegetarianism.

Then I fell off the wagon! It's been about 4 years since I gave up being completely veg; we eat red meat very rarely (maybe very 6 mos. or so), fish and poultry maybe once a week. Being a veg was good for me because it got me off the fast food track (still cant' stand McDonalds or Burger King, etc.), kept me healthy, taught me a lot of interesting cooking methods.

The main reason I went back to eating meat at all: severe anemia (ended up in the hospital), even though I was very careful about my diet. Turned out to be my excessively heavy periods, but that's another story! Also, I got tired of cooking veg. I had tons of cookbooks, learned to cook different cuisines, but missed being able to cook a 'simple BBQ'. And it was a bear to cook for myself/DH and then for guests.

Going back to eating meat wasn't difficult, and I kinda of consider myself more of a veg who happens to eat meat once in a while, instead of the other way around. I love vegetables and grains much more than any meat. In fact I often get veggie cravings! LOL

Since the ethical considerations of being veg were also important to me, now that I've gone back to being carniverous, I try to purchase only organic/free range meat products if possible. I know some people will say it's not good enough, that no animal should be killed for food, but we all have to make our own decisions. For DH and I, it's worked out well.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2000 at 5:45PM
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My sole reason was my love for animals...the health benefits are merely a fringe benefit.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2000 at 8:25PM
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I have a traumatizing story on the subject.

Me and some friends were driving on the highway when a big white van nearly rear ended us because he was going very fast. He passed us, and 5 min up the road traffic is stopped. That same van had clipped a semi, ripping the van nearly in half. He was transporting baby chicks ( yeah, redundant) The highway was pure yellow with the lil things, and all you could hear was 'chirp, chirp, chirp' ....4 girls, driving over the chicks, crying. That did it for me. It didnt make any sense, crying over food? Either dont cry, or dont eat it :)

    Bookmark   November 7, 2000 at 12:03AM
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I just found the time to really look through this forum. I am a vegetarian (ovo-lacto) and just love the fact that this site exists. I should be sleeping but find myself wanting to read everyone elses opinions and experiences. I became a vegetarian because I couldn't stand the thought of an animal dying so that I could eat. not that I didn't like meat. I did. But, I always loved the sides more. Meat was just what was always prepared at any house growing up. and 99% of a menu when out. I always had a problem when I couldn't keep myself from thinking about what it was. A friend of mine was a vegetarian for about a year. The more that I learned from her, (alot of which was covered in the above posts)the more I wanted to become one. I just didn't want to deal with the inconvienence of family meals and my forever carnivorous husband. (excuses, i know) After another conversation with this friend, I decided, and became a vegetarian on 4th of july 4 years ago.(before the barbecue) I told myself that I could eat fish during my pregnancies. Through both of them, any time that I ate it I got nauseated. I actually found that I liked "tuno" casserole better than tuna. And morning star farms bacon done in the oven is a fairly good substitue. I don't miss meat. I can't look at it without thinking what it is and how it got that way. (yuk! and boo hoo). I also wanted to say that I agree with the post that says not to take the bible too literally. besides there are many other 'uses' for animals without consumption and exploitation being amoung them. As for people who think that some vegetarians might be hippocrits for the shoes, etc. you would be amazed at all the products that have something to do with animal byproducts. there is no real way to be sure that you are elimnating all of them without taking up all you time investigating. You would never be able to take another picture.(something to do with the developing solutions I think) We all do what we can to be comfortable with how we live our own lives. The degree to which we take things is a personal decision. A person who decides to walk lighter on this earth by being a vegetarian should be respected, not ridiculed because he wears leather sneakers, or eats jello. Sorry I got so wordy.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2001 at 1:01AM
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Dear Heather:

If we were raising animals the way we used to, back in the "old days," when a cow was almost a member of the family, and the hens all ran around in the yard 'til they stopped laying, and we actually cared about the animals so that they had decent lives at our hands -- maybe I'd still eat meat. But that's not what cattle ranching is all about anymore, and chickens are raised in conditions that don't bear thinking about. It's not so much the killing, as the incredible cruelty and lack of respect for the value of God's creation that I can't stand anymore. That, and the fact that the food supply is badly contaminated so that you're taking your life and your children's lives into your hands every time you eat a hamburger. It's just not worth the stress.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2001 at 11:58PM
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For love. My husband is a Jain and does not eat meat. I love him and respect his feelings on the subject so I've turned into a better than average non-Indian Indian cook.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2001 at 2:52PM
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After studying the subject of food, I concluded that a "normal" diet should have a very minor animal content. Ditto dairy. And eggs are pretty disgusting if you think about eating raw or cooked chicken fetuses.

After almost a decade I conclude that you feel better too!

