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Vegetarians: Why?

What made you choose your diet?

Tell me about your journey to being meatless.

I think my body and mind are pushing me to give up meat. Just woke up one morning and the thought of eating another animal squicked me out. A few days later I tried to force myself to eat some and ended up sick all night. Still not sure if it's permentant or a phase. Only time will tell but it was been 2ish weeks!

Just curious about others!

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  1. I gave up meat in college for environmental reasons, read Diet for a New America and didn't want to support the wasteful, polluting feedlot system. Plus a bit of sympathy for the animals, but mostly my concern was the energy & resources that go into producing meat. 10 years later, got really tired of being limited. Now there are so many options for local, organic, sustainable that weren't around in 1990, I don't know if I would have gone veg if those options were available then. Now I eat whatever i think may be delicious, more sustainable fish and very little beef. The environment is still a concern, and I never like beef much anyway. I like to travel and for me being willing and able to try most things is a huge part of that experience, I feel like I would miss out on so much flavor and culture if I was still veg.

    Eat what you like and what makes you feel good. I think some people get way too extreme about it. Yeah, when I was 22 I'd get all freaked out about if there was chicken stock in something, but I learned to get over it. Life is too short to be so high maintenance. Chickens are always going to lay eggs, bees are always going to make honey, and if you know how to cook and use an animal efficiently, you'll get more out of it. But you don't have to eat meat if you don't want to, and you also don't have to beat yourself up if you go veg then slip and have a slice of pepperoni pizza, or just really get a craving for bacon or smoked salmon or whatever. No reason to force yourself to eat things, just eat a variety of real foods, eat what you like, and you'll be fine.

    1. My parents are vegetarian, so I was bought up vegetarian and have never eaten meat. I consider myself to be a very healthy 30 year old (touch wood)- only minor colds, fit, agile, healthy weight etc so I've never seen the nutritional need to eat meat.

      I do find it increasingly restrictive. I really hate eating out, unless it's somewhere where I know I can get decent choices. I'm not going to let my dietary restrictions dictate where a whole group of my friends are going to eat, so I am used to having the one deathly dull and unimaginative vegetarian option on the menu.

      It's a good mark of a chef BTW - if they can't be arsed to come up with a decent, innovative vegetarian option, what else can't they be arsed with?

      1. Some people do it for religious reasons, some for moral/ethical reasons, and others do it for dietary reasons. Then there are those -- like you -- who seem to do it simply because they either prefer vegetables to meat, or really don't like meat much at all.

        Whatever the reason, as long as you are comfortable in your dietary choices -- both from a personal and health perspective -- stay true to your course.

        Eat and let eat.

        1. I'm not a vegetarian. I'd eat fish or seafood every night of the week if I could afford to.

          But meat? It just grosses me out to touch meat. I prefer to make things that don't require touching meat. I'm much more inclined to use ground turkey in chili, say, than cut up a chuck roast. I make Bolognese from ground beef and pork. Except for flank, I don't think I've made steak in my entire life.

          Every now and then I'll make meat loaf or meatballs, but really, that's a very rare occasion. I never tire of eating pasta, vegetables, cheese, and fish, so besides chili or Bolognese, I really don't eat much meat.

          1. I tried it out for some months way back. I probably experimented because of curiosity and pressure (from relationships). One day, I ate tempeh. "#%!$ this" was my reaction. After thinking about it, it was something of an easy conclusion that I wasn't happy. And, that was that. Meat is awesome. I like meat. I will eat meat. I am content.

            2 Replies
            1. re: ediblover

              You totally reminded me of the time my husband suggested we become veggies. I worked hard for two weeks to make meals that would make him not miss meat even though we were both craving it.

              We both threw in the towel after I drove his car and found various fast food hamburger wrappers hiding under his seat! What a cheater?!

              1. re: MamaCrunch

                I would've been all, "You know me, I never clean my car. Some of these wrappers are from last year!"

            2. My parents tell me I was grossed out by meat even as a toddler, but I was only allowed to go veg when I turned 14. By that point, I was able to formulate why I didn't want to eat animals (beyond "ewwwww") and what I planned to eat instead. I've never felt deprived and I've never craved meat, so I guess it's pretty easy for me.

              1. I'm a pescetarian. Does that count? I've discovered that I'm allergic to a growing number of fish, so it's mainly vegetarian.

                So . . . I saw something, last year, a situation in which someone was being cruel to an animal, and found myself in the position of struggling to change another person's behavior (if not their reasoning). It was a terrible time, but I came to realize that I could *not* ask such a thing of another person if I did not require the same of myself. It was only fair, right? At first, I thought, maybe I'll just buy the 'happy' meat. But I wanted to go without it for awhile, to make sure that I actually could do this. And I have done it. And the more time that goes on, the less likely it seems that I will eat meat (other than fish) again.

