treatment for alopecia

On being vegetarian. Sort of.

by Emma on June 14, 2012

in Personal

I get asked fairly often why I don’t eat meat. I always feel a little bit on the spot in those moments because I want to be honest and open with folks but I also don’t think that I have all the answers or that my way is the right way. Usually people are just curious so I don’t know why I get so nervous about it. If I heard someone made a point not to eat flowering plants I’d be curious why… it’s just interesting.

I became a vegetarian sometime in February/March of 2007 (the semester I graduated college). It was something I had been thinking about for a while and I had set a date for myself. :) I remember my very last meat meal; I had chinese chicken on a pretty awkward second date (there was not a third). And I think, at first, the most difficult part to me was having to request special things at events, or dinners with friends. I’m an extremely no-you-pick-the-resturant kind of girl. So having to go out of my way to fulfill my new-found vegetarian principles was a little hard for me.

The reason I became a vegetarian in the first place was because I learned about factory farming and how cruelly the gross majority of animals are raised and slaughtered for commercial consumption. It was quite a shock to me at first. My grandparents were cattle farmers so I grew up spending lots of summer hours at their ranch. I knew my grandfather’s cows were meat cows, they would one day be slaughtered for eating. I got that. But on my grandfather’s farm they had tons of land to roam on and I knew how much care and concern my grandparents had for their animals. I thought all meat you bought at the grocery store had a story like that behind it. It doesn’t. If you’re interested in learning more there are tons of books and website out there, I highly recommend Eating Animals or the Butcher and the Vegetarian. I was first exposed to this truth through an environmental ethics class I took as an undergrad (I was a philosophy major).

For a couple of years I was vegetarian with only a few minor slip ups here and there. Then for about six months I went vegan. Then back to vegetarian. Then about 2 years ago I ate meat probably about 2-3 times a month. Weird stage, for me. Now I’m a pescatarian (I eat seafood, eggs and dairy) who will once in a blue moon eat a special meat dish (like turkey at Thanksgiving) and who owns one purse with fur. I do feel a little guilty about the fur purse. But I also love that purse. I don’t think my situation or choices are perfect, far from it. But I do like the idea that for the vast majority of my meals I’m choosing to not promote or support a business model that is cruel and unsustainable. And I feel good about that. xo. Emma

{ 63 comments }

Gina_AcuteDesigns June 14, 2012 at 8:52 pm

I became a vegetarian in college for the same reasons and I remained one for about 6 years. I eat meat now, but not a lot. I don’t limit myself. Some weeks I realize “Oh, I haven’t had meat in days” and some I eat it daily.

I do make a point to buy meat that is raised in a responsible way…such as the way your grandfather raised his cattle. I don’t buy the cheap stuff and therefore I cannot afford to eat it every meal, but that’s ok. I am fine with eating my organic, sustainably raised meat only a few times a week. The guilt I would feel over buying the cheap stuff would not be worth it :) .

Urban Wife June 14, 2012 at 8:54 pm

So interesting to read about why other people make the food choices they do! I can completely relate to yours. Most recently, I am enjoying the pescatarian way of eating and it suits me well.

Freya June 14, 2012 at 9:02 pm

I completely support the vegetarian lifestyle. I think vegan is a bit odd, but whatever you need to do…Go you sister!

Fromfreyawithlove.blogspot.com

Ashlee June 14, 2012 at 9:04 pm

I think it’s rad that you shared this =] I personally am not vegetarian etc. but I am conscious of where my food comes from and how it’s been treated before getting to my plate. I try to stick to free range when possible and stick to products that are cruelty free.
I love that you have left yourself open to not restrict your food and enjoy your diet!

Vidhya June 14, 2012 at 9:04 pm

That was a beautiful, non judgy answer to a common q. I’m going to use it because, my reasons are so similar..

mary June 14, 2012 at 9:07 pm

I get this question all the time about my being a vegetarian/pescatarian. I think the most common question is, “where do you get your protein?” Sometimes I think that people really are just curious. Other times I think people misunderstand the diet and can’t quite grasp the health concept.

It’s always neat to meet other people who understand or are one themselves.

