Vegetarians: Please explain your view

I haven’t met too many vegeterians in my life, and I’ve been unlucky enough to never meet one who is actually willing to discuss his dietery choices. So please, vegeterians on this message board: why do you not eat meat?

For me, it was mostly a feeling that I was completely insulated from the food chain and I could never actually kill something to eat it. Once I realized the idyllic farms I saw in books when I was a kid weren’t really where meat comes from I gave it up. Plus meat always kind of squicked me out if I thought too much about it.

I decided to try a 6 month vegetarian trial, I went “cold turkey” so to speak and didn’t cheat once. I discovered I really didn’t miss eating meat. That was almost 20 years ago and I am still a vegetarian. I do eat eggs and dairy, though the more I read about the way those animals are treated the more I want to go vegan. I have to admit for me that would be tougher than giving up meat.

You realize there are whole books about this, right?

My brother does something like this to me: I’ll read a book and he’ll act interested in it and ask me about it. I say just read it. He says JUST TELL ME. I say, if it took the author 400 pages to say it, why do you expect me to tell you in 3 sentences? So you can say “Oh. Whatever.”? Fuck that.

In the same weekend, in 1993, I saw: a ‘secret camera’ type documentary about a slaugherhouse, an article about the spread of CJD and something about hormone dosing in farm animals. I wasn’t searching this stuff out, it just happened to all appear over the same couple of days. I decided to stop eating meat - although I confess I was going to finish the meat in my freezer! In the end I couldn’t face that and gave it away.

I do still eat dairy, eggs and fish, so I don’t self-describe as vegetarian, unless I’m picking a meal on a plane or something. I think that animal welfare has improved vastly over the last almost-20 years (at least in Europe) so I’ve toyed with the idea of going back, and I may yet do so. However, if I accidentally (or experimentally) eat meat these days it tastes overwhelmingly salty to me. I get that this is probably psychological, but it does put me off. Not eating meat hasn’t really restricted me too much, in any case - although my husband is an amazing cook and I’m sometimes wistful about the stuff he makes with meat in it. He eats meat all the time, and we’re bringing up our daughter as an omnivore too.

I ate vegetarian or vegan (no animal products at all) off and on for several years. For me, it was mostly for moral reasons. At the time I was a depressed teenage girl, and I’ve always been an animal lover; I first expressed a desire to be a vegetarian when I was 4 or 5, but my mom wouldn’t let me. I hated to think of a cute animal living and dying in the US food system just to feed me. It was supposed to be better for your health not to eat meat, so I thought it made sense.

I’ve done a 180 in my opinions on this matter since then. Now I eat a diet based on animal products for health reasons, although I still make the (mostly - pastured animals are also higher in many nutrients) moral concession of buying as much of my food as possible from local farms that raise their animals on pasture, which I feel is both better for the environment, and a better life for the animals.

I eat mostly vegetarian plus fish.

The taste buds soon respond to eating healthy in this way. The weight falls back to a proper level, that is no excess fat. Blood pressure goes to 105/65. This is one thing I can do for myself.

I have eaten meat occasionally, but probably not any further. When I would take a chicken and pull all the skin and visible fat off before cooking, the water left after cooking turned to a jello like consistency after cooling. Some of that must be going into the body as well. I just could not continue to put that glue into my arteries at this point. Instead, I need to clean up my act before past transgressions bite me hard. And according to famed Dr. Dean Ornish, the arteries do experience some cleaning after about 14 months of a clean diet.

Meat doesn’t taste good. Greasy sausage links and bacon is disgusting. The dripping blood of a rare filet mignon is repulsive.

I used to eat all that greasy meat as a child without problems. Not any more. To me, soy burgers now taste better than meat burgers and doesn’t leave a bloated feeling. A seasoned portobello mushroom tastes better than steak. Maybe it’s due to the corn in cattle’s diet. I’m not sure if I’ve ever had grass-fed beef so I don’t know if it would make any difference in my preferences.

That is odd. According to my last two doctors and the nutritionist one of them referred me to, the worst thing I have done for my weight and sodium is to go to a vegetarian diet. Basically in order to make the food palatable, you end up adding a lot of salt and fat. Plus cheese and eggs become the sources of protien, unless you are really into tofu or gluten.

But then the meat in my diet before that was 3 oz of lean meat per meal, surrounded by lots of vegetables. That was probably a lot healthier than what I eat now. I do eat tofu 3-4 times a week, but that is about my limit. I do like beans and lentils and eat quite a bit of that, but the starch content is pretty high, plus the other issue with beans and lentils have never really gone away (you know what I am talking about) as was advertised.

But I do love the preaching about how I could improve my weight and cardiovascular health if I switched to an unpalatable diet and ran five miles a day. I think everyone already knows this. You can prepare tasty healthy vegetarian meals, if you have hours to spend in the kitchen every day. That is what my wife and I did before the kids came along.

Cisco, this is pretty much threadshitting, and if you feel this way you might as well not post in this thread. There are many books about the reasons to become a vegetarian - although you didn’t name or recommend any of them - but Babale wants to hear about it firsthand from people on the board.