                In some ways, it was actually a huge relief to just do this already (I'd been feeling conflicted for awhile), but it has been a bit difficult. I miss just grabbing a take-out menu, and ordering whatever struck my craving, without having to parse the damn thing before I settle for 'good enough'. Right now, the whole neighborhood smells of barbecue, and I am certain it's a plate of ribs. And I want some. I am a pretty goo cook, and I miss those flavors, and those dishes. Meat is *easy* to cook, and to satisfy a group with.

                But what willing home-cook doesn't feel the need to be challenged? I like that. And the upside is that I'm paying far greater attention to my health. I know that there can be holes in a vegetarian diet, and so I'm putting greater thought into what I eat now than I ever did as an omnivore. I'm glad I did this. It's been nine months since I ate meat . . . if you don't count Christmas, when I realized that I had put off breaking the news to my mother for a wee bit too long, and was faced with a ham dinner. Yeah, I ate the damn ham.

                So, to sum up, I'm happy I chose this, but I didn't kick myself for eating the damn ham. Good luck, with whatever you choose.

                5 Replies
                1. re: onceadaylily

                  What a lovely post onceadaylily. Did you tell your mom yet? I have some ugly stories about holiday meals that I don't want to share here on ch and it was nice of you to handle the situation with grace.
                  I've been experimenting with a raw vegan diet to help my friend who is also trying this way of eating. We have watched a couple of movies about how a raw vegan diet can improve the health of people with serious diseases. One of the reasons I'm motivated is for financial reasons. The way health insurance and medical costs are getting so very expensive here in the US, I figure I can't afford to be sick. I'm healthy right now and I want to stay that way as long as possible.
                  The diet is fairly easy right now since it's summer in Pennsylvannia and fresh local fruits and vegetables are plentiful and cheap. I find that I have more energy and I've never felt more well hydrated in my life. I tried to get my friend John to try the diet, he is often short on funds and bananas can be bought almost anywhere in my neck of the woods. He was surprised to find that after only a short time he was starting to get cravings for bananas. He is prone to headaches and I'm convinced that they are caused or at least made worse because he is constantly dehydrated. He ate about six peaches before a long outing on friday and he was in a good mood and headache free most of the time. What a relief! He can be so grouchy!
                  I still eat meat once in awhile. A long time ago I heard that vegetarians had to take supplements to make up for what they were missing out on with not eating meat. I remember thinking at the time (I was young) why the heck don't they just eat meat once a month or so? instead? Now I understand that people follow a vegetarian diet for lots of different reasons.
                  There are a few tricks to my raw vegan diet though. My friend ate a lot of apples in one session and got really bad gas. Doh! At least he is being careful of his teeth. After sweet fruit you need to rinse out your mouth or take a dental mint or chew some dental gum. Another "hack" is to eat a good portion of raw green leafy vegetable before you "cheat" and eat something cooked. I've been told that this negates some of the ill effects of cooked foods. I'll let you know how it works out. My friend does eat cooked food at least once a week to make sure he will always be able to tolerate it. A special diet can be socially isolating.

                  1. re: givemecarbs

                    Yeah, if you have to "hack" your food, you might be going a little extreme. Eating should be a pleasure, not a stressor.

                    1. re: pikawicca

                      I'm not stressed at all pikawicca. I'm a gamer though. Love my loopholes he he he! I'm not even sure this hack will work but would be pretty cool if it did. Sort of like having your cake and eating it too.

                    2. re: givemecarbs

                      Thanks, and, yeah, it can be a bit isolating. I did tell my mom, a few weeks after Christmas. She handled it with an awkward pause, followed by, "But . . . what do you *eat*?" The funny thing is, whenever she doesn't have to cook for her household, she opts for light meatless meals, and loves eating that way. Once I pointed out that I was living on her favorite while-the-husband-is-away meals, she immediately relaxed about the whole thing. My mom handled it with far more ease than some of my friends, which puzzled me (as our wider circle has quite a few vegans and vegetarians). But I just chalk that up to other, more complex, issues needing a convenient home, and have kept my distance from the one who felt the need to remark on my diet *every* time we were together, in that mock-playful way that isn't playful at all--like telling the waitress, "Hold the bacon for *this* girl!" (as she pointed at me) "She doesn't DO that anymore!" after I'd already ordered my dish--the one that doesn't even come with bacon. The majority of my friends just asked a few questions, and have seemed to move on, though. It's funny, though, the ones who accepted it with the most grace are also the ones who share my passion for cooking (that struck me as odd at first, but it actually makes sense, as they have a far greater knowledge of the types of things I can still enjoy).

                      I'm glad to hear you're doing well on the diet, givemecarbs. I remember when you were mulling it over, and wanting to get as much information as possible before you went through with it. And it must be nice to have a friend or two who are doing this with you.

