6 Reasons I’m Still A Vegetarian

It has come to my attention that not everyone has a favorite type of cow. I do. Evidently this isn’t something that falls into the realm of normal. Damn, I was almost pulling it off.

Photo by Rachel Kramer
Photo by Rachel Kramer

Belted Galloways are my favorite cows. They remind me of my childhood in mid-coast Maine and really they’re just the funniest looking things, the physical manifestation of an Oreo cookie. One glance at these fluffy, beautiful creatures and I’m reassured that I’m making the right choice for me by continuing to not eat meat.

Over two years I became a vegetarian on a whim. The story is midly ridiculous, something my family frequently points out. I’ve also had several mishaps along the way. Let me just note, technically I’m a pescatarian because occasionally I do eat seafood. I also want to remind you that this is about me, not about you. N eats meat. Every person I love eats meat. That’s their personal choice and this is mine.

Here’s why, over two years later, I still don’t eat meat.

1. I relate all animals back to my dog. When Archie makes a face, I immediately assign it a human emotion. He was scared when the closet popped open? Then he gets embarrassed and low wags his way over to his momma. I think they call it personification. The more I do it with Archie, the more I feel like I can interpret his every feeling, emotion, and happiness. And the more I do it with him, the more connected I feel to other animals. Like if I spent enough time with any animal, I’d feel the same way.

2. Pork is what I would imagine human looks like. You know, if human was sliced up and put on styrofoam trays and covered in plastic wrap. Eek. I get the heebie jeebies just thinking about it. Every time I see pork chops in the grocery store I cannot stop my brain from going there. I just can’t. I realize I could be the only person in the world who thinks this and that it also makes me possibly disturbed and crazy.

3. Death really really scares me. I don’t like the idea of eating something that had to die. That experienced pain. That was scared. I don’t know. I wouldn’t want someone to eat me.

4. It’s green. I won’t throw stats out there but not eating meat allegedly conserves fossil fuel, water, grains, and soil. Until I can afford a hybrid car, I like knowing this. I’ll just go put on my Birkenstocks now…

5. Some studies have found that vegetarians live longer. I’m really trying to live to be 100. If I had to list life goals, this is pretty high up on the list.

6. I just don’t miss it. Some people really enjoy meat. I was never one of them. Okay okay, on occasion the chicken fingers from Chili’s sound really good and don’t let me near a BLT, my self-control isn’t that strong. But I very rarely feel like I’m missing out on anything. When I do, I usually grab one of the 5 foods I eat when I really miss meat.

Sometimes I feel obnoxious at group dinners suggesting only appetizers that I can join in on. At big family gatherings, I feel bad when other people feel bad when they tell me they used chicken broth in the stuffing and I’m stuck eating green bean cassarole (vom). And while I don’t feel limited in most restaurants, we do frequent a lot of the same places that have options for me. And we eat pizza. Lots of pizza.

But in the end, I’m very happy with my decision. And who knows? Maybe one day I’ll be chowing down on some meat and I’ll re-read this post and laugh at myself.

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  • I have a favorite cow too! Nice to find good company. Mine is a dairy cow called brown swiss. It’s not hard to find 100 reasons to be a vegetarian now.

    • I just googled the Brown Swiss and they are beautiful! I actually became a vegetarian when I was a kid because I fell completely in love with a cow at the county fair. I never knew what kind it was but it was definitely a brown swiss. Thanks for sharing!

  • As someone who spends a lot of time at a no-kill animal shelter working with the dogs, cats, and bunnies (yes, bunnies) that come in, I can tell you that every single animal I’ve ever worked with, I’ve felt some kind of connection with. Sure, some of those connections are stronger than others, but it’s incredibly hard to work towards a goal with an animal without developing a relationship and trust in each other.

    • I’m certain that I’d have the same experience. I feel like the squirrels outside my apartment window are “our” squirrels. The bunnies that run around our complex I name and love spotting. I just can’t separate that from eating meat.