Just don't get extreme...eating animal a few times a week doesn't make you an animal fiend! Just a bit more balanced in the long run. Always pick between the extremes.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2001 at 9:31PM
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I chose to become vegetarian for health reasons 4 years ago -- it was a new years resolution (the first one I've been able to stick with for this long, as well).

I grew up in a meat-eating household and have lost my father and 2 grandfathers to heart disease. In fact, I believe that I, myself, was on the road to developing heart and circulatory problems myself.

I weighed over 220 pounds (I'm only 5'9", so I was HUGE), and had difficulties in climbing stairs without being winded, couldn't bend over to touch my toes... it was a very sad time in my life. My "bad" cholesterol count was above 500! and my doctor wanted me to go on some sort of drug to reduce it.

Everything I have read with regard to fighting heart disease points to maintaining a well-balanced diet, regular exercise, and reducing stress in my life.

In addition to the health benefits, I developed a strong concern about the level of antibiotics and hormones used by the meat industry to fatten the animals for slaughter. The thought of eating any sort of meat, be it steak, chicken, pork, etc, makes me feel queasy and nauseated.

What sort of impact will these substances have on our bodies as we age?

My motto is "Nothing with a face..." and it's a pretty easy diet to follow. There's a vast array of soy products from which to choose. And then there's the chickpeas, lentils, leafy greens, organic vegatables, portobello mushrooms, etc... my mouth just waters thinking about how much is out there that doesn't require meat.

I don't have a problem with anyone else eating meat or wearing leather or fur. That's not my reason for becoming vegetarian at all.



    Bookmark   January 22, 2001 at 6:40PM
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I forgot to mention my results!

Within the first 3 months of becoming vegetarian, My weight dropped to 180 pounds (40 pounds in 3 months!) and I was eating ALL THE TIME and was never hungry.

I'm now a very healthy 170 pounds, run 3-5 miles a day, work out at the gym 4 times a week.

The other benefit is that my blood sugar levels have equalized and I don't get inexplicable mood swings when I don't eat regularly.

I'm also much happier!



    Bookmark   January 22, 2001 at 6:45PM
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I am so happy I gave so many of you something to talk about. Now, the people that made snide comments to me aren't you ashamed of yourselves? I just wanted to learn a bit about vegetarian lifestyles. Thanks for your patience and understanding. I've learned a lot.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2001 at 10:58AM
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For the love of animals and no other reason.
Why do we call some animals pets and others food?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 9:01PM
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I just came across this particular forum although I have been a garden web member for awhile. I really should be sleeping since I am having surgery at 6am but what the heck, I'll be asleep for quite a while afterwords right? I have given up almost all meats and gassy foods due to gallbladder which is the reason for surgery. I have never been much of a meat eater anyway, but after suffering with gallbladder pain day and night for the last 2 years I started changing my diet and writing down the things i ate and how I felt after eating them. One of the things that really got me even as I was still eating was red meat. I have been pain free for the last 2 months but I am still having the surgery in the morning. Today I decided that I would just leave meat all together since I love fruits and veggies and have gotten very creative in the kitchen with them. it's a healthier way of life and it is most definately cheaper. I do not critisize anyone for their lifestyle and really enjoyed reading all the posts. Even though this post was old, I applaud the first poster for her courage in asking her question especially in a vegetarian forum. Josie

    Bookmark   July 9, 2010 at 1:38AM
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thanks for searing this all site.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 6:00AM
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I get so angry and emotional when it comes to this subject, because most people are very closed minded when I explain to them. I'm vegetarian because they way animals are killed for meat is extremely cruel and inhumane. If someone were to do what they do to the cows, chickens, and pigs.....to a dog or cat. My god, they would end up in court. Being vegetarian is more "green" than having driving a small solar powered/hybrid type of car. The amount of waste that all these animals produced is taking over the lands. I don't think any careless meat eater knows to the full extent on how bad things get in the slaughter houses. It's horrible. It's 2011, we don't need meat anymore people.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 5:48PM
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Unfortunately there is at least as much death and destruction from the planting of crops- destroying whole ecosystems, (rivers, fish, and wildlife), and creating deserts. Also, most plants we eat cannot get all their nutrients from rocks and compost- eventually they need blood and bone meal- which has resulted from the death of animals. Plants need our nutrients and we need theirs.
The most important thing is the humane treatment and killing of animals. I hate that death has to occur but all food production requires it. I wish it weren't that way.
Very good book by a former vegan with thorough analysis: The Vegetarian Myth. Also, the movie Temple Grandin shows how humane treatment can be possible in food production, and of course how difficult it is to change corporate behavior. Corporate irresponsibility has resulted in unnecessary cruelty and misery to our fellow creatures.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 9:46PM
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I think all one has to do is look at human's teeth and intestinal tract and know we are not meant to eat meat by the hundreds of thousands of pounds we do in this country. We should be eating a 99.9% vegetarian diet. It is said we are the closet to apes and moneys and if we look at their diets they are primarily fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts and a very tiny amount of meat. If all humans ate like the apes they'd all be a lot healthier and our land would be a lot cleaner. Runnoff from cattle is destroying thousands of acres of land quicker than anything else.