                      1. re: onceadaylily

                        onceadaylily, I enjoyed reading about the finesse you used with your mom. Sounds like things could have gone differently if you weren't so insightful and if she wasn't willing to hear your insights. This diet is certainly an adventure, I'm learning so much. Unfortunately some of it has been of the bacon comments variety.
                        My one friend is unflinching in his desire to try this way of eating, and I am riding his coat tails but my other friend is all over the place as he is with so many things in his life. My friend John has gone from hanging out with me at the local raw cafe and even attending a couple of classes and seminars to angrily scolding my other friend and I for mentioning the diet. My friend has taken to feeding his dog some raw chicken for the dog's health and John even hollered at him for mentioning that. John had been interested in raw vegan for one reason only, to lose weight, I guess it didn't happen quick enough to suit him.

                  2. Interesting question, because I just recently posted on another CH board about how I'm a vegetarian (and now recently turned pescatarian) of 15+ years who is considering giving it up and eating meat again!

                    I became vegetarian because I was a teenager who had been learning about factory farms in debate class and couldn't stomach eating meat anymore -- since at that time, at least, it was really hard and expensive to buy meat that wasn't raised in a factory farm, and since I didn't cook, I just stopped eating meat. I've never had any health problems come from my diet, and I've enjoyed it. However, I am just getting so sick of going to expensive restaurants and getting served a "seasonal pasta" dish (which they usually don't even describe on the menu, as if vegetarians are so clueless and uninterested in food that they don't care what they are eating) that I'm about ready to give it up. I want to eat the meat at these places, and eat the tacos on the street corner when I go to Mexico, and eat the chicken stew when we visit Ecuador, etc.

                    But, I don't know, I haven't decided yet. I was all ready to give it up and then a few weeks ago, we had to put our cat to sleep, and I started questioning why *one* animal's death caused me so much pain, when "another" animals might be justified in the case of wanting to eat meat... and around and around I go ;)

                    1. I toyed with the notion in college, for health reasons, not ethical ones, though it never really took. I think there's something about living in Texas that sort of shoves you in the direction of eating meat. Bear in mind that by the time I was a teenager, I had toured a slaughterhouse, seen my grandmother dispatch a goat in our garage, helped hold down a turkey that was about to lose its head, and had explained to me how to skin and butcher a rabbit (with a live demo, of course) by my cousin.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: gilintx

                        I think experiences like those build respect for animals, and our place in the world. Words like beef tend to distance ourselves. You're eating cow, people, not "beef" It's deer, not "venison". I'm anglosaxon like that.

                      2. For me, being vegetarian is mostly a matter of disavowing the Eden myth – the notion that the earth’s bounty exists solely for man’s enjoyment. Why should humans raise animals for slaughter rather than let them run free? Why should we reach into the ocean and take what we want without regard for its ecological balance? Why should we waste land and water to produce food for livestock when we could be putting it to more efficient use producing food for ourselves?

                        Carnivores say they’re simply obeying their genetic impulse, that it’s natural for animals, of which we’re one, to kill and eat one another. This may be true, but homo sapiens has the intelligence to recognize the scope of the situation and rise above our animal nature.

                        When I first became a vegetarian, I figured that eating wild meat was not inappropriate since it was the breeding-for-slaughter idea that I objected to. Now I simply refuse to eat anything capable of fleeing a predator (what does that leave, farmed bivalves?). I guess it all comes down to “live and let live” – and being able to live with myself.

                        1. Initially, it was my now-husband who made me see the light, as it were. When we first met, he was vegan, but now he's vegetarian. He never tried to push me, but we had conversations about it and eventually I decided to switch to pescetarianism on my own. Now, I've been a vegetarian for about 4 years.

                          I'm a vegetarian for both ethical and environmental reasons. The health benefits are a nice side effect.

                          Ethically, I cannot reconcile eating conscious, intelligent creatures when there are easy, healthy alternatives. Essentially, I view the animal kingdom as a scale of intelligence. I actually have no issues with people eating things like scallops because they don't even have brains--just primitive nervous systems. I view them as not much more advanced than plants. But I have two rabbits--who are awesome--and they are not only intelligent, but clearly possess feelings and emotions, even if they aren't directly analogous to ours. I think it's wrong to end the life of an intelligent creature just for food. At this point, the thought of doing so actually makes me very sad.

                          I am also a pretty staunch environmentalist, and eating meat is pretty hard to defend as an environmentally-friendly stance. I've done a fair bit of academic research on the subject and livestock farming destroys water supplies and ecosystems, is a significant contributor to climate change and deforestation, and leads to the spread of drug-resistant disease. These are just the effects off the top of my head.

                          And yes, pollution is a bad thing, as long as you believe things like disease and suffering are suboptimal. It has always existed in some form, but the rapid spread of industrialization and technology has exponentially increased the amounts and effects.