Cara June 14, 2012 at 9:10 pm

This was really great to hear Emma! I never find it healthy for anyone to completely try to do something 100% of the time, you’ll just go crazy! I’ve definitely fallen for eating vegan a few times a week and I like to think that makes a difference. Happy eating! :)

Lucy June 14, 2012 at 9:11 pm

Hey Emma, I applaud you for writing about this tricky subject. I am a vegetarian and have been for ten years this summer (I should like have a party or something!) but I am far from a perfect vegetarian and I sometimes worry about defining myself as veggie because it often opens me up to criticism. I own leather shoes and make jewellery from recycled leather, I don’t always check my wine is ok or if the cheese used when I eat out uses rennet. I even once picked meat out of a meal and ate the rest when someone made it for me and I didn’t want to offend them (they had gone to the trouble of cooking for me at 2am!)

I guess my point is it’s hard to lead a ‘perfect’ life when you judge yourself by other people’s standards of what you should eat or wear. I’m vegetarian for moral (as well as health and taste) reasons, so I feel like I should only really answer to myself and make decisions that are right for me. The same way I’d never tell someone that they shouldn’t eat meat. What I would like to see though are people getting to know how their food is actually produced – vegetarian or not, it would help people to make more informed decisions about their own health and animal welfare.

Kelsea @ Pink Wonderland June 14, 2012 at 10:36 pm

What a great response. Well said, Lucy!

teddi June 14, 2012 at 9:30 pm

emma, i was never really certain whether you were a vegetarian or not, & i was afraid to ask, or maybe i did ask, & i just forgot? anyway, i feel ya. i’ve been a vegetarian since 9th grade, & everyone thought i was insane. it wasn’t so popular back then. i own leather things, i know i’m not perfect. i just don’t like when people preach to me about what or how i should eat. i don’t tell them how to live their life.

hanaria June 14, 2012 at 9:46 pm

no one is perfect! its ok to have that fur purse and to eat meat from time to time. Im not a vegetarian but i eat alot of the stuff to the point people do ask me if i am one. i imagine this is really fustrating and the way people from my experience are very…challenging?…about other people’s dietary choices is a little un-nerving! I eat meat but after all the recent stuff going on in england about where food comes from, i now check the labels and ask where the meat comes from.
you keep going girl! the little things you do helps towards the bigger things no matter what people say!

jade fain June 14, 2012 at 10:07 pm

good for you! i wish more people would evaluate what they eat and use and consume! :)

Kelsea @ Pink Wonderland June 14, 2012 at 10:34 pm

Thank you so much for posting this. I think you have every right to be nervous about responding when people ask about the reasons why.

For reasons relating to my brother’s health, my family decided that we were going vegetarian as a group – a way to ease the transition for him and show support. That worked for a little while, and then he went to college and had a much harder time sticking to vegetarianism. He (and my other brother) eventually crept back toward eating meat, which is their choice, of course.

The funny thing is… I thought my reason for being vegetarian was as nonjudgmental (perceived or otherwise) as it could possibly be: to support my brother in trying to combat serious heart disease. I chose only to tell a few close friends, but acquaintances noticed along the way, and asked me, though I had not volunteered the information. I explained as benignly as I could about the situation, as I did not want anyone to perceive it as an attack of any sort on their own choices. Still, I was astounded by the responses. Ridicule, eye-rolling, and just plain rude comments.

Nowadays, like you, I am an occasional pescatarian, and I do own some leather goods. Though my reasons did not begin based on combating animal cruelty, I found that the more I avoided meat, the more I thought about why others are vegetarian, and the more I could not imagine ever eating it again. Maybe someday I will phase out the fish… but it does make it difficult to eat out, considering I live in the Pacific Northwest.

Anyway, I know you did not ask to hear my life story! I just wanted you to know how much I appreciate that you posted this. I always hear jokes about how judgmental and ‘self-righteous’ vegetarians/vegans are, and indeed some of them are (just like anyone else). But from personal experience, I have found that those very intent on eating meat are often just as judgmental and self-righteous about it, so I liked reading your fearless post.

By the way, if anyone asks about it these days, I usually share the term my boyfriend dubbed me: a “confused veggie.”