If someone wants to eat meat they should be going out and hunting it for that express purpose. No animal should be brought into this world with its' only purpose to provide food for us. I don't think that is not what the Lord meant when he said the animals are provided for us. We should think like the Indians and take what we need and leave the rest alone. No way do we need to eat meat everyday 3 x's a day. It's a matter of choice and what the human body actually needs to sustain itself.

Yes, I do think I'll see my cats and dogs when I leave this world.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2011 at 9:18PM
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I haven't quite gotten to vegetarian status just yet. I still eat chicken once a week or so. And I do not think I will ever give up eggs or milk. My decision to stop eating most meat was for two reasons: Health and the current practices of corporate animal farming. Health being the primary reason, but realizing shortly thereafter that I could allow myself to really understand what goes on in the world of the corporate animal farms. I come from a long line of farmers and folks who raised and grew their own foods so I knew it wasn't always pleasant, but when you make an effort to find out what actually happens to the animals that end up on your plate it is enough to make you sick. This knowledge is what has strengthened my resolve to contribute as little as I can to the need for corporate farming practices as I can.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 3:04PM
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I am a new, vegetarian. Prior to that, I sometimes ate chicken breast, salmon, turkey meat, cheese, drank milk, and ate at restaurants. I decided to become a vegetarian after becoming more informed on how our foods are being contaminated by the use of antibiotics, hormones, insecticides, artificial coloring and flavorings; genetically modified; a lot of processed foods being non-foods; and not grown/produced here in the U.S. In becoming a vegetarian, I had two requirements: food must be organic, and grown here in the U.S. There are very few exceptions to these requirements, e.g., pineapples, mangoes and some spices not generally produced here. Sometimes I shop in four different stores and a farmer's market to get my food. I also have some fruit trees and grow some veggies.

I heard somewhere that the reason America is the most obese country in the world is because we are always hungry. And, the reason we are always hungry is because we eat a lot of non-foods instead of real foods, which we were meant to eat. This made lots of sense to me. In the first two months of changing what I eat (also juice), I lost about 17 pounds with no effort.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 11:25PM
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I prefer vegetarian diet because i love animals. I don't want to kill animals for food.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 7:48AM
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I became a vegetarian because I feel better when I do not eat meat.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 8:21PM
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I became a vegan for health.
Now I feel better, look better, etc. etc
Very simple.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 7:57PM
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I became a vegetarian after reading extensively one weekend on how commercial farm animals are treated. I at a hamburger that weekend and felt sick for a few days realizing what was inside of me and that I was contributing to hurting and torturing these animals. Also, the hormones and antibiotics are obviously not healthy, and I have always had a great interest in healthy eating, and medicine as food. So eating meat is inconsistent for me on many levels. My third reason is eating vegetarian is more sustainable for the earth, and I truly like beans, vegetables and rice, delicious fresh smoothies made with rice protein powder and frozen raspberries.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 9:35PM
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I included the link to my blog. As a recent vegetarian, or as I like to say, I've gone meatless, I get asked quite frequently why I would give up meat. I am a great cook and love all kinds of soups, stews, meats on the grill, etc. I am also a HUGE animal lover. I volunteer at a rescue and have for years been a saver of all things furry. One day in January 2013, I woke up and knew I could never eat meat again. I felt like a huge hypocrite. How could I love animals and yet eat them at every meal. After rescuing a chicken out of the road destined for Tysons, feeling its heart beat and its body tremor with fear, I knew it felt the same emotions I would have if I was thrown out of a truck into the middle of a highway. From that day on, I knew I would become a vegetarian at some point. It took me solid year to finally make the commitment. Is quitting cold turkey difficult? Absolutely. Do I feel any healthier? Not at all. Every time I get a hankering for a piece of fried chicken or a good steak, I ask myself, would I be willing to kill an innocent creature so that I could enjoy myself for an hour? For me, the answer is always no. No meal is worth killing something that I would otherwise consider having as a pet. So while it has not been easy, I feel like God has always been behind my decision and just getting me through the next day. I like myself a whole lot more these days for having made this lifestyle altering decision.

Here is a link that might be useful: A Vegetarian Calling - My blog

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 11:46AM
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I have been a vegetarian for over 2 decades. My main issues are the quality of life animals have while being raised for food, effects on the Earth due to the great demand for animal products, and the physical/emotional health of humans who work in the factory farming industry. I read "Diet for a New America" while I was in college and found no reason to eat meat, other than taste . . . I loved the taste of meat-- but it just wasn't good enough to me.

