The Hairy Vegetarian - Why Am I Vegetarian?
I get asked that question all the time. Also, "So what do you eat?" I often answer it by asking, "Why do you eat animals?" I then usually listen patiently to a litany of reasons why humans should eat meat, which often includes that we are designed to eat meat, we have canine teeth, we can't get enough protein (vitamin B12, folic acid, etc.) unless we do, the deer would over run the state if we didn't (this usually from people who cringe at the thought of eating Bambi), vegetarians are pale, and that the human brain would shrivel without meat in the diet.
If the questioner is still receptive to an answer from me, I offer simply that I've always wanted to be vegetarian. This baffles people. They seem to want me to launch into an argument with them about the yoga principles of non-violence, the humane treatment of sentient beings, the vast amounts of grain and water that it takes to create a pound of animal flesh, the health benefits of a plant-based diet, 70s communal living, the Buddha, and Bill Clinton. But I usually don't get that far. I simply say, "I've always wanted to."
That amount of resolve in my answer appears to be disarming. Well, that is, after allowing the questioner to launch a barrage of carnivore defensives. Often my reticence is a profound enough answer to allow the questioner to begin to name obvious health and environmental benefits from a plant-based diet. I often catch them glancing at my still-just-as-olive-toned skin, my healthy hair (not so much on my head), the fair amount of muscle tone I've managed to keep into my 50s, my level of energy, and my apparent overall health (my doctor says that I should sell my blood).
I often get asked, “So do you miss it?” I know that they assume I that I know that they mean eating meat. I answer, “Not in the least.” It’s true. I also don’t miss drinking soda for the last thirty years, Ding Dongs, Twinkies, anything with Aspartame in it, and a lot of other things that I don’t eat any more. I do miss putting coffee in my mouth, but that’s another blog.
So, that's why I'm vegetarian. Simple. Well, ok, conserving water, respecting all sentient beings, the health of the planet, the ozone layer, the yoga principle of Ahimsa, the awareness of nutrition from my dietitian mother, my overall health, and the fact that I like vegetarian food may have something to do with it. Bill Clinton is vegan, if you were wondering. Feel free to ask me, though, why I'm vegetarian. Better yet, eat with me. I'll show you.