Helen June 14, 2012 at 11:07 pm

I really like your definition of being vegetarian!
I’ve been a vegetarian for only three months now (that’s really not a long time at all, I know) and I have to admit that sometimes it’s pretty hard to resist eating meat, because especially when I was younger I wouldn’t eat sweets but meat. But then again I think of how animals get slaughtered and that this simply isn’t correct. Just today I said that I would like to eat meat again, not on a regular basis, but just as you said once in a blue moon!
A vegan recently told me that everyone is doing what he/she can. And that’s what I’ll do. Passing on leather products is something that seems almost impossible to me, so I’ll just stick to my own definition of being vegetarian :)

Melissa June 15, 2012 at 12:02 am

I recently decided to live a more vegetarian lifestyle…mostly for health reasons…I’m actually more strict about not eating dairy (other than sheep/goat) than I am about not eating meat. I think that for me if I am conscientious of my food choices and if I can do well 95% of the time, I’m happy with that. I also won’t NOT eat meat if it’s being served to me, like at someones house for dinner. Everything that I buy or prepare for myself is organic and this spring I signed up to receive a CSA box every other week. I agree that people are curious and I also feel that I can truly lead by example and love being able to direct people to cool websites that have helped me change how I eat :)

Lilly @projectlittlesmith June 15, 2012 at 12:03 am

Thanks, I relate to your story. I am also a pescatarian, although only recently do I eat a bit of seafood after a lifetime of being a vegetarian. Mostly I cook seafood for my husband and my son and I eat vegetarian meals but do eat dairy and eggs. I also am not a confrontational person and I don’t mind the questions but I get weary of the aggressive inquiries. It seems like many people feel challenged or defensive just at the thought of vegetarianism and want to tell me why I’m wrong, what I’m missing, or make me launch into a big debate. It’s even worse with the opinions on my 18 month old.

Food is very important to me and the process of how it’s grown, prepared, and gets to my plate is one I have great respect for. Of course I have no problem with everyone doing what’s right for them even if that’s different from my choices.

Fiona June 15, 2012 at 12:05 am

I love this post, as it’s so honest about how lots of people deal with vegetarianism. I myself was veggie for ten years before stopping when I went travelling. Since then I’ve eaten way more meat than I wish I did, I guess mainly because I’m lazy! At home at the moment, we’re trying a less meat-centric diet, with meat only on special occassions or if someone cooks for us – I’m much happier this way, and it aligns with my views on animal treatment and global climate much better.

Thanks for being honest and open :)

Sarah Joy June 15, 2012 at 12:26 am

Thanks for this post, Emma. I respect your choice and understand your decision.

I’ve grown up in a rural area with animals on our farm. We always eat our own animals and they are never taken to a slaughterhouse, but are in their paddock until their final moments.

I hate the idea of battery hens and factory farming. This is why I am always careful when purchasing meat. If we don’t have some from our farm, you can bet it will be free range and/ or organic.

It’s smart and sustainable.

Lesley June 15, 2012 at 1:11 am

I always get nervous when people ask too. I think it’s because in the beginning I’d often get some sort of lecture that usually mentioned “the circle of life.” It was almost as though I had to be ready to debate if I refused a chicken wing. Fortunately, that hasn’t happened lately. xx

Rima Sagala June 15, 2012 at 1:29 am

I too once was like that. My first time being Vegan (for health purposes) was around 2003 and that lasted 6 months, followed by being vegetarian/pesco for the remaining 6 months. Then I became Vegetarian again for 1 year around 2007 for political reason, even since I watch a lot of Peta videos. Then I went Vegan again for the month of Feb 2012, just for fun (I actually gained weight!). I’m thinking to go back to Pesco, hopefully soon. I give props to people who are in the Veg world!!

Allison June 15, 2012 at 1:33 am

Great post Emma. I’ve been a vegetarian myself for 6 years now. I often get questioned about my choice not to eat meat. I doubt that I will ever going back to eating meat.
Thank you for all of your wonderful recipes.
xx
http://www.thrifted.ca

Brit June 15, 2012 at 2:00 am

Emma! I love this! I’ve just recently learned about factory farming and i’m not really sure how i feel about meat now. This helped a lot. Thanks for being honest!

Jennifer June 15, 2012 at 2:03 am

I went vegetarian for the same reasons you did. A year and a half ago, my professor showed “Food Inc.” in class and I swore to stop right then and there. I got so much grief for it; people are just ridiculous. I don’t care what you’re putting in your mouth, why do you care what I’m putting in mine?

