Why did you become a vegetarian?

Hey all you veggies. Ya, you. Why did you become a vegetarian? Since becomming one, have your views continued to develop? If you were to become a vegetarian today, would it be for the same reasons?

When I was 14 it just occured to me one day that I didn’t HAVE to eat meat. I’d always felt bad for the animals, but hadn’t really realized that there was another option. Since that day, I haven’t eaten meat. I’m 29 now.

I’ve become even more pro-animal since then, and can’t even imagine eating meat. My reasons are still the same.

I never really ate a lot of meat growing up–never had any kind of beef, and maybe chicken once in awhile. When I was fifteen (I’m now 20), I stopped eating meat completely. Mostly it was a taste thing, and also just because the meat industries creep me out. But since becoming one, I’ve started to cite the humanitarian and health reasons, too.
I’m probably the only vegetarian who thinks what Ted Nugent is doing is kinda cool–the way he stands up for hunting by saying he uses it to feed his family. At least he isn’t contributing to the awfulness of the meat industries.

DISCLAIMER–I agree with nothing else Ted Nugent stands for

Just didn’t feel like eating meat. It didn’t look like food to me. I was happiest eating food from plants. No need for meat at all (Hi, Opal!).

I became a vegetarian the week following Thanksgiving 1990. I was 17 then.

I stopped eating meat for several reasons, primarily because I was a fervent supporter of animal rights then (and now). I also worked in a produce department of a supermarket, right next to the meat department, and I saw things that didn’t make me hungry, too. Upton Sinclair’s probably rolling in his grave.

It was mostly environmental reasons for me. I read an article about the impact that overbreeding animals for food has had on the world and decided right then and there. It’s also been good for my health. The animal rights issue was certainly there, but it was very much a minor thing.

I’ll confess that there was also a certain macho element to it. Kinda like i was going, “look at me! I’m a vegan! In Florida! Beat that!” Hey, i was in high school at the time, alright? :smiley:

:slight_smile: I became a vegetarian at 20 for religious and ethical reasons. Since high school, I had always considered “going veggie,” but didn’t want it to be an issue while I was still living with my mum. At 20, I spent a year studying abroad in northern England and found making the transition to be surprisingly easy.

I think my interest in animal rights issues has grown since becoming a vegetarian, but I don’t think it consumes my life.

I think I would make the choice over again and would do so for the same reasons. I’m more educated now than when I made the initial choice, but I don’t think my reasons for doing so have changed any.

What brings this up, Muffin?

I first became a vegetarian at the age of seven because my family went veggie. It was never enforced that we were to be vegetarian, just that nobody was going to cook meat for you at my house. My mother had been a vegetarian on and off for years. I never liked much meat, especially seafood, so it wasn’t any great loss to me.

I stayed vegetarian for lots of reasons, like when I learned that to create a pound of meat (or the energy you would get from a pound of meat) it took at least ten times the energy it took to produce that much in plant foods. Another story that has been important to me is one a friend told me. He was hunting and shot a deer, and then he was told to slit it’s throat (the only thing to do at that point, of course) he looked at it and simply couldn’t do it. I know that I couldn’t do it either, to a living thing, so I won’t pay others to do it for me.

ThisYearsGirl…I don’t have a problem with hunters either. They’re more honest about what they’re doing, and if it’s more for food than sport it’s a personal choice that’s OK with me.

I never ate meat. Just picky I guess, and my parents are live and let live. In high school I found flaunting my vegetarianism a great way to shock and annoy the people who gave me a hard time anyway, so I got interested in animal rights and found it meshed pretty well with my worldview anyway. It was around then I stopped wearing leather, suede, etc.

My views have definitely devoloped. If I were to choose again today, it’d be for different reasons (not out of spite and unrelated momentum). The idea of eating meat though, having never done it, is inconceivable. It literally makes me sick thinking about it. No implied moral overtones, purely a physical reaction. I couldn’t if I wanted to.

-fh

I stopped eating meat when I was about 18 or 19. I decided that if I wasn’t comfortable with killing an animal that I shouldn’t be eating meat. After awhile it really turned into an animal cruelty issue. It’s been about 9 years and I don’t miss it a bit.