                          1. I'm 33 and haven't eaten meat since I was 14. My mother told me I loathed meat as an infant/toddler and that all I would really eat were scallops, bacon and chicken. I guess the idea of eating an animal repulsed me even then, so completely quitting was natural to me. I don't miss it, though I love the smell of cooking bacon.

                            5 Replies
                                1. re: invinotheresverde

                                  You were such a cool older sister, I couldn't help it.

                              1. I have a very good friend who doesn't eat meat because she doesn't like it. Plain and simple. If you don't like it, don't eat it. I don't like venison. So guess what. I don't eat it.


                                1. I am a carnivore and am married to a vegetarian. When we met and married, he loved meat---the more, the better. I have never been a huge meat eater, or have had any compelling reason to avoide it.

                                  He stopped eating meat when his doctor scared the crap out of him with his cholesterol numbers. He was in his early 30's, traveling a lot and eating poorly while on the road (indulging his love of big juicy steaks everywhere he could). He felt it was easier to just quit all together, though he occasionally gorged on meat. Then the e.coli sicknesses and deaths scared him off red meat all together and he ultimately stopped eating it all--poultry and seafood included. I have of course taunted him when there was an e-coli breakout in the spinach supply a few years ago.

                                  It turns out his cholesterol issues are genetic (he recently met his bio-father and two half-siblings, all of whom have huge issues with high cholesterol). His healthier eating may help a bit, but he still has to be on a statin. I have asked him to consider eating meat again because selfishly, it would make cooking for the family more fun. By now, this is his lifestyle and he sees no reason to change it. Thankfully, he isn't freakish about it and if he has to pick a chunk of meat out of something he thought was vegetarian, he is a great sport about it and never, ever calls attention to himself about it. He just adapts easily, so I guess I should be happy about that.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: jlhinwa

                                    "Then the e.coli sicknesses and deaths scared him off red meat all together and he ultimately stopped eating it all--poultry and seafood included."

                                    I think more people get e coli from eating vegetables than meat these days ><

                                    1. re: twyst

                                      True. Not necessarily because vegetables are more likely to be contaminated but because people are less likely to cook vegetables. Though as a point of academic interest, the origin is still in meat. The forms of e coli that cause hemorrhagic colitis and other illnesses of news-worthy severity come more or less exclusively from the digestive tracts of ruminants. They get on to vegetables by cross contamination and by use of manure as a fertilizer and by runoff from meat producers.

                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                        And by walk-throughs by racoons, deer, feral pigs, etc. These animals can also pollute the water used to irrigate the fields. Extremely difficult to protect against.

                                      2. re: twyst

                                        Agreed, and I think he knows it isn't completely rational on his part. We live in the Seattle area where there were several deaths and a number of very ill people from the Jack-in-the-Box e.coli episode in the early 90's. We knew a college kid who got really, really sick and he was a big guy--250+ athletic, football-player type and the e.coli knocked him flat and had him in the hospital with his family afraid for his life for a number of days (weeks?). I think it is one of those things that imprinted on him and he just doesn't care to change his views now.

                                        Thankfully, we worked out an agreement regarding our daughter and her diet (she is now 10). I promised not to resort to bribery to get her to eat meat and he promised not to tell her she was eating baby cows, chicks, pigs, etc. Happily, she is more adventurous about the meat/poultry/seafood she eats than I am.

                                    2. Cancer.
                                      After 2 bouts of Breast cancer and then cancerous cervical cells. I was so frustrated with following doctors orders and still being sick, that I felt that I needed to take control of something. I am in the food industry, I'm not just a carnavore..people who eat burgers and chicken. I ate lambs brain, and foie gras and bone marrow and lardo and porchetta and wild boar....The more I learned about food, the more I learned about food production and farming. I had started to develop a theory years ago that my cancer was food based. As far as processed food was concerned. Then I learned more about factory farming, which is also processed food and I became sure that is the source of not only my illness but countless illnesses aorund the world.
                                      I gave up all animal products...6 months later no more cervical cancer cells and I've been this way ever since, 3 years. I eat Vegertarian 95% of the time and of that Vegan 90%. I make sure my animal consumption is worth it for me.
                                      I have always believed that animals (cow/pig/chicken) were brought into this world for our consumption. I have since become very wary of the methods used to bring them into this world and the processes developed to make them consumption ready....
                                      I wouldn't be surprised if you ate meat and all of a sudden you started to reject it...do some basic research, documentaries, books, etc. They'll confirm exactly why that's happened.
                                      The economical and ecological benefits are really great perks, but not my initial motivation.

                                      9 Replies
                                      1. re: nypeaches

                                        Wow nypeaches! Thanks so much for your inspiring comments. I believe you. This is why I am trying the raw vegan way. I was discussing my diet with someone after church and the woman asked if I had cancer. My answer was why wait?
                                        I especially like the way you use percentages rather than the all or nothing approach that gets us into trouble in so many areas of life.

