Being a Vegetarian
Though vegetarianism has been a struggle for me, it's also really important and something I hold close to heart. I wrote this article to help spread awareness about the harmful effects of the meat industry, and provided my own personal touch, in hopes that I could hold an impact on the people who visit my site. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
I wanted to be a vegetarian when I was young, in elementary school. I knew that meat was from animals, but I discovered the horrors of the meat industry and wanted to give meat up for the animals. So, I stopped eating all meat when I was around 7-8 years old.
Well, it wasn't that easy. My body wasn't used to the lack of substances that meat has, so I was very sick with headaches, nausea, etc. Since my metabolism is really high, my doctor highly recommended that I switch back to an omnivore diet. Because of these health issues, my elementary school life consisted of about 2.5 years of on-and-off vegetarian raids. My parents would make me eat meat, and I sometimes even forgot that I was a vegetarian (it's common for people to eat little things like chicken samplers and tuna dip before remembering that it's no longer part of their diet). After a six-month vegetarian diet in fifth grade, I finally gave in and ate meat again to restore my health.
In 7th grade, I made a compromise; I would be a pescetarian, so that I wouldn't support the red meat and poultry industry, yet I'd still get my needed protein through seafood. Now, this diet was different; it worked a lot better with my eating habits as well as with my health. With the 3-year duration of my new eating habits, I experimented with more veggie-friendly foods such as salad, spinach & squash, coleslaw, etc.: things I didn't eat before, but didn't need to because I could rely on my meat products to fill me up.
When I got to sophomore year, though, things changed. I decided to go a step further to the true vegetarian diet; I'd been eating a healthier and more diverse variety of foods as well as taking multi-vitamins to keep my health. So, in July 2010, I decided to give up seafood.
Forgot. Indulged in the delicious taste. Got ridiculed by my family again. So, yes, it wasn't easy. I finally didn't eat seafood for a week, which I felt proud of, but I had the most disgusted feel later when I found myself eating a fish dinner on the couch. I seriously cried and decided that I would have to reject seafood with an amazing amount of mental and emotional strength; I haven't eaten seafood since.
Right now, I'm aspiring to be a vegan to help stop the veal industry, but my family strongly disapproves and has tried hard to stop me from being a vegetarian, nevertheless vegan. Since I eat out a lot, butter could be used in cooking and I may not be aware. I don't know if I'll ever be a vegan, but it's one of the goals that I hope to accomplish sometime before I die.
This was probably one of the hardest journeys I've ever had to endure. I grew up in a family of carnivores; meat was my favourite food, if not my only food. I don't even think I'd had a vegetarian meal before making the switch. But it was also one of the most powerful experience. I'm proud of where I am now; I've gained so much willpower. And what I'm even more proud of is all the lives I've saved and disgusting practices I've helped fight against by giving up meat.
The Horrors of Meat
Yes, horrors. Not enough people know the truth about the meat industry and how much a person can donate to the world by giving up its consumption. Here are the facts:
- It takes much fewer calories of fossil feul to produce plant food than to produce meat food: up to 78 times as less.
- Since the demand for meat is increased with meat consumption, forests and trees are being cut down to create room for livestock. Currently, 30% of America's land belongs to the meat industry.
- More land is needed for meat production than for plant production.
- Since meat production takes up so much fuel and land, it is a top cause for global warming.
- The fuel and chemicals needed to produce meat are damaging the air as we speak.
- Blood and other wastes (including chemicals) end up in our waters.
- Animals for food grow up being abused and ill-treated. They're crammed into sunless rooms, kicked, beaten, thrown into trucks, treated with drugs and hormones that make them too fat to carry themselves. Some don't even make it to the slaughterhouse since they die in their "home." By eating meat, you're supporting this.
- The animals killed for food don't have a happy ending. They are usually beaten, hung, electricuted, sliced and skinned alive, and have long, painful deaths. Click here to meet your meat.
- Meat production uses more grains than neccessary (not much of the animal is eaten, so more of what is eaten is needed for slaughterers); these grains could go to the millions of people who die each day of starvation. If everyone were a vegetarian, there would be enough food to end world hunger.
- The land used for meat production is usually obtained through forcing natives off of their traditional land.
- Many workers of meat industries in America are illegal immigrants who are promised work and good job benefits. After a year of service, the meat industries turn the immigrants over to the government to be arrested and charged. In return, the government doesn't convict the industries for hoarding immigrants.
- The meat industry has provingly damaged our economy and food resources by creating meat so cheap. For more information, click here.
- No vitamin/mineral needed to live cannot be obtained through plant foods.
- Plant food doesn't come with "bad stuff" (extra fat, blood, etc.) that meat food has, and has more "good stuff" (like fiber) than meat food can provide.
- There are poop and blood and pee and other bodily elements in your meats.
- Livestock drugs are often used to rapidly increase growth; you can consume these drugs through meat. You don't know what drugs the animal was exposed to, so when you eat meat, you can't even say what you are eating. Sometimes, it's E. coli or bleach!
- Meat increases the risk for: heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, kidney ulcers, diabetes, acne, arthritis, gum disease, altzheimer's, and others.
- Plant food gives off certain chemicals that alter its appearance when it's no longer good to eat; you can detect if plants have gone bad. You can't detect if meat has gone bad.
- When making the best of a vegetarian diet, a vegetarian is usually slimmer and healthier than a meat-eating person.
- On average, vegetarians live 2 years longer than meat-eaters. They're also 20% less likely to get sick and die. Think about the past two years of your life; what have you accomplished?
- Hundreds of young children have already died because they've eaten meat.
Some Tips from Me
I know what it's like to make a big transition in diet, and it's not easy. Here are some of my personal tips for making the switch to a vegetarian diet:
- Take vitamins & watch your diet.
Make sure that all you're eating isn't junk food! Take good multi-vitamins and possibly see a dietician if needed.
- Start out slow.
Maybe cut one animal out of your diet, such as pig or cow, or give up all meat on weekends/weekdays. Have a goal in your mind and find ways to integrate to that goal. Changing a diet too rapidly isn't good for your body.
- For restaurants, look at some sides.
A good meal for me is getting a bunch of side dishes together to create an entree. Experiment with sides if a restaurant doesn't have any veggie options.
- Look for good veggie food.
There's actually a lot of good food out there, if you know where to find it. Try MorningStar veggie food like veggieburgers and veggienuggets. Also, Google some recipes and perhaps pick up a cookbook or two. There's actually a lot of good stuff to try without compromising taste!
- Keep yourself motivated.
Constantly showing support for the anti-meat cause can help you stop eating meat. Keep reminding yourself of all the great things you're doing!
Here are some good websites to go to if you're interested in learning more about the meat industry:
Feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. And thank you so much for reading.