This is the first in a series where I will give you steps, hints, and tips on moving to a vegetarian diet. Continue reading
I recently realized that the story of how I became a vegetarian and why I am still a vegetarian after 17 years would make a good article. I’ll start with how I became a vegetarian and follow it up with why I’ve remained vegetarian. Hopefully you find this at least entertaining, if not thought-provoking.
In my first year of college, my roomate was a vegan. This was in the early 90’s and the dorm cafeteria was terribly un-vegan friendly. For every meal, his only option was the salad bar and he usually had to pick out the bits of shredded cheese that had gotten mixed in with the lettuce. Often I sat across from him eating a hamburger and poking fun of him grazing on a salad. He talked to me about the benefits, how he felt healthier, and how it was better for the earth to not eat animal products. None of it had much impact on me at the time.
The following year we took a week long road trip. At the beginning of the trip I agreed to eat what he ate for a week and thus began my vegan/vegetarian experience. Eating vegan on the road is incredibly hard. Eating vegan on the road with a college student’s budget is even harder. I have a distinct memory of crouching in the bread isle of a convenience store somewhere in Ohio reading the ingredients of all the loaves of bread. Just about every loaf eventually had a dairy product somewhere near the bottom of the list. Surprisingly, Wonderbread Wheat was vegan so we picked that up and some peanut butter and jelly and had sandwiches for several days. We did eat better than just PB&J, and by the end of the week I was hooked. I felt better, I felt lighter, and the ethics of not eating animals was starting to get into my head.
No Turning Back
That was January of 1992, and I haven’t (willfully) eaten animal flesh since then, with the exception of fish occasionally which I’ll get into later. I’ve had my ups and downs, I’ve been overweight and lost weight, but I am happy to say that I am still a steadfast vegetarian. Using this handy calculator on the PETA website, I can proudly say that by not eating meat I have saved the lives of 4,760 animals. Adding in my whole family shows we have saved almost 15,000 animal lives! That is pretty cool.
Do you have a story about how you got turned on to being vegetarian or vegan? Are you currently a meat eater, but considering changing? Be sure to let me know.
Here is a big Logan Challenge – try going vegetarian. If you have even been thinking about eating less meat, Earth Day is a great reason to hopefully push you over the edge and try it.
Why Earth Day?
So how is being a vegetarian related to Earth Day?
- Pollution: animals raised for food in the USA produce 130 times more excrement than the human population
- Pollution: raising animals for food causes more global warming than cars, planes, ships, trains, and SUVs in the world combined
- Resources: More than 1/2 of the water used in the USA is used for raising animals for food
- Resources: More than 1/3 of all USA raw materials and fossil fuel usage is for raising animals for food
- Land: For each 1 acre of American forest cleared for parking lots, roads, houses, and shopping malls, 7 acres of forest are converted into land for grazing livestock and/or growing livestock feed
- Land: 20 times more land is required to feed a meat-eater than to feed a vegetarian
- Waste: it takes 16 pounds of grain to produce 1 pound of meat
So you can’t really call yourself an environmentalist if you eat meat. Raising meat for food is the number one cause of greenhouse gases and switching to a vegetarian diet is more eco-friendly than driving a hybrid car.
How To Get Started
For more information and to get active about it, check out peta2.com/meatsnotgreen on PETA’s website.
Start in any way you can. Cold turkey (pun intended) is the best – just stop eating meat. If you can’t do that then make a change that you can handle. Try eating vegetarian for 3 days a week. Then expand from there.
For help getting started order (or download) the free vegetarian starter kit from the PETA website.
Make sure to let me know your results if you decide to start living vegetarian.