Why I Became a Vegetarian
It’s been several months now since I became a lacto-ovo vegetarian. For me, there was no easing into it, one day, I simply decided to go cold turkey. Haven’t eaten meat since (though there was an incident where I mistook some fried calamari for onion rings). Several factors made me decide to be a vegetarian:
1) Several people I know/knew were or are vegetarians. Going out to eat with them, I realized that there are numerous delicious options for vegetarians on almost any restaurant menu, especially in Los Angeles. This was important because I wouldn’t have to stress about food selection in social settings.
2) I read several credible sources that said a vegetarian diet was comparable or better for one’s health than an omnivorous diet; that being a vegetarian I would not be missing any vital nutrients necessary for life. I think this is the place where most people’s arguments against vegetarianism go, and it’s just not true. Vegetarians with good eating habits (similar to Omnivores with good eating habits) get plenty of protein and sometimes even more of other nutrients than is necessary.
3) I encountered testimonies of people turned vegetarian or vegan (including Steve Pavlina’s) that were largely positive, touting an increase in energy, alertness etc.
4) I was curious. I wanted to see if the testimonies were true. I wanted to see if it was difficult. I was interested to see if I had the self-discipline to stay on what seemed to me then such a restrictive diet. The “could I do it?” question was an important one.
5) I’m a poopy-head-bleeding heart-pinko-commie-liberal. I’m not. (I recently heard a political affiliation that applies to me. I think I’m a radical moderate. That one’s okay, but I still prefer independent).
5.5) I love animals. But me not eating steak or bacon will not stop livestock from being killed. Period.
As with many of my personal growth projects, this one started, for the most part, on a whim. I didn’t spend days planning future schedules. I didn’t actually think very deeply about it at all. One day, I just said, “hmmm, can I go this day without eating meat?” Yes, I could and I did. I don’t know when I started, but I think it was February or March. Either way, I was never in it for the count. People have predicted that I would have given the diet up by now. They’re wrong. What will happen tomorrow? I don’t know.
What I do know is that, I take Benjamin Franklin’s (a sometime-vegetarian) stance. Like him, I’m delighted that humans are such reasonable creatures, that we can give anything sense. For now, it makes sense to be a vegetarian.
I’ll leave you today with a quote from Ben Franklin’s autobiography regarding vegetarianism:
“When about 16 years of age I happened to meet with a book, written by one Tryon, recommending a vegetable diet. I determined to go into it. My brother, being yet unmarried, did not keep house, but boarded himself and his apprentices in another family. My refusing to eat flesh occasioned an inconveniency, and I was frequently chid for my singularity. I made myself acquainted with Tryon’s manner of preparing some of his dishes, such as boiling potatoes or rice, making hasty pudding, and a few others, and then proposed to my brother, that if he would give me, weekly, half the money he paid for my board, I would board myself. He instantly agreed to it, and I presently found that I could save half what he paid me. This was an additional fund for buying books. But I had another advantage in it. My brother and the rest going from the printing-house to their meals, I remained there alone, and, despatching presently my light repast, which often was no more than a bisket or a slice of bread, a handful of raisins or a tart from the pastry-cook’s, and a glass of water, had the rest of the time till their return for study, in which I made the greater progress, from that greater clearness of head and quicker apprehension which usually attend temperance in eating and drinking.”
– OLEG KAGAN (lifeinoleg at gmail.com)
NOTE – As of around February 2008 I started eating meat again. Nothing specific led to the decision, but it has been done. I was a vegetarian for about a year and I would say it was one of the better things I’ve done for my health. If you’re considering it, by all means, do it, it’s a positive experience. Currently(May 2008), I’m not seriously considering going back on a vegetarian diet, but who knows what the future holds?
NOTE 2: As of earlier this year (2009), I only eat fish. This is to optimize my diet. I think it’s working, sort of.