                                        1. re: nypeaches

                                          If you know of any peer-reviewed studies that show that vegans live longer/ are healthier than omnivores, I'd love to see them.

                                          1. re: pikawicca

                                            I would strongly suggest that anyone considering a vegan lifestyle read "The Vegetarian Myth" by Lierre Keith. She was a vegan for twenty years and she almost completely destroyed her health because of it. She does an excellent job of debunking the reasons people go vegan (health, ethics, politics). A very eye-opening book--and recommended to me by a friend who was a longtime vegetarian (now ex, obviously)

                                            1. re: MandalayVA

                                              I have not read the book, and I'm not vegan, but of course it's easy to ruin one's health when dramatic forms of nutrients are cut out of a diet. My husband was a potato-chip-and-Hydrox-cookie vegan for five years until his doctor begged/forced him to go lacto/ovo.

                                              Interesting rebuttal to "The Vegetarian Myth" here: http://skepticalvegan.wordpress.com/2...

                                              I'm especially fond of the part where she calls herself vegan and then says she ate eggs and dairy every chance sh

                                              1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                "...every chance she got."

                                                What is with the Edit feature lately? It always cuts off the end of my posts.

                                                1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                  The junk food vegans and vegetarians really make me mad. Plus the people I talk to claim that dairy is worse for you than meat and if you were to pick only one to cut (dairy or meat) dairy should go first for health reasons.
                                                  I'm not thrilled about this news, I love my yogurt and ice cream and cheese. I do think the dairy industry is powerful

                                                2. re: MandalayVA

                                                  But....why should people be "talked out" of vegetarianism just because this woman wanted to make a buck off her own personal dietary experiences?

                                                  1. re: LeoLioness

                                                    Having read the book, I think the major point Keith debunks is the environmentalism of vegetariansm. I think she definitely cherry picks her health information from low-carb diet advocates, but she makes a very strong case against vegetarianism as a form of environmentalism.

                                                    It takes an ENORMOUS amount of water and fertilizer and land and resources to grow the grains and soybeans that are staples in the vegetarain diet. The American prairie is not meant to sustain this type of agriculture (it is not the ideal climate at all). Water and fuel are wasted to plant and plow. We douse the land with chemical fertilizers that pollute the land and the water, and destroy the topsoil (and once you destroy the topsoil, the land isn't usable anymore, so you have to go find new land to ruin). Think you're not killing animals? Industrial agriculture kills birds, rodents, insects, rabbits. Land has to be cleared of every living thing before planting and then you have to keep those animals from eating your crops.

                                                    Keith argues that we need a more cyclical culture. Eat meat, raise them on grass and the local plants. Their manure and blood and bones enrich the soil that allows plants to grow naturally. Everything in nature consumes everything else. Insdustrial agriculture is destroying this cycle and the planet and animals are dying regardless (just not always the cute ones that we can easily anthropomorphize).

                                                3. re: pikawicca

                                                  Many request peer-reviewed studies so as to substantiate their point of view; then if there are no peer-review studies, they have made their point.

                                                  "US Supreme Court decision, described on the Web site of the International Symposium on Peer Reviewing: ISPR 2009 point out growing dissatisfaction with the process."

                                              2. Hi, great question and interesting conversation!

                                                I was a vegetarian for ten years and quit around a year and a half ago (I think). For me it was a combination of factors, not a single one. I was always the person (gross alert!) who found the icky crunchy thing in the burger; if there was a vein in the chicken, I was the one who noticed it. Because of what my husband calls "pickiness" and what I call "the gross factor," I had moved away from eating any kind of ground meat. Many of the charities I supported were environmental or animal welfare groups (still are!), and most of those donations came with a magazine or newsletter subscription, which I generally weep over. I love animals for themselves. Then there's the "factory farms trash the environment/you can feed a million people with the soybeans grown on land you could only get five cows from" [**stats not accurate, obv**] factor. On top of everything else, I turned 30, was overweight, cholesterol, fat, etc., etc. So it was really all those factors combined.

                                                Eventually I had a tussle with anemia, fought with, first, supplements and, later, iron injections. Finally we figured that my body likes "food iron." And I thought, gee, it means I could have bacon ...

                                                I still cook mostly vegetarian at home, which is still fine with my never-was-a-vegetarian husband, but since I live in a small Midwestern town, it's nice to go to a restaurant and be able to get something besides old salad, overcooked pasta, and cheese cheese cheese.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: occula

                                                  Sounds like you found what works best for you occula. I used to eat out once a week with a group of gamers and it made me grind my teeth to see the guys all ordering steaks and the young women of child-bearing age get the chicken. Wisely I kept my mouth shut and ate my steak.

