The one question I get asked on a regular basis is 'why are you vegetarian?' I get asked this almost every week whether it is by a work colleague, a friend, a member of my family or even someone who has read my blog. I often find this a rather annoying question - it's not like I go up to them and ask why don't you like this type of vegetable or if I see them not eating ketchup, asking them why they don't like that. As soon as someone mentions they are vegetarian, everyone seems to think they are entitled to an opinion on it. Second question that always comes after finding out that someone is vegetarian - 'do you do this for the animals? They are going to get killed anyway, it's not like you can prevent it.' Third question - 'What on earth do you eat? You can't eat anything.' Has someone written a guidebook on what to ask if you ever meet a vegetarian? I'm pretty sure every question I get asked is the same and in pretty much the same order. People are entitled to their own dietary choices, some of these are out of personal beliefs and some are due to health choices. My reason for being vegetarian is simple, I just didn't like the taste of meat.
I remember sitting on a floor at a sleepover with my friends aged 14 and talking about a band we really liked being vegetarian. We then decided it would be a 'cool' thing to make a pact and turn vegetarian. As someone that has turned their nose up at meat all the time when I was younger and always opted for vegetarian options when eating out, this decision was easy for me to make. We all went home the next day and started our lives as vegetarians and told our parents. My parents laughed when I told them. They said it was just 'a phase' and that I would grow out of it. Despite not liking meat most of my childhood, they were adamant that I would grow to like it. 10 years on and I've grown apart from those friends I made that pact with, but I've been told they now eat meat. For me, vegetarianism is still a strong part of my life, if not now more than ever before.
Being vegetarian has taught me to a better cook - I like experimenting with flavours and learning to cook vegetables in different ways to give them different textures and tastes, being vegetarian has made me love independent food brands and support upcoming companies and being vegetarian has given me a sense of pride. I'm not sure how, but I feel good about myself being vegetarian and yes although I'm not really in it for the animals, it is great to look at a little lamb in the field and know that it won't be on my plate this evening. Do I miss meat? No. Do I have much variety in my diet? I eat differently nearly every single day, now there's so many fake meat products and supplements that you can have a vegetarian equivalent of almost anything. Being vegetarian is a personal decision and something that happened to be the best decision for me. The only way to find out is to try it for yourself or do what a lot of my friends and family do, have a 'Meat Free Monday' or the equivalent. I'm not going to rant on about the health benefits of being vegetarian because I'm pretty sure you all know them already, but I would challenge you to see if you could go a week or two without meat, because it really is easier than you think.
Are you vegetarian or know someone who is?