20 years

I don't eat my dogs . . . or their friends

I am celebrating a bit of a milestone this year: 20 years of vegetarianism! I don't recall the precise date when I turned that corner, but I know I was 19 and that it was right after my first year of college. I had talked about becoming a vegetarian through most of high school, but my mom was worried that my health would suffer. (She is now a vegetarian also, as is my youngest sister.) So, I had to wait until I was an adult, or at least some close facsimile.

I did not immediately give up all forms of meat. I retained my right to eat seafood for a few months because I felt it would be easier to make the transition that way. I am from Maryland originally (and lived in Virginia from the ages of 8 to 25), and with the Chesapeake Bay being relatively close by, the blue crab often figures prominently in one's diet. I remember sitting at crab feasts with my father's family, the scent of Old Bay seasoning hanging in the air. There were rows of people with their heads down, cracking those big claws with a mallet and then dipping the crab meat in vinegar. To this day, the blue crab is the only thing I miss (honest!)

Once I fully made the transition to a completely vegetarian diet, I felt like a weight had been lifted. I would tread a little lighter on the earth, I hoped, and carve a narrower path on my way through this life. And, I want the same for my daughter.

Aside from the conscience-relieving aspects of vegetarianism, there are other benefits. Even at my pre-Weight Watchers weight, I have never had even the tiniest elevation in my cholesterol. I think it's well established that a vegetarian diet is healthy over all, provided you get enough protein (which is easily obtained from many sources, such as beans). Also, many of the vegetarian items I eat (such as Boca burgers) are extremely low in fat and calories. (Brownies are also vegetarian, which is how people like me end up at Weight Watchers.)

People often say to me, "Oh, I could never be a vegetarian." Well, you could, you just don't wanna. And that's fine, but just do like your mother taught you and be honest. I'm not going to sell you a ticket to a guilt trip (well, maybe just a short little jaunt). All I would ask is that you pay attention to where your food comes from. If you are buying inexpensive meat at the grocery store, you are supporting factory farming - no two ways about it. Doing a little research into factory farming is what prompted me to become a vegetarian 20 years ago. There is nothing humane about factory farming and I knew I was not worth that kind of suffering. In the scheme of things, I'm just not all that important and other creatures shouldn't have to suffer for me if I can help it.

That's all I'll say about that, because I'd hate to lose one of my two readers. A 50% drop in readership would be truly tragic.


Susie said…
Silly girl! You couldn't get rid of me if you tried--well I guess you could go private and not give me the password, but you know what I mean!
Anyway, the thing that makes life interesting is the fact that we're all different. So what if you don't eat meat and I do? I won't judge you for that choice and I know you won't judge me for mine. We're very different, and that's what I like most about you! I like people who stand behind their convictions--you go girl!
Anonymous said…
Congratulations on 20 years!
No worries-I'll still cyber-stalk you...er...read your blog.
Audreee said…
Congratulations on twenty years! I remember (vaguely) when you became a veggie, and I can't believe it has been that long.
radioactivegan said…
congratulations! that's awesome. i've only been veg for eleven-ish years (it is hard to know when you started. i guess at the time i didn't realize how important it would be to me or i would have marked my calendar!). here's to 20 more years!
Congrats on 20 years! That is quite a commitment! Have you given any re-consideration to joining our adoption blog? It is REALLY poppin! :)
Anonymous said…
You are not getting rid of me with this one, I am a vegetarian too!

Please post a list of some of your favorite foods, I am always looking for new ideas! Laurie
Mary said…
Ha!! This comment makes 7 readers!;) Congrats, that is something to be very proud of. I still have not gone 100% but I'm willing to pay for the cage free eggs etc. as much as possible. I guess that's not much....;( But I have found restaurants that actually only use farm factory free meats. I mean I know they are still killed but I do believe it makes a difference if they were abused their whole life. We all have different beliefs and I try not to condemn other for theirs. My chief complaint about how little some care for their animals. Okay...starting a book here.;)

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