I did it for a few weeks, but I love sushi entirely too much, so I knew I had to eat fish. I called myself a pescatarian for a solid year, but lately I’ve been eating chicken again. I’m not perfect, but I don’t beat myself up for it.

I did a ton of research on factory farming and it is one of the most cruel and disgusting things on the planet. Everyone should know how these animals are being treated. Laws called “Common Farming Exemptions” mean that if an animal is intended for eating, animal cruelty laws do not apply to it. Farmers can do WHATEVER they want to the animal as long as it is common, (aka other farmers do it too). This means that they can write their own laws. Furthermore, who enforces these laws? And don’t even get me started on laws applying to animals during transport. The whole thing makes me sick. Bravo for you and everyone else who is aware of this. We don’t all have to be vegans or vegetarians, but cutting back the amount of meat we eat is definitely a positive thing.

Steph June 15, 2012 at 2:43 am

This is such a great post! Similar to you, I grew up around fields of grazing cows and had no idea about factory farming/fishing until I read Eating Animals. It had a huge impact on me and I gave up meat and dairy (though I’ve had a couple dairy slip-ups…). I think anyone taking these issues into consideration, even if the dietary preferences shift, is doing something good. :)

Kate Dolamore June 15, 2012 at 2:53 am

I guess I was a sensitive little kid because when I was 7 years old we were eating hamburgers and watching City Slickers, the movie where Billy Crystal makes with a little cow, you know? That was when I made the connection between animals and meat… I stopped eating red meat then and never looked back. Not sure what my family or relatives (they all eat meat) thought of me as a little kid proclaiming not to eat red meat, I guess they just thought I “didn’t like it” like kids do. I remember one time as a kid I was fed “turkey” hot dogs at a birthday party and saw the wrappers in the trash were beef hot dogs. I was so mad that people would lie to me and not respect my decision!
I ate chicken for a while but went vegetarian at 16 and now going on 11 years! My concern now is where my dairy comes from. I can see why people go vegan but I am not ready for that, not sure I will ever be… I love my greek yogurt for breakfast!!

Nicole June 15, 2012 at 3:45 am

thanks for posting this. as a fellow pescatarian, I’d really like to read Eating Animals. I gave up meat fairly recently (but can’t say no to sushi or oysters) and it was actually a lot easier than I was expecting

cheyenne June 15, 2012 at 5:00 am

great post! i tried vegetarianism once when i was younger, but didn’t stick to it.
i don’t know if i’ll ever try it again, but i do think we definitely eat way more meat than we have to / should. and buy it raised in a responsible way! i try to as much as i can and change up my diet with lots of variation – meat, fish and vegetarian (:
xo, cheyenne

Vanessa June 15, 2012 at 5:41 am

Wow. While reading this all I could think was… how are we THIS much a like. Everything you said is me. I’ve been a pescatarian for 6 years now and I still feel awkward when people question my eating habits. Like you, I sometimes forget that it’s not the norm and that people are just curious. I find it hard for me to always explain why.
My big turning point was also learning about slaughtering for commercial consumption. It’s disgusting. Once again, like you, I always knew where my meat came from and I understood that but I never realized how disgusting and cruel factory farming is. I’m such an animal lover and as soon as I heard and saw things about it, I was instantly against eating factory farmed animals.
Anyways, I just wanted to say that I’m so glad you shared this! I posted a little while back on my blog about my eating habits and it’s always nice to know there’s others out there like myself!

Laura June 15, 2012 at 7:20 am

I just wanted to say congratulations on writing this. I am also a pescatarian after having been vegetarian for seven years (the change oily fish made to my hair and skin had to be seen to be believed!).
I constantly get asked why I don’t eat meat and the major reason that I give is that my partner is vegetarian too, and I’m simply too lazy to cook two different suppers! However I remember the turning point being reading ‘fast food nation’ and finding out how they make the burgers and how long it takes someone to learn how to gut a cow properly, and realising that i’d never want to eat meat again!
So again, congratulations to you. The best part of being vegetarian is cooking good food that makes people realise they wouldn’t miss meat and your recipes and photos do that so well :)
Thanks for sharing! <3