I think hunting for food is fine. Animals get to live the way they are meant to, and humans get to eat. No destruction of the Earth. I don't believe we are meant to be vegetarians-- I think we are omnivores, but should go light on animal products for many reasons, inc. health.

I do not advocate for others to become vegetarians. At this point in our society, it is too easy to consume too much dairy to compensate (which I do), which isn't really any better. In fact, it may be worse. Instead, I suggest we all consume animal products in moderation. If only we could apply "moderation" to our lifestyles in general, many problems would be solved!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 10:01PM
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I am a farmer too, but 4 years ago became a vegan per a naturopaths recommendation. I was bloated, had chest pains, allergies since I was a child, my joints all hurt and I was so tired that I just didn't want to do anything. It was recommended that I eat No meat, no dairy, no salt (except an occasional sea salt) and No High Fructose Corn syrup or artificial sweeteners (equal, nutrisweet, aspartame, or sugar, etc.)....I now have more energy than I had as a child and I am 55 years old. I no longer have to take steroids for my lungs, allergy pills, inhalers. My joints don't hardly hurt at all any more. And I dropped 70 lbs. the first year. I feel great! Yes, there are days I would love a piece of bacon, but it really isn't worth feeling bad again. I have been working with people for the last 3 months who have had every kind of flu out there this year as well as bad head colds, etc. Guess what....I have not caught any of it and I use the same computers that they do and touch the same stuff they do. I was told that sugar and dairy break down your immune system and fresh fruits and vegetables(not cooked) build your immune system. I do know this to be true as I used to catch everything that came along. My regular doctor always teases me and says he can't make any money on me as I eat too healthy. LOL I do eat a small amount of dairy in the form of real butter or ranch dressing, but always make sure to keep it below 5% of my daily intake. If you have Netflix, there is a movie on there called forks over knives which is real informative. Some of the Doctors on there who did the research came from family dairy farms. My whole family does not eat as I do, so we still raise our own chickens and fresh eggs and they are chemical free and fed organic feed. We don't feed genetically modified products to our animals either. Quite expensive, but much healthier for us.

1 Like    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 4:21PM
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This is a great thread, by the way.

I guess I'm a bit of an anomaly... The ethical and health issues associated with a carnivorous diet have little to do with my vegetarian lifestyle: I simply can't remember a time that I didn't have issues with the taste, smell and texture of meat/poultry and seafood.

Both of my parents grew up on farms and LOVE meat, and this is most likely the reason my sister and I grew up being served some kind of meat product for virtually every meal... except on occasions when we had seafood. Mealtimes were awful, a battle of wills over how much steak I would have to eat before I could leave the table, so my favorite part of any meal was dessert (still is, actually!) Raw meat is visually unappealing, and the smell of cooking meat and seafood is nauseating. I take that back: I do like the smell of cooking bacon and seasoned pork sausage, but the taste doesn't match the smell, and the nasty little beads of fat and bits of tough-as-nails gristle make me gag (seriously).

Like many others on this forum, I object to the way most commercialized farms are run. I do have my own 3-season garden and make every attempt to eat organic, but I don't beat myself up over occasional lapses in dietary consciousness when faced with a tasty (non-organic) vegetarian extravaganza.

I do try meat/poultry/seafood once a year to see if my tastes have changed in the 25 + years that I have "gone without," but so far I have not found anything to my liking. It would be nice to not worry about protein sources when I am traveling and dining out would be a lot more fun if I could handle things like bacon bits in artichoke dip or the (icky) flavor of meat broth in most restaurant-made soups.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 11:12PM
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My reason is that after thinking about what meat really is, I grossed out big time. I cannot ever again even IMAGINE putting part of a dead animal in my mouth and chewing on it. Gravy is cooked blood. That steak or chicken used to see, hear, and yep, POOP.
Never, ever, ever again. Talk about sickening.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 9:41PM
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Vegetarians Less Healthy, Lower Quality Of Life Than Meat-Eaters

Here is a link that might be useful: Vegetarians Less Healthy, Lower Quality Of Life Than Meat-Eaters

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 1:53AM
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Not really vegetarian but i am proud to say I began liking vegetables when i started juicing ad bought my cold press juicer. From then on.. I can drink raw vegetables as juice. there are veggies I cant eat before like kale and broccoli but now I can drink it.. but eversince I know we need vegetables so i'm glad was able to discover how to enjoy it

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 1:42PM
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Salvage & Bloom

I am a runner (half-marathons) and a vegan. I have always pretty much disliked eating red meat, and mainly only ate chicken. But personally I just have always wanted to live a more cruelty-free lifestyle. I have enjoyed the journey toward a vegan lifestyle. I feel more healthy as a runner on a vegan diet, and the dishes I have learned to prepare are really quite tasty.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2015 at 4:24PM
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