I went vegetarian because the reasons to not eat meat for me outweighed the reasons to eat meat. The main reason for not eating meat was that I could no longer convince myself that animals were put here for my use, or that I had any right to end their lives. I also was concerned about how animals were treated, worried about health concerns related to animal proteins and concerned about the inefficiency of the process…you put more calories into raising animals than you get out for food.

The main reason I had for eating meat was that it tasted good, and while for most of my life, that reason won out, at some point it seemed less important to me than the reasons for not eating meat.

Then, two things happened…first, I learned to cook a lot better, so that the vegetarian meals I made ended up tasting better than the meals I was used to eating before I made the switch, and second, I learned a lot more about nutrition and health, and began to eat a much healthier vegetarian diet.

Over time, I’ve pretty much transitioned to a vegan diet and lifestyle, and have noticed many benefits (including vastly improved fitness).

I think you missed my point. I was addressing why he’s “been unlucky enough to never have met anyone willing to discuss his views.”
Many vegetarians hold extremely nuanced positions that they reached after years of research and soul searching. A lot of people aren’t going to be eager to boil that down to a “soundbyte” (for lack of a better term.) I wasn’t suggesting he needs to go read one of those books or that people shouldn’t offer whatever personal views they feel like.

I really can’t figure out how you got “threadshitting” out of that.

It came across as a criticism of Babale for asking vegetarians to explain their views. I think if you’d put it the way you did in this post, I wouldn’t have said anything. Carry on.

Because my cholesterol is ridiculously high. I am not overweight and am quite active; it’s genetic. Not eating land animals was one easy way to reduce fat in my diet, which helped drop my numbers without medication. Both my doctor and I think I am too young to start on statin drugs for the rest of my life.

Recently, I’ve been working out a lot more (pole dance classes) and found I was not getting enough protein with which to build muscle (which is what I’m trying to do because muscle mass burns more fat than fat). So I had to bring chicken back into my diet.

Now I’m down to no red meat. I used to love bacon. Now I find the smell of bacon makes me nauseated.

I come from an Indian family of the traditionally lacto-vegetarian sort, so I basically grew up vegetarian my whole life. The cultural thing ties into avoidance of harming animals which ties into more overtly religious aspects of the culture and so on, but even though I haven’t been religious at all in ages, I still am vegetarian and have zero desire to eat meat; indeed, I basically find its smell repulsive and so on. Presumably the result of the lifelong habit of never having had any (well, I’ve probably accidentally had some small amount unknowingly on some scattered occasions, but not in any significant or intentional way); nothing attracts me to depart from this, and, to some extent, I do have this irrational element of “This is part of who I am; I don’t want to abandon it” going on as well.

That’s just not true. There are a lot of ways to season food and make it “palatable” without resorting to salt and fat. Dr. Ornish publishes a lot of books packed full of delicious recipes, all of which have less than 10% of the calories in fat. Right off the top of my head, I’ll tell you that, instead of cooking with oil or butter, Ornish recommends using vegetable stock. I season with a lot of fresh herbs from my garden. I really don’t use much salt or fat… because that would defeat the purpose of trying to reduce my cholesterol.

If you make bean + rice, that equals a complete protein. Eat one or the other alone and you are getting carbs. Two carbs together equals protein. Vegetarians do not have to rely on tofu (chick peas are actually higher in protein), meat analogs, or eggs and dairy in order to get sufficient protein.

Cite 2.

:confused: There is nothing unpalatable about my diet. I suggest that you cannot cook. Especially if it takes you hours to prepare three meals a day. Hours? :rolleyes:

I’m glad you said this first. What a bizarre post.

Anyhow - as to the OP, I eat vegetarian (plus the occasional fish) because I don’t like meat and meat doesn’t like me. Bad, bad things happen to my digestion when I eat meat so I don’t eat it.

I’m also quite squicked out by the meat industry. It’s possible to get non-squicky meat, but it’s kind of hard.

Also, based on all of my research, a vegetarian diet (plus fish) is the healthiest diet you can eat - apparently the addition of fish actually reduces the incidence of certain diseases even more so than a strictly vegetarian diet.

Finally, I just like the food better. I enjoy fresh fruit and veg, enjoy many ethnic foods that tend to be vegetarian (Indian, Mediterranean, etc.), so when I’m making something I like to eat it winds up being veg.

Personal opinions work better in In My Humble Opinion than they do in Great Debates.

Thread moved.

Already been addressed, never mind.

I think this is more talking about the difference between transitioning to a vegetarian diet vs maintaining one for some time/always being one.

My understanding is that its quite common for people to overdo the salt and fat when this occurs, because they’re so used to meat, and they tend to add more so that it ‘tastes right’. Also theres a tendency to think vegetarian = automatically healthy, ie less care is taken about calorie input.

Ive had a ton of the ‘delicious’ secret real meals that are the ‘answer’ to eating less salt and fat as a vegetarian, and they did squat for me personally. The palate changes over time and the only thing that made ‘normal’ vegetarian food start to taste OK to me was persistence.


Another option is to go to the local farmer’s market for these products. Often you can find small-time farmers who treat their animals better than the mass-production farms do. Ever since I learned how horribly egg-laying hens are treated in factory farms, I’ve bought eggs only from local farmers who give their chickens access to pastures.