Let me back up. My name is Colleen, I have been a vegetarian for almost a year, and I love it.
In retrospect, I think I’d been slipping down the silken tofu slope towards vegetarianism for a long time. I never had much of a taste for red meat; fewer and fewer weekly trips to the grocery store ended with any meat in my cart; I even gravitated toward vegetarian menu options when out to eat. Finally, my curiosity and conscience got the best of me and I found myself gravitating towards media, most notably the film Food, Inc. and the book Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, that would push me right where I wanted to go.
Even once convinced, I still found making that huge of a life change to be daunting, so I decided to begin with a one-month promise, a Veg Pledge if you will humor my need for a pitiful rhyme. After a month I was sold. I haven’t missed meat at all. Not even bacon.
People typically ask the same 2 questions upon finding out my dietary choice: “How long have you been a vegetarian?” and “Why?” The former I have already answered. The latter can be asked in a variety of tones ranging from curious to disgusted, but my response is always the same. I became a vegetarian because of my concerns for the impact the meat industry has on the environment, and also for reasons of personal health.
–Brief pause while the author clambers atop her soapbox to elaborate–
Factory farming is the number one contributor to global climate change and the nearly all of the meat consumed in the United States comes from factory farms. At such farms, animals are raised and slaughtered in abhorrent and filthy conditions which leaves a staggering amount of contaminants (read: poop) not only in our environment but in the meat that finds its way to grocery store shelves.
In terms of my own personal health, I have never felt better. When my husband reaches for the Tums after a meat-laden meal, I relish my lack of indigestion. On a larger scale, I just feel stronger and somehow cleaner on my insides. There must be a more scientific term for that. There is no redeeming quality in meat that I can’t get from a plant-based diet, and avoiding it also allows me to dodge its detriments – most notably an increased risk of heart disease and numerous cancers.
I realize that being a vegetarian isn’t for everybody, but I think it is worth more than a dismissive thought. If tempted, give it a whirl for a week or a month and see how you like it. You may come to the green side yourself. If not, no judgement.