Nancy June 15, 2012 at 7:48 am

Hi there Emma,

Well that’s a really honest post. I’m not a vegetarian, I simply love my meat too much. But, my boyfriend and I have decided not to buy any big portions of meat anymore which are so well priced. The so called ‘Kiloknallers’ here in The Netherlands. So I try to buy biological meat. Also we try to have a Meatfree Monday (but just on another day in the week) as I’ve read this can make a huge difference as well. So I don’t want to stop eating meat, but I would like to buy and eat meat that is eco-friendly (and “animal-friendly”), of animals that could walk on the farm or had a nice meadow with grass. So thank you for your honest post about your struggle with being a vegetarian. Because you’re right: people always ask you why!

Love,
Nancy

Margje June 15, 2012 at 9:21 am

Thank you for this post, Emma.

I am a vegetarian myself and although most of my friends and family members are used to it, it can be a real shocker. When I was younger (I’m 23 years old now and have been a vegetarian since I was 8/9 years old) I always felt that I needed to defend myself. I was always the odd one. Now I see that people just don’t like to be confronted with their own meat eating morals and get defensive because of it.

Anyway, what I was trying to say is: you shouldn’t think of yourself as a ‘bad vegetarian’, or something like that. You are aware of the impact that your food choices have on the world, so you’re one step ahead of most of the world population. Go you!

Claudia June 15, 2012 at 9:57 am

Hi Emma,
I believe that eating meat or fish or wathever it’s not wrong in itself, but eating food coming from a cruel and/or unfair farm it’s really dangerous for the earth. We would choose seasoning and biological vegetables and fruits, meat from animals grown in a fair way… then everyone will choose the food good for him/herself: vegan, vegetarian or not :)

Peace and love :D
Claudia

heidi June 15, 2012 at 11:53 am

I’m a vegetarian who owns leather shoes. I feel guilty, but seriously, leather is so comfortable, and most shoes tear up my feet.

I started as a vegetarian because I didn’t like the idea of killing animals, but my thoughts have evolved and I think factory farming is a major reason why I stay vegetarian.

rae June 15, 2012 at 1:30 pm

my husband and i are pescetarian too, and i always find it hard to answer questions, especially when they arise while eating dinner with someone. We are pescetarian for the same reasons, and I don’t want the person to feel like i’m judging them by what is on their plate.

Mandy June 15, 2012 at 1:45 pm

I have (for lack of a better word) entertained the idea of becoming, or trying to become a vegetarian. The only meat I eat if ground beef-I love me a good hamburger or taco. My question (and I’ll take suggestions from anyone who has one) is what is your favorite ground beef/hamburger substitute?

Sarah June 16, 2012 at 4:34 pm

I can’t help with the hamburger thing but bean taco’s are better than the original! You can you black beans or any kind of bean really and smoosh them up! The best part is most food establishments will be super willing to make the switch for you in the kitchen :)
p.s. I’ve also heard that morningstar makes awesome veggie burgers but I’ve never tried them.
Hope that helps!

♥Sarah♥
theantiquepearl.blogspot.com

Mandy June 20, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Thanks, Sarah. I’ve heard of MorningStar, but never tried any of their products. I may have to give them a little taste test.

Becky June 15, 2012 at 3:28 pm

I applaud your down-to-earth, honest writing in this post, Emma! I have been a lacto-ovo vegetarian for eleven years and can’t see myself going back ever. I am actually going to be teaching in China starting in the fall while maintaining a vegetarian diet. I anticipate some definite challenges (and not being as picky about if something was cooked with an animal-based ingredient) but am so excited about the opportunity and introduction to a whole new world of food!

Carmen Mariah June 15, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Ah, you hit the nail on the head with this post. As a vegetarian myself, I totally agree that it really is SO hard to tell people why you’ve made that choice without coming off condescending or preach-y. It really is SUCH a personal decision. But I think once most people learn the facts behind factory farming, they see the rationale behind vegetarianism. Two thumbs way up, girl!

