So in response to my previous post, Deanna asked why I decided to become a vegetarian.  Rather than reply directly to her, I’d thought I’d share my reasons here so any one who stumbles across this page can read them. There’s a few reasons (and I’m using bold type to allow folks to skim)…for the first, let me paraphrase Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) from Pulp Fiction…

My wife’s a vegetarian so that pretty much makes me a vegetarian, too. This totally over simplifies it and isn’t the main/only reason, but I’m a guy, it’s cool to quote Pulp Fiction. But in reality, Debbie decided to become vegetarian, we discussed it, and I was pretty quickly on board. I thought I was going to be 85-95% vegetarian at first, but wound up being about 99% over the last three months. More on that in a minute…

So, Deb was a vegetarian for a while a few years ago, and we have both been very concious about what our family has been eating over the past year or so. With two special needs kids, we’ve been trying to cut out the junk and eat organic, first for the kids and then for ourselves. We started down that path and then when we went almost organic, Deb read Skinny Bitch, then I did too (see review). The book is pretty much a vegan manifesto, and a little bit heavy handed for me, but what I took from it is that all of the bad stuff that we were trying to avoid in mass-produced food existed in most meats. We considered going hormone-free, free range, etc.- but what gets us is that all of the “healthy” meat winds up at the same slaughterhouses (a USDA requirement) as the high-density feedlot animals. So while I’m not a card carrying PETA member nor plan to become one, animal treatment and health does play a part.

Another reason is that overall, I’m trying to eat better/lose weight. I’m 40 and can stand to lose 20 pounds. I figured trying a vegetarian diet would help. What I didn’t anticipate is that while my meat intake went down, my pizza intake went up considerably. Nevertheless, I’ve lost a few pounds and my clothes fit a little better.

I’d also thought I’d try it out to see if it made me feel any better. And it does. While I have enjoyed a few Burger King veggie burgers, for the most part this keeps me out of the fast food joints. I have swayed back to the meat side a couple of times- mot recently for hot wings and a kosher dog at a baseball game.  We do eat the occasional seaood item too, which makes it more bearable to dine out – there’s only so much pizza, pasta and salads you can order, and the choices at many places can be limited. We’re also less concerned about the humanity of “aquaculture” (catchy, no?), although I have a book on the topic I’m about to read.  But in all, being almost 100% meatless has made me feel healthier and generally be in a better mood.

So there’s my long answer to a short question :) I’m happy I’m doing it and will likely keep it going for a while, but I think I will still have a steak at my annual holiday outing with the guys from work.  Ultimately, I feel that any lifestyle choice- including diet- is up to the individual to find what works best for them.  I’d never thought I’d live a life without bacon, but I am, and I really like it.

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