  • JC

    No. 1 Is something I can totally relate to. I think of anyone mistreating an animal and I think of how my pup would react, and it breaks my heart. No. 3 I relate to with the idea that most large scale farming operations have the animals stressed and uncomfortable the entire time. I’m not naive enough to think you can trick each and every animal you kill into not realizing something is wrong, but I’d prefer if they felt safe most of their lives at least. Love No. 4. I’ve been toying with this idea on and off for a while. I don’t think I can do it, but right now I’m trying this thing where I only eat meat once a day or less. We shall see how t goes.

    • That’s awesome! N still eats meat almost every day. I try to keep him from eating too much red meat because I worry about heart disease.

      If I did eat meat again, I’d try to eat the grass fed, lived a happy life (or so we think) kind of meat. I pay double for eggs to get the cage-free, vegetarian fed eggs. They may not be the happiest hens but it makes me feel a little better.

  • Val

    See, I’m totally a horrible person because I do love cows. Like LOVE them. My parents promised when my sister went off to college I could move a cow into her room and I believed them for years. Love them.

    And I still eat meat.

    I’m a monster!

    • You aren’t a monster! You just are able to separate the animal from the meat on your table. Sometimes I wish I could.

  • I stopped eating meat a few months ago, and haven’t looked back. I read Eating Animals, and it blew my mind about where food comes from. It’s easy to be vegetarian when I look at my cats – why would I eat a cow, but not them?

    • Other people have recommended that I read Eating Animals but I still haven’t. Maybe I’ll check it out.

  • I definitely see your points but here’s why i DO eat it. It’s part of the food chain. We’ve been eating meat since the beginning of time. I don’t care if others choose not to, I just hope they don’t care if I choose to!

    • And I totally get that. My entire family eats meat and so does N. I won’t raise my kids vegetarian. It doesn’t bother me that other people eat meat, as long as they respect my choice as I respect theirs.

  • Been a vegetarian for 13 years. Although I went veg on a lark (a friend asked me to do it with her), I stay that way because I, too, relate it all back to dogs.

    • I never expected to be a vegetarian for this long. It really started off as a random thing. Glad I’m not the only one who relates everything back go my dog!

  • snaps to this. I’ve been a vegetarian (well, pescatarian – sushi is too delicious!) for a little more than 2 years. I had a weird bacon craving the other day but when I actually thought about what it was it made me wanna barf. yuck.

    • The sushi is what gets me too! I can’t give it up. I do get those weird cravings too. Sometimes on a hot day, a BLT with lots of tomato and crunchy bacon sounds amazing. I just can’t do it though.

  • I was actually a vegetarian for a while (6 years) before I was “re-introduced” to eating meat. I became a vegetarian for a myriad of reasons in high school, and became a non-vegetarian when I was living in Spain for a study abroad and my senora didn’t think being a vegetarian was natural and kept “hiding” meat in my foods. Eventually I started eating it again. While I still prefer my veggies these days and tend to eat salads & foods without meat more than I eat meat. But you never know where life will take you and how you will feel about meat years down the road. I also am healthier now that I eat meat again… no more random sicknesses for me! (When I was a vegetarian I came down with so many random illnesses it wasn’t even funny!) So awesome that you don’t judge people who eat meat (I never did either), because those vegetarians are scary… I know a few of them and even when I was a vegetarian they made me uncomfortable!

    • People sometimes tell me that I’ll crave meat when I’m pregnant someday so I’m not saying I’ll never eat meat again, I just know this is why I’m still a vegetarian now.

      I’ve heard other people say they got sick more when they stopped eating meat. I haven’t experienced that at all and in fact, I don’t feel any different at all. It might be because I rarely ate any meat before officially giving it up. That being said, I do have my iron levels checked fairly regularly (mostly to make my Mom happy) and they’ve always been good. Maybe it’s cause I eat a lot of lentils and black beans.

      Thanks for sharing your experiences!

  • You and me both with the bacon, girl. Why must it be so tasty and so gross at the same damned time?!

    Nadine! I need to add to your list of things you eat when you miss meat. Ready?

    Baconut. That’s right, baconut. It is to fall over and die for. I’m not going to put a link in here because then WordPress will identify me as a spammer and send a drone to blast me out of my chair, but trust me. Google The Hungry Hungry Hippie coconut bacon.