Lesley June 15, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Amen Emma. Super post and totally relatable! I come from a ‘meat and potatoes’ family and switched to vegetarianism right after college too. My current habits are very similar to yours and so many people are curious. It’s tricky to assert my choice and not offend sometimes! Bravo for tackling a tough subject:)

Kara June 15, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Thanks for being real. :)

Malina June 15, 2012 at 5:28 pm

When people find out that I am a vegetarian, do most of them react as if I had done something really great, am really good in something or do some unsual kind of sport. I don´t get why they do this. I guess it is because they think it a right thing to do, but nothing for them. Others seem to feel defensive and want to discuss it for hours, kind of trying to talk me out of it. They ask me all sorts of questions and everyone gets the same standard answers now because I don´t want to have to explain my decisions as if I were at court.

Sarah Rooftops June 15, 2012 at 5:29 pm

I’ve been vegetarian since I was twelve when I stopped being able to physically keep meat down – it turned out I had a gynae problem which responds well to a meat-free diet, so I guess my body just knew?! Anyway, being able to say “for health reasons” has always felt easier than trying to explain that I also simply don’t like eating a dead animal which may have suffered greatly through its life – I always feel like I’m attacking the meat eaters when I say that there’s an element of ethics to it, too. But, then, a lot of my meat eater friends apologise to me if they eat meat in front of me – I don’t care that they do, but I suppose they have that sense of not wanting to seem confrontational, too.

Laura June 15, 2012 at 5:34 pm

I can so understand your perspective- intensive farming I find so intensely upsetting. I can’t understand hopw people can proclaim to be animal lovers whilst ignoring what happens to the animals they eat. Growing up in the countryside we were always around proper free range lambs, cows, chickens etc and I don’t object to animals being raised for food, if they are being raised fairly. For me, just not buying meat isn’t the right choice (a steak is my happy place!), so instead I choose to make sure to buy local, free range meat from farms that I know. Its a win-win for me- i get delicious meat, and I put my money where my mouth is and support the farmers who need a market in good meat in order to continue with their good practices. It is a bit more expensive, but for that i’ll eat less meat. Thank you for talking about this emma!
xxx

Wren June 15, 2012 at 9:45 pm

Hey Emma,
I really like your blog, you have a wonderful sense of humour and I enjoy your insights into cooking and the like….
I am a vegan and have been for like twelve years now. I was also a lacto-ovo vegetarian for almost seven years before that. I read a bit about factory farming as a kid and that was pretty much it for me on the whole meat thing. I became a vegan after I realized that the suffering I was trying to avoid was also present in the factory farms that “raise” eggs and milk. Also, cheese has animal byproducts that come from meat in it, so I thought that that was kind of out too. I have never looked back and am so happy with my lifestyle. It was the right decision for me. I’m currently studying nutrition and feel that it is ultimately an individual’s choice what their diet is. I also hate having to “defend” or “explain” my diet/lifestyle to people, but I get that it is a chance to share something with people. But I am painfully shy, so social things like that kind of freak me out… I just hate when people are preachy or confrontational and I don’t want to do that, so I try to share my personal deal with a certain amount of lightness and optimism. In the end, that is why I’m vegan right? I am optimistic that my choices might help things in some way and that we can all influence issues or aspects of the world that we are bothered by if we really believe in it. I like to think that way, anyways. After all, it is really all about being joyful and feeling like you are doing what is right for you as an individual with your life. Again, like your blog a lot! Wren…

Nicole Greentree June 16, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Thank you Emma! That was a lovely post. I have been on pretty much the exact same diet changes as you! Vegetarian – vegan – vegetarian – eating some meat. I feel the same way when people ask about what I eat/don’t eat and why.
Lovely blog!

Sarah June 16, 2012 at 4:13 pm

I’m mostly a pescatarian. I have the same reasons as you plus the fact I dislike the way beef, pork, & chicken taste (it tastes dead, is that weird?) the only real issue I have is bacon (why is it so good?) I’ll eat bacon 2-3 times a month because I just can’t get over how good it is!

