I'm currently a vegetarian. I've been so fully for probably a year or so, though I've wanted to and started to for a while before that.
Sometimes people ask me why I am. I wanted to record my thoughts on the matter here. I think it is useful to do this because it will not always be easy to remember why I do something. You start to lose your original perspective.
I'm not trying to preach to people to do the same. It's my choice. I do refer jokingly to meat as murder but that is really only a joke rather than trying to preach, though I can see how it might come across as preaching.
In no particular order then:
- Planet. I feel that meat is very resource intensive. It is not sustainable. I like to try to be minimal and have low impact.
- Health. I believe that there are health implications. Animals are fed all sorts of things and are not always well treated, and by eating them you risk inheriting these problems.
- Animals. I don't like the idea of killing anything or causing pain to something, especially for something selfish like tastiness. I've seen footage of animals being killed for meat and it is hard to watch. I think if I can't do it then I shouldn't be paying someone else to do it.
- Cleanliness. There is always a risk with meat that you will not clean up well or make yourself sick using dirty implements. I suppose this is possible with everything but my feeling is there is less risk without meat.
- Body. I sort of feel that my body itself can be cleaner this way. I remember reading something about Steve Jobs that he thought he wouldn't smell if he only ate fruit (which according to those around him was not true), but the idea remains.
- Cost. This is pretty minor, but good meat is expensive.
- Culture. I sort of like the hippie type ideology that surrounds it. Visiting a vegan or vegetarian restaurant is usually a different experience. There is different ambience, a different clientele.
Probably the most important to me is the planet point, followed by the animal point.
I'd quite like to be vegan too, because I think eating animal products has many of the above problems too. However it seems very difficult to me. I already am not very good at feeding myself for one thing. But there is also the problem of going out to eat anywhere. It is often difficult enough to find anything vegetarian. Going out with anyone would mean there would be very little for me to eat, unless we were to always go to places that served vegan food which is not so common.
There are problems with being vegetarian too:
- Superiority. I worry that people might think I am doing it just to feel superior. Another reason to show I'm better than someone.
- Convenience. Much of the time it is not as convenient. If I go out to a restaurant there is always the question of what I can eat. Often there is nothing. Often there is something, but maybe not something I'd really like if given other options. Especially while travelling there are problems. If I don't speak the language then it can be tricky to know what to eat, if anything. Or at a table with shared food I feel like I am impinging on people's enjoyment, that they feel they need to order something less ideal because of me.
- Health. I worry that I do not eat adequately, that I don't get all the nutrients and such that I should. This is part of the convenience part I suppose but it requires more work. As well, there are things like tofu that I'm not sure it is good for me to eat a lot of. It's hard to know for sure what is good and what is bad to eat. There is often a lot of conflicting information. But then that is the case vegetarian or not.
- Manliness. There is I think a negative connotation with being vegetarian. That you are some kind of grass eater who is not vigorous.
- Taste. I find that many vegetarian options are not as delicious as what is available to meat eaters. I don't think this is something necessary, but often when I go out to eat it is at restaurants that cater mostly to meat eaters, and the vegetarian meals are given less emphasis. Or there is just a token meal and you can take it or leave it.