Aug 7, 2011

How I Became Vegetarian and Why You Should Too

vegetarian tomato peas
Photo by Syed Xain

It’s been two weeks now (23 July 2011), about 15 days since the last time I put a peace of animal flesh in my mouth. Therefore, I’m officially a lacto-ovo vegetarian.

A lacto-ovo vegetarian (or ovo-lacto), for those who are wondering, is a vegetarian who
does not eat animal flesh of any kind, but is willing to consume dairy and egg products. In contrast, a vegetarian who consumes no animal products at all is called a vegan. This leaves for a raw vegan only raw fruits and vegetables, cooked under 48 degrees Celsius (118 degrees Fahrenheit) in addition to raw nuts.

The reason for my transition is split in two:

The first is for health benefits. After I stopped drinking coffee, half-stopped drinking soda, it was time for a bigger and better shift in my diet.

The American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada have stated that at all stages of life, a properly planned vegetarian diet is "healthful, nutritionally adequate, and provides health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases".

Vegetarian diets offer lower levels of saturated fat, cholesterol and animal protein, and higher levels of carbohydrates, fiber, magnesium, potassium, folate, and antioxidants such as vitamins C and E and phytochemicals.

Protein intake in vegetarian diets is only slightly lower than in meat diets and can meet daily requirements for any person, including athletes and bodybuilders. (Wikipedia)

I highly recommend checking these two articles about the harms and dangers of eating meat before you consider putting another peace of that matter in your mouth.

The second reason for turning vegetarian is for animal rights.
animal rights cow
Photo by publicenergy

About one month ago, I watched a chicken getting killed and being cut in peaces in front of my eyes. Why? Because I asked for it! I even gave the person money for killing the chicken for me…

In short, I was utterly disgusted. Both from the cruel act of killing an  innocent chicken, and also from the disgusting view of blood and intestines.

Needless to say, I never touched a chicken ever since.
A while after that, I started feeling the same about beef and lamb, aren’t cows and sheep animals too? And what about fishes?

Why I didn’t turn vegan at once

But why lacto-ovo? Why not vegan? It’s not because I couldn’t live without milk or eggs, I could easily go without them. In fact, I could as easily become a raw vegan right this moment, well, at least I know I have the discipline for it, but I don’t know how my body would reacts.

The real reason of why I’m sticking with lacto-ovo right now is because it’s the most I can go without my friends and parents noticing (caring about what others think of me is a weakness I have to overcome someday), and also because pastries for Lebanese are like rice for Chinese or Sushi for Japanese or pizza for Americans, we have them on every meal.

Also, I think that producing milk and eggs doesn’t harm animals in general, and the milk and eggs we buy aren’t mass-produced, they are farm-made by people we know very well (Sometimes from my grandparents’ own farm).

And to add to the list, turning vegan requires me buying special type of food that I can't afford right now (I’m 17 in case you’re new here).

So right now I’m just sticking with lacto-ovo vegetarianism and we’ll see where it leads. It will be challenging to not eat meat during Ramadan (without getting exposed that is).

Update (18/08/11): my parents officially know now.
Update (01/01/12): I became vegan today :D

If you are vegetarian yourself, or considering becoming one, please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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