♥Sarah♥
theantiquepearl.blogspot.com

Charis June 16, 2012 at 7:55 pm

I’ve recently gone veggie due to digestive issues which has been a lot easier than I expected! Having read books like Not On Your Plate & Fast Food Nation I’m well aware of the disgusting conditions that animals are kept in, however whilst still a carnivore I would try to buy organic or free range. Weirdly I don’t really like fish so I have found that eating out could be a bit of a problem so I’m not sure I’ll manage 100% vegetarianism but on the whole I’m actually enjoying it & feel better than I did before!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it, everyone has their own reasons :)

Buberella June 16, 2012 at 10:14 pm

I became veg for similar reasons and have been one for nine years. I guess I’m sort of pescatarian in that I will eat seafood sometimes but I recently have decided that I want to get more into it. Eating meat once in a while is how I became veg. To each her own! I appreciated this post! :)

Karlee Kay June 17, 2012 at 2:31 am

Emma,
It was so interesting to read about this and your reasons for choosing this lifestyle! I am not a vegetarian, (I love meat.. I think I’d go crazy.) but I do find the vegetarian lifestyle interesting, as I am thinking about becoming a doctor, so food choices interest me. Haha. I think that your pescetarian lifestyle is perfect. I think if I did go vegetarian or of the like, I would do that. I totally respect your decision and your reasons for it! Thanks for answering the questions us non-veggies have. :)
Xoxo. Karlee

leminh June 17, 2012 at 10:17 am

Don’t ever be afraid to share your views. It makes the world a richer, more unique place and it promotes tolerance and the embracing of differences and new ideas! =)

Kerry June 17, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Brilliant post! I went veggie around 15 years ago when I was about 13/14, for the same reasons as you. Living a cruelty – free life is important!

Siang June 17, 2012 at 1:43 pm

I stopped eating meat last year because of environmental/sustainability reasons and then came to learn more about factory farming, which really made me sick. I supported family/free-range farming and still do, but haven’t been able to eat meat after seeing videos at work of animals being slaughtered. Seafood was what I allowed myself to fall back on at the beginning (My excuse was that they’re so tiny. A terrible excuse, I know better now!) but then I read about bycatch in Eating Animals and decided to stop seafood as well. And most recently, I’ve been trying to stop eating eggs. Switching to a vegetarian diet is a crazy process and I find myself thinking about where every food I put in my mouth comes from. I know some of my friends think I’m crazy or a hippie, and I’ve had major disagreements with my family as well. We’re Asian and nearly everything we eat comes from animals. If I could get past animal killing, I’d rather attempt to eat every part of the animal as my culture does instead of supporting the wasteful eating habits of society today.

I agree with what some of the other commenters said about not having to answer to anyone but yourself when it comes to what you eat, as long as we know what we’re doing this for. If you or any readers prefer to eat meat but still wish to support sustainability, do check out http://www.rivercottage.net/ I’m not sure if Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is well-known in the US, but he is in the UK for campaigning for ethically produced food. Very interesting stuff!

joy June 17, 2012 at 7:33 pm

hi emma, I love your blog and elsie’s as well!
And I really really like that article. I am vegetarian for 6 years now, I started being vegetarian when I was 12 (I think the reason for it was more or less that I started as well as you did, to think about more and more where my food comes from and how it is produced and stuff like that. 6 years ago it was very hard for me to eplain to the people why I do not eat meat, because they all thought eating meat is “natural”. As you did as well, I was always getting nervous about that and I worried a lot about that the people where always so naive and that I always thought, theire arguments where stronger than mines. But no, they weren’t. We once had a very good discussion about eating meat in my philosophy course and I think I finally found the answer to the question “Why aren’t you eating meat?”. The answer or let us better say, the question to the question is “Why DO you eat meat?” I think as vegetarian we should not just justify our own position but we are also entitled to ask the non-vegetarians why they eat it. Just do it and see what happens. The first thing that comes up is surely “Because it tastes good”. Sure it does, but is that really a reason to say, we eat meat? Why don’t we eat dogs and cats, surely they would taste good as well.
I do not want to judge people who eat meat, but I also do not want to be the person who always needs to justify being vegetarian.
I don’t know, for me food is important, I think about what I eat and where it was produced and how and stuff. That is why I do it.

Cass June 17, 2012 at 9:38 pm

Emma, there is nothing more unsustainable than eating seafood.

ELeni Drinks Tea June 18, 2012 at 4:15 pm

Good point: sea-trawling is a horrendous practice, but I’m sure if Emma has given that much thought to where her meat comes from, she has given equal consideration to where her fish comes from.

Personally, I try to buy line-caught fish whernever possible, or if not, to avoid species which I know are over-fished.

