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Change By Choice

I became a vegetarian by chance. A writer I admired, Jonathan Safran Foer, published a new book that was proclaimed to be an investigative work into the world of modern-day food consumption: Eating Animals. I’m a morally obligated person; I always try to keep my actions in line with my values, and I felt compelled to learn the truth of what I would come to know as “factory farming,” even if it required me to change my eating habits.

This book altered my entire life. Change, Foer writes, is largely inspired by guilt. Guilt was an emotion I largely reconnected with when reading Eating Animals. I sobbed while reading about the living conditions of animals. For several days, I was in a trance-like depression from the horrors that book made me experience. I struggled to find composure in the monsoon of emotions that stirred within me. Looking back, I would definitely have worked harder to remain logical. Eventually, I regained my reason and decided I only had one option: to become a vegetarian, which I define as one who does not eat meat. I couldn’t reconcile my “tastes” (pun intended) with my values.

My first step towards vegetarianism was that it became my New Year’s Resolution. After a short-lived stint at vegetarianism last summer, I seriously thought how I would best alter my diet. My plan was to slowly phase animal meat out of my diet. In contrast, I fell so quickly and easily into a diet with no meat that I stopped eating it altogether after the first two weeks of being vegetarian. This had a slight drawback: strong, long-lasting stomach aches due to my diet change. I actually had to consume small pieces of meat in order to stop the pain. This faded after a couple of days, and I have not consumed meat or fish since.

Vegetarianism was not as challenging due to the support group of my parents. We quickly explored many vegetarian and vegan foods. If asked to recommend foods to a non-vegetarian, I would easily say: any “Amy’s Kitchen” products and any “Boca” and “Yves” items (usually found in the frozen food and organic aisles). Though eating out at restaurants is harder as a vegetarian it can be done. Restaurants that focus on non-Western dishes—such as Asian or Indian specialty establishments—tend to offer a nice array of “vegetarian” dishes for meat-eaters and vegetarians alike.

After beginning the school year as a vegetarian, I got into a debate with my friend who asked me why I was a vegetarian. “Animals were put here for a purpose,” she said, “and everything has its role in life. Besides, I like meat too much.” I told her that it wasn’t that I “didn’t like” meat or think that consuming animals was essentially wrong. I told her my problem lied in the inhumane, often unmerciful ways of killing animals raised for consumption. My morals were more important than my taste buds, I said. This debate even inspired me to write an article for my high school paper, of which I am the Editor-in-Chief, in an attempt to combat the “typical” arguments against vegetarianism. Though my friend may have been unhappy with the debate, I gladly continue to talk with those willing to listen about the reasons for becoming a vegetarian. After publication of the article, I received many good words about my viewpoints, as well.





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corneliuss said...
Apr. 21, 2010 at 2:06 am
i love you!!! i want to be vegitarian but its so hard for me, i have been trying to eat less meat then i use to its kinda working, I love meat i just dont like the way they kill the poor little animals. my bestfirend got me in everything. he has been vegie for 2 weeks now, we are going to protest in front of mc donalds, we bought flyers from peda its a good website. thank yo, you inspired me even more. any tips though?
 
guinea_pig_girl replied...
Jun. 28, 2010 at 4:55 pm
I'm a vegetarian, too.  If I were you, I would research first and see just how bad the meat industry is for the environment, the animals, and even yourself.  This way you'll be more motivated.  Also, try to slowly switch to 'fake meat' products like Morningstar Farms or Boca- my friends say they taste almost exactly the same.  Good luck!!!
 
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