Always to be different, even among the veggies.:slight_smile:
I actually went veggie for health reasons. Last year my father had quad bypass surgery, legacy of a lifetime of meat eating and poor diet. I decided to make the change after doing some research, with support from that_darn_fiance. Now that I’ve been veggie for a year, the animal rights aspect has become more important to me. I think the only way I’ll eat meat again is if I shoot it myself. For me, it’s not the killing, it’s the conditions under which the animals live.

I’m not a strict veggie. I still occasionally eat meat, but I didnt eat meat for a few years after I read Sinclairs “The Jungle.” I was waaaaay too grossed out.

My boyfriend is completely veggie. His reason is that it isn’t efficient In as much that you have to feed a cow a bunch of feed produced on crop space that could have grown food for humans.

that_darn_cat, my dad had/has heart disease and went veggie for the same reason. He didnt have any surgery but he cant eat any added fat (Ornish diet). It seems to be working along with the pills. My mom went veggie with him.

Health reasons. Whenever I ate meat, I’d get horrible stomach pains, and liver made me vomit. I’d have to eat the meat last just to get it down. Finally, my mother stopped serving it to me.

Years later, I found out I have very weird blood, with an extremely low iron content. Apparently any iron intake over the minimum makes me ill. I can’t even take pills with iron in them. I do better with the iron in dried fruits.

When I was 24, I was told by my doc that my cholesterol was about 325. Egads! Since I’m a full-on dairy addict, I figured it was easier to give up red meat than milk and cheese and ice cream.

Then I went low fat with the dairy. Then I realized chicken, in some cases, is worse in terms of fat content than beef. Pork disappeared from my diet somewhere in there too.

I’m not veggie for animal rights, or efficiency of food production, although I’m not opposed to either of those philosophies. I just can’t give up wearing leather and suede!

However, to quote George Carlin, “I stopped eating processed foods, because I started picturing the people doing the processing.” There went the hot dogs and lunch meats!

I had read The Jungle and saw a few things on the Discovery Channel that made me realize that eating meat is kinda icky. I decided I was allergic to e coli, salmonella and ptomaine poisoning… and avoiding meat (and washing the veggies) was a good way to not have to worry about someone else not cooking my steak thoroughly. When the FDA cracks down on inspections and finds a way to process meat without dripping horrible bacteria everywhere, I’ll eat meat again. Assuming that after a while, the horrible stomachaches and diarrhea goes away. Turns out, veggies lose their ability to break down certain protein enzymes which mean, once you stop eating meat, it’s pretty painful to start back up again. Anybody else have this experience?

I was asked this very question this past weekend when I was heard to say “I have no problem with veal, it is just a cow.”

I gave up most meat in 1992 after hearing a Zero Population Growth presentation on the inefficiency of raising livestock for food. Now, I wasn’t particularly moved by the presentation, but I was looking for things to do that might annoy my girlfriend. We were in a long distance relationship and I was mildly looking for a way out. I hoped it would scare her away.

Unfortunately, it didn’t, and by the time we divorced, eating only fish and chicken was very much a habit and I continued with it.

I have recently gone fully vegetarian. The reason for this is related to health but not because I think vegetarianism is healthier (potato chips are vegetarian after all). I need to lose weight; by going fully vegetarian it is forcing me to pay more attention to what exactly I am eating. There is no ideological reason for it, and I expect that I will go back to fish and fowl in the future.

But until then, if you want to eat koala (and it is legal to do so) I will have no problem with killing it for you. It is just a koala.

We’re not strictly vegetarian, by any stretch, but our meals seem to be pretty meat free, for the most part.

My husband is grossed out by most meat, won’t eat it as a “leftover”, and is particular about the fat content and texture of it. So, pretty much, its just too annoying to bother with, not to mention wasteful. It’s hard to cook meat for just 2 people and not have leftovers (excepting chicken breasts, which I can’t stand).

What’s weird is that his father is this HUGE meat and potatoes man. I mean, the big steak or whatever every night, etc. Maybe its a rebellion against his parents or whatever. Heaven knows, his mother isn’t the best cook.

We both like fish and I’ll get chicken every once in a while when we go out to dinner, or I’ll pick up a burger if I’ve got the craving but he sticks pretty much to fish and chicken stuff.