Melissa Baswell Williams June 18, 2012 at 8:08 am

I’ve been veg since I was 15 and still feel caught off guard when people ask me why. I had no idea you were too! Makes me like you even more. :)

Eleni Drinks Tea June 18, 2012 at 4:13 pm

Ha ha I guess we were all curious about how vegetarian you are!

The most important thing for us all to remember is that it’s a personal choice, and everybody’s morals are based on their personal experience. I, for example, eat meat (not every day – budget and health reasons mainly) but at the moment I’m struggling to find a hairspray that hasn’t been tested on animals! In my mind, using an animal to provide food and sustenance is a different thing to spraying shit into its eyes to see how much it hurts.

Thank you for posting this, you may have reminded (or perhaps taught?) a few of us that we need to choose where our food comes from more carefully.

candace June 19, 2012 at 3:06 am

I’ve been vegetarian since middle school, and it was (and continues to be) the easiest choice to make every day, even while living in Texas. There are so many amazing things to eat that aren’t animals! I optimistically believe that no one would support factory farming if they really understood what kind of horrors go on there…but not everyone knows or wants to think about such things. If everyone would give some critical thought to what they’re eating, the world would be a better place no doubt. Thanks for your post!

Also, for a cruelty-free shopping guide on beauty products and such, check this site:
http://www.leapingbunny.org/indexcus.php

Jessi June 20, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Thanks for posting, Emma. My husband and I have been doing more and more research on where food comes from and how best to choose what we eat. This has led to eliminating fast food and only eating meat responsibly and rather rarely (such as holidays and family hunted and tested meat). Bacon remains my weakness. Have you read Omnivore’s Dilemma? It has opened my eyes to a number of problems. Sometimes it feels as though people get defensive the instant they hear we prefer not to eat meat and are picky about how food is sourced. Sometimes it’s easier not to talk about it. It’s nice to hear others out there have the same views as us.

Jacqui June 21, 2012 at 3:33 am

I enjoyed this post. I am also vegetarian. For me, the final decision to give up meat for good happened about a year ago (prior to this I ate meat occasionally but generally lived on vegetarian meals). I’m in Australia, and we had a horrible public exposure of the cruelty involved in live cow exports, principally to Indonesia. Seeing footage of the horrific treatment of these animals made me vow to have no part in supporting an industry that can allow this to happen. I have not eaten meat since, and I feel immensely better in myself – partly as I believe we don’t need to eat meat to survive, partly as I identify with Buddhist faith and mainly because I don’t believe that an animal should die so that I can live.
I am encouraged and supported when I see other people on a similar path. Thanks for sharing.

Earendil June 22, 2012 at 10:20 am

i’m kind of a vegetarian too (i sometimes eat meat or fish, but not more than once a month, i do eat eggs and milk however), mostly because i don’t like the taste of meat, fish, seashells and all that stuff… well, i can actually eat some types of meat and fish, but only when they’re very good quality (so that usually means that the meat comes from cows or sheep who have been raised in a “natural” way, in green pastures and all that ^^). I also think that for the health of the planet and our own health, everybody should reduce the meat in their food anyway, not to speak about the cruelty involved in the “industrial” animal breeding… my palate is very picky and helps me a lot in being vegetarian so i consider myself quite lucky next to all of you vegetarians who don’t want to eat meat for philosophical reasons but actually love the taste of it! ;)
It is very interesting to see that many people are actually trying to eat less (or none at all) meat, and to understand their different reasons for doing so. Thanks for sharing yours! :)

KatieEE June 23, 2012 at 7:12 pm

I am a big fan of your blog, but this post is slightly disheartening for me because I know that the way your grandfather raises his cattle, with love and compassion, is the way the majority of farmers and ranchers feel towards their animals. They couldn’t work long and hard hours without loving what they do and respecting their animals, because if their animals aren’t cared for and given what they need to be happy, those farmers are not able to feed and provide for their own families. American agriculture has been portrayed poorly by many sources, but don’t be afraid to look again at our industry while keeping in mind that 97% of farms are owned by families, and 90% of cattle herds have less than 100 cows on them! Everyone has to make their own food and health choices, but consumers have more options than every before and agriculture isn’t hiding anything about their industry. Happy eating!