    I live for this stuff. Sometimes (most times) I don’t even bake it. ‘Cause I am lazy. And I want the baconut NOOOOW. I just toss the coconut flake in the wet ingredients, nom on the bowl, then stash it in the fridge for later nomming.

    I may just have to write a post about baconut. It’s that good.

    • Oh. My. God.

      How did I not know about this before now?! I’m eternally grateful to you for sharing this with me. The fakey bacon at the grocery store always looks gross and like, what is it even made out of? I’ve never even tried it.

      Now…where to find liquid smoke?

      • It’s with the spices or the hot sauces. Stop n Shop or Star Market should have it. I think the brand is Colgan. It’s a little long-necked bottle. It’s the kind of thing you’ll never notice on the shelf until you’re looking for it. I have only found the coconut flake at Whole Foods, and I know they have the liquid smoke, too. TJ’s may have it. It is so worth it. If I didn’t have to brave Whole Foods for the coconut I’d make this every single day. I’d put it in ice cream, in cookies, on veggie burgers, in salads…

        Baconut.

  • Damn I have never seen a cow like that, and I like my meat although I am not a big meat eater I do like it, I am not a big fan of veggies other than the standard veggies you know peas, corn, carrots and spuds who doesn’t like spuds

    • The Belted Galloway’s are weirdly common in certain areas of the country, one of those being mid-coast Maine. They are SO beautiful.

  • oh man i almost puked when i read the pork comment. haha that makes me not want to eat meat.

  • I really respect all these reasons and they are the reasons why I think about being a vegetarian. But at the end of the day, I really like meat. So what I’m doing is researching all the local farms in my area and trying samples of the meats from the farmer’s market. If I eat it, I want to make sure I do it ethically and that the animals are cared for in a humane way. Still, it’s something I struggle with.

  • You do, I relate to a lot of these. But I still eat meat hahahah I just can’t say no to a burger, even though I managed to do so for like four years! Also, don’t go to Japan (and go near a place with beef). My professor said that when you eat beef there, they literally give you a certificate with a picture of the cow, the cow’s family tree, nose print, name, diet, etc. So… yeah.

  • Bless! I refused to eat meat as a toddler, and have been vegetarian ever since. My daughter, who is seven, is the same. I have had many operations and had to have some of my blood stored at the blood bank in preparation and they thought my iron count would be hideously low when they noted on my form that I didn’t eat meat, but to their amazement it was that of an average male!

  • Great post! I made the decision 18 years ago to stop eating meat and I’ve never looked back (well, only when bacon has been cooking, but I’m only human!). I wrote a post a while ago about how it was MY choice and my choice alone to not eat meat after an obnoxious relative (by marriage) asked (in an offended tone, like my personal choice had offended him) why I didn’t eat meat – it was a bit of a rant but it made me feel better to get it out there! Oh and thanks for the pork chop comment – I’m scared for life, lol! x

  • Living to 100 is a goal of mine too but we will have to agree to disagree on this one!

  • I’m a lazy meat lover who ends up on a vegetarian diet. I think it’s fair for us to say that vegetarian dishes are less time consuming. I won’t go into details, but prepping meat can take forever. By the time you finish that step alone, you will have probably finished cooking up your vegetarian dish! It’s an advantage for those who cook for themselves. 😛

  • I’m totally the same way. I tried it out for 30 days and never went back – it’s been 2 1/2 years and I added seafood back into my diet, but I don’t know what in the world would get me to want to eat meat again. i feel like it would make me sick. And now I’ll never even look at pork the same 🙂

  • I lived on a farm and participated in my school’s calf club…I definitely have a favourite cow…or bull. I love bulls. They are the bees knees. I decided to go vegetarian on a whim as well, just back in December actually and I’m still going strong! 🙂 I do get cravings for steak though…and I never, ever liked steak when I was eating meat haha. No regrets though! I feel soooo good not eating meat 🙂

  • I love those cows too!! We call them Oreo cows 😉

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