Good day everybody! I have been a vegetarian for about four years now - this means I don't eat any meat but I do eat cheese and eggs and honey et cetera. Not eating cheese and eggs would mean I'd be vegan, but I wouldn't be able to do this (I would be if I had to, it's not that I have any health issues, it's just that I like my cheese sandwiches and boiled eggs too much, nomz).
Being a vegetarian nowadays is much easier than it was four years ago, because a) I am used to it now, and b) it feels like the world is accepting healthy choices more, living a healthy life is more accepted than it was some time ago.
I sometimes get a lot of questions when meeting new people or being in new environments. 'Don't you miss it?', 'why are you a vegetarian?' are questions I hear a lot and sometimes it is a little bit frustrating - not at all because I am ashamed, just because I didn't really know it myself, in the very beginning.
Why are you a vegetarian?
When I was about 10 years old or so I went to a country like Portugal, maybe it was Spain, I don't quite remember, on a family holiday. We were walking through a nice neighbourhood and having a splendid time until a certain moment, when I peeked into a little cute house and saw a dead donkey hanging from the ceiling and it just made me nearly puke. It was that moment when I realized the lovely meat you eat isn't always that lovely, and the thing you're chewing on has once been alive. Having that thought running through my mind every time I had a piece of meat and getting poisoned by it some time later both made me become a vegetarian.
Is it hard, being a vegetarian?
In my case, no. I couldn't be a non-vegetarian seen what I have experienced, ever again. However, I do think being a vegetarian could be hard if you wouldn't have any 'real' reasons. It would be very easy to 'just eat this hamburger, because I can' - I think you have to be completely devoted to not eating meat in order to sustain your diet.
Should I become a vegetarian?
It's your own choice - I cannot decide for you and nobody else can. If you want to know how your body will react and most importantly how you will react personally, I'd just try it out for some time without going 'full on vegetarian', you won't feel bad about quitting because you didn't funny convert yourself yet.
'But you miss out on so many proteins!'
I am not even going to answer this question (actually I am) - many tests have shown we don't really need meat to be healthy so I do not believe I miss out on many important things, according to many the proteins.
What are the benefits?
Being a vegetarian has many benefits, for me. The first benefit I can think of - I don't feel really full after a meal (and feeling full is great but feeling too full is not nice, at least I do not like that feeling in particular) and it just feels healthier, eating some vegetables instead of meat. I also tend to experiment more, because well you have to replace that little piece of animal on your plate with something which will also reach your needs. And, of course, it feels good 'doing something for the animal', because every piece of meat you don't stick into your mouth is an animal which won't have to be killed.
What are the disadvantages?
The only disadvantage I could think of is the price, because products which replace meat are quite expensive but so is good meat. Oh, and some restaurants don't have vegetarian options but you can always get a salad and most restaurants do have vegetarian options so this isn't really a disadvantage.
But vegans/vegetarians are so annoying!
It's anyone's own choice to be or not to be annoying. I personally have met some 'annoying' vegans/vegetarians - being told not to eat a certain thing you'd really love to put in your mouth every time is really annoying. But, you don't have to do this. Your diet is personal and so is your meat-eating pattern: I do not believe all vegans and vegetarians are annoying. Yes, many of 'them' mention their eating pattern in every single sentence, but not all of them do.
Would you have been a vegetarian, if you wouldn't have eaten that spoiled burger and wouldn't have seen that donkey hanging from the ceiling?
Many people have asked me this and I find this a rather hard question to answer because you can not ever really know how you would've reacted to a certain kind of situation. It is easy to say 'yes! I would definitely have been a vegetarian!' but even though those were the main reasons I have some other not-so-main reasons too. I have also read some literature about eating and not eating meat and this has given me another perspective too but I think if those things wouldn't have happened, other things would've happened. Seeing documentaries, little clips, reading articles.. so many cruel articles about animals exist, and I think my mind was just waiting for the moment that the thought how cruel the world really is, to hit me.
I think those questions pretty much sum up every question I have ever had. Most questions were just 'why?' and 'how?' but some people are really interested.
If you ever decide to quit meat - yes, some reactions will be weird, some people won't understand your decision, but always remember: you do this for yourself and the animals and the environment, and not for some snob telling you you can't.
The last thing I'd like to say: I am not trying to convert you into a vegetarian - like I said, your diet is your personal choice. If you choose to not eat any meat it's your choice and so is choosing to eat meat.
Have a lovely day! - Sjoukje