I made some wonderful broiled tofu last night - yum! Little soy sauce/sesame oil/vegetable oil/tabasco marinade and broil it up. Yummers.

The year was 1988–I was a junior at a rural high school. My advanced biology teacher would often talk about his hunts before and after the bell rang. He would hunt deer, turkey, and rabbit among others and he and his family would eat the meat all year (they had a HUGE freezer). He was a writer for Missouri Conservationist at the time (and perhaps still is), and at that age I had a hard time reconciling his obvious environmentalism with the fact that he ate Bambi. I would give him a hard time about shooting animals he claimed to love.

His response? Over 100,000 deer are killed in Missouri each hunting season–it BARELY puts a dent in the population. Without predators, deer would soon grow into a tremendous nusiance. He stated that he felt it was more ethical to allow an animal to live its life free and have one instant of pain than to keep it penned up and slaughter it in a factory. He said he respected my beliefs, but that if I felt that strongly I shouldn’t eat meat from the grocery store.

I agreed. I didn’t eat meat for two years. Then I decided I could spare my moral outrage for issues more relevant to me, and I stopped. Contributing to that was the fact that it was so hard for me to eat properly. I felt that if this were the way humans were meant to eat, it should be more intuitive than it is (YMMV). I am pro-hunting now, as long as the animal is to be eaten, either by the shooter and his or her family, or given to a food pantry to be given to a needy family that could use the meat (FWIW, I don’t like venison myself, although maybe I just haven’t had it right).

I freely admit my reasons were childish and not those of committed veggies. For what it’s worth, I admire their ethical stands.

There are only so many bags of bloody roast beef you can spill on yourself before you stop eating it. From there I cut out pork, and I had never been a big fish eater. When I found out how poultry are treated, I cut that out, too. That was 6 years ago.

I will only eat shellfish when I’m in a Chinese resturant, eating Dim Sum, because there is so little available. Other than that, I’m veggie, baby!

I’m back–should have offered the OP more information asked for.

I first went vegetarian when I was 17. How? I had been reading in the People’s Almanac (1st ed., 1975) about vegetarians and the various reasons for being vegetarian: health, nonviolence/ethics, distaste for meat, ecology, etc. All of these sure sounded right-on to me. <clenched-fist salute> Right on, brutha man! </clenched-fist salute> This was the 1970s, after all. The same day, I had bought and listened to the first 3 George Harrison albums–must have picked up his Eastern spiritual veggie vibrations through his music. I told my family I was through with eating meat, and that was that. Two of my sisters were already vegetarian anyway. We banded together on it. One of them still is, plus her husband.

After 8½ years, I quit. For no good reason; I don’t know what was wrong with me. But I never took to eating meat again in large amounts, just a little here & there.

I returned to being vegetarian 10 years later, when I was 35. This time it was mainly because I remembered how happy I had been as a vegetarian before, and I longed to return to that state of wellbeing: feeling happier, healthier, lighter, fresher, able to think better. What triggered it was reading Paul Theroux’s vegetarian novel Millroy the Magician (I was on a Theroux kick in those days). I read the entire novel in one sitting. It reminded me how much I had liked vegetarian life the first time around. Now I know deep down in my body that there’s no going back ever again. For all the reasons mentioned. I agree with every single one.

The interesting thing is that – while most folks who take up yoga decide to become vegetarian afterward – with me it was the reverse: Each time I became vegetarian, it resulted in my taking up yoga. Because being vegetarian makes me more conscious of the energy of the subtle body, the rippling currents of prâNa. My breathing becomes deeper, more conscious, more refined, and that naturally flows into yoga practice, because all yoga is rooted in the breath. Nonviolence (ahimsa) being one of the basic yama principles of yoga, that’s positive reinforcement for staying veggie from now on.

Well, I have been a veggie my whole life. My mom was one and as a result I never ate meat. I tried it once or twice, but it just gave me horrible stomach aches. As I grew older my mom’s reasons (religious) rubbed off on me. I believe that by eating an animal you are taking in to yourself all of the animals bad karma, and who needs their bad karma when God knows that I have enough of my own. :wink: