This month makes 25 years that I've been vegetarian! Woot! I love being a vegetarian and will be for the rest of my life. I have now been vegetarian longer in my life than not.
Why do I choose this lifestyle? Because I'm an animal lover. It's just that simple and straight forward. I love animals and have a deep compassion for them, so I don't want to eat them. I made a decision many years ago that I wanted to live my life in a way that reduced my contribution to animal cruelty, and one of the best ways to do that is to not eat them. Most people say they love animals, but really they just love dogs, cats, horses. They love pets. There's a huge disconnection when it comes to food about what they believe (that they love animals) and what is on their plates (animals)... unless they mean they love to eat them (like I say that I love chocolate, which is because I love to eat it).
I try not to judge those who are not vegetarian. This is just how I choose to live. I realize that others see things differently and that's fine, I have no desire to debate the issue. We all choose our own path in life. The majority of my extended family and friends are not vegetarian, by the way. We are a vegetarian family though. Brian will also be vegetarian 25 years in a couple of months, and the kids have been vegetarian since birth.
While I made this lifestyle decision for my compassion for animals, years later I came to realize the many other benefits that it provides. (I've always had an optimal cholesterol level, for starters.) Not only are there well documented health benefits to plant based eating, but it's also better for the environment. Plus, I am into mindfulness, meditation, and yoga, and eating a more peaceful diet just goes along with those things. Having said that, I'm not perfect either... While I am always vegetarian (and mostly vegan), I am not a vegan and don't strive to be. I do still eat non-vegan pizza, cake, etc.
Interesting bit of trivia for you... it was Michael Jackson who introduced me to vegetarianism when I was 10 years old. I was obsessed with him as a kid (who wasn't, right?). I was also an avid reader. I read a book about him and it said he was a vegetarian and animal lover. That's where my journey began... back then there was no Internet and I lived in a town of less than 3,000 people, so the library had no books on it. I tried vegetarianism for a year as a child, but didn't have info. That lack of information prompted me to do a lot of outreach events as an adult, setting up booths and holding events, where we would give out information to those who came seeking it. Today, the info is everywhere. It's amazing how plant based living has exploded in popularity in the last five or so years! Only 5% of the population in the US is vegetarian. However, the number of meat eaters who are opting for plant based meals at least some of the time is greatly increasing, which is fueling that explosion (which is awesome).
Anyway, I don't post much about it, because I don't want to upset others, but every October I like to make a post. Plus, October is World Vegetarian Awareness Month. Here's to the next 25 years!