                                                2. I do the cooking for my family and in an attempt to save money I make lots of pasta and rice dishes. We all eat meat but stretching it in a pasta or rice dish saves money and is healthier I think. There are four of us and using 1lbs to 1-1/2lbs of ground meat I can make enough sauce to last us half a week. If I used that meat instead to make burgers I might get four out of it. I like the idea of meat as condiment which essentially what it is if the pasta, rice, etc aren't over dressed

                                                  8 Replies
                                                  1. re: Chinon00

                                                    *nods* I phase into and out of being a carnie. Gone weeks eating nothing but pizza, make a whole meal out of just veggies. And then a bit of gorging on meat. Is more natural, ya? Eating meat every day is not what we're adapted for (and it is totally not necessary! Fat soluble vitamins, ppl!)

                                                    1. re: Chowrin

                                                      Neither are we meant to eat pasta, rice and potatoes every day. Healthy? Right....

                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                        ...we've been eating it for thousands of years, I'm pretty sure our bodies have adjusted to it by NOW. You know, like drinking beer killed off the stupid-angries. Fire, by this point, is something humans have adapted to, so I'm certain that eating starch is something that we've adapted to as well.

                                                        Would you rather have us eat beans and nuts every day? [which are less cultivated than wheat and rice, at least.]

                                                        1. re: Chowrin

                                                          All I'm saying is a diet of predominantly carbohydrates is not the healthiest way to eat. I never said anything about adapting to anything. Nuts and beans are likely better for ya.

                                                          Now go eat what you want, and I'll eat what I want - a *balanced* diet of pretty much everything :-P

                                                      2. re: Chowrin

                                                        Considering that agriculture is about 10,000 years old, it's not like there were year-round supplies of anything at the "dawn of man." You ate what you could get. There were likely extended periods where meat was available and was the primary food source. So "eating meat every day" is not an outrageous presumption. There are still cultures where meat is a huge part of the diet (e.g. Inuit).

                                                        1. re: ferret

                                                          ... fish, yes, but only in migration season (most fishing was with nets, as well, and would have hunted a territory dry fairly quickly). Mostly you caught deer/rabbits when you caught them.

                                                          As I stated, we've adapted to beer via "natural" selection, and that's less than 10,000 years old.

                                                          1. re: Chowrin

                                                            That's a pretty bold and unsupportable statement. The fact that we can now control our food supplies (and again, only those of us with relative "wealth" can do so) doesn't mean we've adapted physiologically in any way.

                                                            1. re: ferret

                                                              not at all so. you should read more books. the germanic tribes who survived on beer (sanitary purposes) have a pronounced tolerance for the stuff (fewer angry drunks). Likewise, the northern europeans have much less lactose intolerance, as they did not use yogurt.

                                                              Natural selection based on food choice, or absence thereof. People DIED if they couldn't metabolize certain things.

                                                    2. even though i am a pescatarian, not a vegetarian, i will respond because 90% of my meals are vegetarian.

                                                      the reason i started eating more vegetarian food and the reasons i continue doing so are different from each other.

                                                      i started because of all the ethical/environmental reasons that have been so well described by others on this thread.

                                                      i continued because the chronic arthritis that i'd had for years while eating meat and poultry completely disappeared after 4 months of being essentially vegetarian.
                                                      i no longer go through the costco-sized bottles of motrin. in fact, i threw away the last bottle i had of the stuff because it expired.
                                                      i no longer need to spend money going to doctors to get refills for Celebrex.
                                                      I no longer fear traveling because of concern about what would happen if i were to get "stranded' somewhere because of my arthritis pain.
                                                      my life is completely different and better because i am no longer in pain.

                                                      now, i've gone so long without eating meat/poultry that it no longer smells nor looks at all attractive to me

                                                      7 Replies
                                                      1. re: westsidegal

                                                        Wow that is amazing westsidegal. Such an interesting story. If vegetarians want others to stop eating meat and dairy I think they should focus on the health and feel good aspects of the diet. I believe it would work so much better. Animals would still be spared. I'll bet eating fish once in awhile keeps you from having to take supplements too and makes it easier to socialize and eat out. The people I am learning from tell me that dairy is the worst, then meat. I sure do miss my fage yogurt.

                                                        1. re: givemecarbs

                                                          I'd like to present another perspective on the health benefits of vegetarianism.

                                                          My sister and I both went veg in college. I remained that way for a year, but she continued on. Both of us became veg as a way to get negative attention from our parents.

                                                          As a result, my sis lost a lot of weight (she was fat in high school) and has remained thin ever since. Many years went by. She got married, matured, gained a new, stronger sense of self-identity and confidence in herself which was separate and apart from being the ignored child who craved negative attention.

                                                          One night at dinner with her husband (she was in her late 20s/early 30s) she looked at his plate of seared scallops.

                                                          Mr Taster-In-Law asked, "Honey, what are you looking at?"
                                                          Mrs Taster-Sis said, "Those scallops look really good."
                                                          Mr Taster-In-Law asked, "Would you like to try one?"

                                                          She took a bite, and as when Eve bit into the forbidden fruit, her world changed forever. Within two weeks, she was eating steak and loving it, and has remained that way ever since.

                                                          But here's the rub. As a vegetarian, she was fighting a lot of health problems. She was losing hair. Within weeks of eating meat, that all but stopped. She had chronic psoriasis for years. That cleared up. She had chronic gastric ulcers. Those healed. For all the health claims of becoming vegetarian, she became a healthier person because she began to eat meat.

                                                          Please don't misunderstand-- I'm not drawing the conclusion that everyone needs to eat meat to be healthy. But I do feel far too often people hold vegetarianism up on a pedestal as the cure-all for America's ills, and the real lesson to be learned is that no dogmatically dictated diet is the answer.

                                                          But I will say in contrast that there are many culturally-dictated vegetarian diets around the world (maintained by traditional cultures who have eaten vegetarian diets for centuries) and these diets tend to be much more well rounded than our own. Please don't misunderstand my words-- I am not saying that is isn't possible to have a healthy, well-balanced vegetarian diet in the USA. But what I am saying is that we don't have the strong, broad foundation, tradition and history in our young society to automatically know (by default) what a proper, well-balanced vegetarian diet is. There are still far too many pizza-and-Coke, processed food vegetarians in this culture for our own good, and an improper vegetarian diet can be just as unhealthy as an improper diet with meat.

                                                          Mr Taster

                                                          1. re: Mr Taster

                                                            There is no single road to health, it's a combination of factors. Despite the near-evangelical tone of some vegetarian/vegan sites, vegetarians and vegans still get diseases. You can be healthy with any diet as long as you approach it sensibly.

                                                            1. re: Mr Taster

                                                              Thanks Mr. Taster for your insights. A woman I know who is a raw vegan (she has stuck to raw vegan for three months) is having trouble with hair loss and is trying to tweak her diet to fix that. She is eating more leafy greens and spiritulina and is actually considering eating steak once in awhile.
                                                              I think the junk food vegans and vegetarians are idiots frankly, and I usually don't use such strong language in my posts. I love the story about the scallops, sounds like your sister was listening to her body, as someone else in this thread has said is important. I'm glad things are working out for her. Does she also consume dairy do you happen to know? I'm very disconcerted by what I have been learning about yogurt in particular, which used to be a mainstay in my diet.

                                                              1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                I don't think my sister ever had an issue with dairy. I certainly don't. Nonetheless, I do like to buy raw (unpasteurized) milk occasionally, which still contains all of the lactose-consuming bacteria that are killed during pasteurization. The upshot of this is that lactose intolerant people can drink raw milk, because it's essentially "self-digesting".

                                                                I tested this health claim with a highly lactose in tolerant colleague, and it worked wonders for her. And apparently once you've fortified your intestines with a shot of lactose-digesting bacteria, it apparently helps your body to digest pasteurized dairy later in the day. It's good stuff.


                                                                And if you want to read up on pro-raw milk propaganda and find where you can get it in your area, click here:

                                                                I know that Organic Pastures will ship to anywhere in the USA, although they might need to label your milk as "pet food/not for human consumption" in order to avoid legal problems of selling raw milk in states where it is not legal to buy. I think it's kind of funny to think that some people are ordering raw chocolate milk as pet food.

                                                                Mr Taster

                                                                1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                  Do tell what very disconcerting things you have been learning about yogurt. I promise not to start a 'yogurt is bad?' thread : )

                                                                  1. re: babette feasts

                                                                    Yes, I'm curious, too. The "yogurt is bad for you" discourse must have gone by when I wasn't paying attention.

                                                          2. My 22 yo son is trying to become a vegetarian due to his strong feelings about animal cruelty in the raising and processing of beef and other meats/poultry. The problem that he is running into is that he is the pickiest eater alive and has been this way since he could eat solid food. His diet was highly meat based and he dislikes veggies. To say it has been an uphill battle is an understatement.

                                                            The bright side is that he has gotten so hungry that he has tried things he wouldn't normally such as veggie burgers etc. He has also embraced salads, which if you knew him, is a huge stride forward. Time will tell if he sticks with it.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: baseballfan

                                                              I don't know where you live but if he truly enjoys meat you can find many farms where the animals are raised ethically and humanely. EatWild.com is a great resource to find farms in your area.


                                                              1. re: MandalayVA

                                                                I live in the SF Bay Area and there are certainly many great resources for humanely raised meats. Unfortunately, he is on a starving student budget which allows that type of splurge infrequently. I have been encouraging him to at least try some new things and have been successful to a certain degree. I think it/he is still a work in progress.

                                                            2. I have been a vegetarian for over 30 years. It started out as moral support for someone who was trying to give up meat because of the side effects of consuming hormone-fed livestock. But I never went back. If your body is telling you something, you should listen. The body is designed well that way. I believe that is what everyone needs to do more, listen to their own body. Instead, we take substances to suppress the information coming from our bodies because we think it is more convenient not to listen, and we think the mind knows better. But this is not always true, because the mind is subject to manipulation and delusion. If my body tells me now that I should eat meat, I probably would. So far it has not. Hope this helps.

                                                              1. I've always tended towards vegetarianism. Mom says it was a sign of things to come when I refused to eat anything but tomato soup and grilled cheese as a toddler. I was vegetarian on and off for much of my childhood, either out of orneriness, choice or through circumstances (when Dad was away on deployment Mom cooked vegetarian).

                                                                Coming from a family of hunters, gatherers and farmers I am opposed to commercial farming practices. My relatives loved, cared for and named the animals that would eventually become dinner. It wasn't a race to see how fat they could get the goat before slaughter.

                                                                My uncles tease that I'd give up on this vegetarian phase (15 yrs) if I lived closer. Truth is I probably would. I liked elk as a kid.

                                                                1. We have 5 kids. The middle child had an Ethical Tratment of Animals course at the progressive high school at which I taught. Since the course, 10 years ago, he has been a vegitarian and an excellent bread baker. When he lived at home, I converted what ever we were eating to one vegitarian plate, or made veggie Mexican, Italian, Indian, etc foods for every one. I supprted and encouraged his food choices. In Maine, we were nearly Veggiemarians.

                                                                  1. I gave up red meat for health reasons and somewhat for environmental reasons, as time went on became more invested in the environment/ethical/I really hate factory farms reasons, which led to me quitting all meat. Now, I REALLY don't miss it, am happy without, but am not opposed to others eating meat, and congratulate people who take care to source local meat from well-treated animals. Which, among my peers (college kids) is nobody...*sigh*

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: frannieface77

                                                                      I've never liked red meat and pork since I can remember. I will eat chicken and fish, but actually I only eat them because it is in my mind that I 'should' eat them for health, but if it were not for my husband's desire for meat, pork, chicken and fish, I wouldn't think of buying anything but scallops, crab and shrimp for my plate. What meat that does come into our home is grass-fed or home range, nothing ever that is 'conventionally' raised.

                                                                      Although, the taste of meat is the underlying reason which keeps me away from it. But I will eat a 'cremated' burger.

                                                                      I don't know how healthy it is to take B12 supplements, but I do take them, and have my B12 tested, and I'm in range.

                                                                    2. I've been a vegetarian for seven years. Growing up, I didn't like meat. I would be on the bus coming home from school and see a dead raccoon in the middle of the road and think, "That's disgusting." Then I'd come home and have a steak on my dinner plate and I couldn't- and still can't- see how the two are any different. At the end of the day it's just a dead animal. But as a kid I ate it, because I wasn't motivated enough to learn to cook and my parents weren't really interested in accommodating another of my picky-eating habits (I also didn't like fruit or raw vegetables!). I moved out at eighteen with no cooking skills, but got by for the next few years. I don't think I ever prepared any meats other than the occasional chicken breast- I certainly didn't ever buy bacon, or ground beef, or fish. I continued also to not eat fruit, raw vegetables, or many other vegetables.

                                                                      Then, I finished university at twenty and moved to Spain. I did a homestay while taking a language class and looking for work, and one night my "Spanish mom" served me a bowl of rabbit stew. It looked like she took a rabbit and pulsed it a couple times in a blender. I had an instant revelation- if I could stomach salads, and fruits, and "weird" vegetables (like those gosh-darned bell peppers!) I wouldn't have to eat pulverized bunnies anymore. So I poured the soup down the toilet (I think... I am totally sure I didn't eat it and this seems like the only way I could have got rid of it), retreated to my room, and woke up the next morning a vegetarian. I forced myself to eat things I had never eaten before, and within a month or two I'd developed a taste for pretty much every vegetable under the sun. I was also trying new foods all the time, and started cooking with lots of different grains and pulses. I had also never been a big cheese person, but it only took a month or two of living in Europe to realize there was a whole world of cheese beyond the suburban North American supermarket. Basically... I started eating everything except meat... and most fruits.

                                                                      In January 2008 I'd been a vegetarian for just over three years, when I moved to Mexico for seven months. The fruit tasted better. It felt better in my mouth. Suddenly, I couldn't get enough. I started every morning with a giant bowl of fruit topped with plain yogurt. When I came back to Canada the fruit didn't taste AS good, but I'd developed such a taste for it that I didn't stop eating it. Today, I would say that I'm open to eating absolutely anything that is not animal flesh. If it's not a chunk of dead animal, I'll eat it. Some people don't like watching baseball, some people don't like the colour orange, some people don't like rap music... I don't like eating meat. Life goes on.