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Why Become a Vegetarian?

Updated on January 25, 2018
DzyMsLizzy profile image

Vegetarian recipes, healthy foods, kitchen tips and shortcuts interest Liz, but she also likes desserts!

Becoming Vegetarian

As the famous Chinese philosopher Confucius said, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." If you were not raised as a vegetarian, making that choice at any time from your teens to mid-life can seem daunting. Why would you want to be a vegetarian in the first place? Read on!

There is much information available, and at your fingertips much more quickly than in the past, thanks to the Internet. I relied on books. Some bits have been further researched and changed over the years as the concept has become more mainstream. No more do we worry about "combining proteins" at a single meal to be sure of attaining the proper balance of the various types of protein the body needs. As long as you eat a diet that is balanced overall, it works out just fine.

I was raised in a household by Yankee parents--real meat-and-potatoes style food; I never liked it. I ate it only because as a child, I did not know there were other options. For example, if hamburgers had been served, and I got full, my well-meaning mother would advise me, "at least eat your burger; you don't have to eat the bun." Little did she know I would have preferred the reverse, and it actually would have been healthier.

We do not come into this world with a pre-programmed set of menus for healthy eating. Instead, we must eat what our parents serve us, at least at first. By the time we reach our teens, we have become more aware socially, and have been exposed to other families' ways of doing things, including meal choices. It is not something that happens overnight for most people.

Vegetables Come in a Nearly Infinite Variety


At A Tender Age...

For me, the connection was made a little younger. At about age 8, my mind made the connection between the adorable little baby lambs out in a field and the "leg of lamb" on the dinner table. I was instantly repulsed, and refused to ever eat lamb again. However, I was that age back in the 1950's (yep, I'm an old fart), and still under my parents' roof and directions, and I did not know there were any other options available, and had never heard the word 'vegetarian.' From that day forward, however, I was a vegetarian at heart.

Going forward, my negative associations with meat continued to build. I am highly sensitive, and very empathetic to other creatures. I cringe at the thought of an animal dying by any means, and by being led to slaughter even worse. Over the years I've cried buckets full over the very concept that animals are bred for the sole purpose of being killed to land on someone's dinner plate.

Knowing all this, I have a very weak stomach for any reminders. The next thing to go from my diet was hot dogs. One day, I was eating one at an aunt's barbeque, and bit into a scrap of bone. Ugh! A graphic reminder of the source of that food. It played on me all day; I ended up being sick to my stomach later on. I never ate hot dogs again.

A similar thing happened many years later with ground beef. End of beef for me. That incident was after I was married and had young children. It was the start of my research into other things to eat.

It is my hope that at least a few who read this hub may be similarly persuaded, yet I know everyone will react and decide as they will. It is not my intent to preach, merely to present the facts as I learned them, and for everyone to evaluate those facts according to their own values.

Animals are my friends, and I don't eat my friends.

— George Bernard Shaw

Vegetarian Myths Dispelled

In my reading, I learned all about the protein-balancing; e.g., "... be sure to serve rice and beans together to make a complementary dish containing complete protein." And as I pointed out in my introduction, this has been found to be unnecessary.

Furthermore, as further research into our dietary needs has shown, you should not overdose on protein, as most Americans do. It over-stresses the kidneys. Approximately 60% of your calories should come from complex carbohydrates to fuel your energy, and only about 10% to a maximum of 35% from proteins. Fats should make up less than 35%, and an even smaller ratio of simple carbohydrates and refined sugars.

I hear the anti-carbohydrate legions shouting in the distance: "Carbs are bad! Carbs make you fat!" Nonsense! What makes us fat is overindulgence. Complex carbohydtrates (this means potatoes, grains, and the like) are good carbs.

The only thing wrong with potatoes is what we put on them before eating (and I am as guilty as the uneducated on this one). Likewise bread, which is made from grains....the culprits are the toppings. Pasta is not evil. Spaghetti with a delicious Marinara sauce--yummy and healthy. With cream sauce? Uh, no, not so healthy. Simple carbohydrates, such as are found in fruits, juices, and refined sugars (think of that coffee with 2 spoonfuls or of candies) are the 'bad carbs." Limit your intake. Taken in balance with other foods and in moderation, carbs are not evil.

Feeling Healthy

One of the most fascinating facts I learned was that, contrary to popular belief and opinion, vegetarians are not the proverbial 'ninety-eight-pound-weaklings.' Rather, the only person ever with enough strength and stamina to win the grueling Ironman Triathlon held in Hawaii not just once, but 6 times, Dave Scott, was a vegetarian, in fact, a vegan! (He has since re-introduced fish, and rarely, chicken or turkey, but maintains a largely plant-based diet, and was a strict vegan for 30 years including the period in the 1980s during which he raced.)There are many others more recent who swear by a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Even the lethargic and slow-to-change U.S. Government has eliminated the heavily meat-based "food groups" upon which many of us were raised, to the newer "food pyramid" showing a healthier relationship of how to balance your food intake.

As I became more and more of a vegetarian, as my research continued, I found this to be true through personal experience as well. For 15 years, I was a very strict, label-reading vegetarian. I was in my mid forties, and at the healthiest, fittest and strongest point of my entire life.

I was then doing volunteer work with a local community theater, helping to construct scenery flats, running shows as stage manager (a lot of running around up and downstairs, etc.), and the ubiquitous post-rehearsal cast parties! I out-lasted the 20-somethings, could easily lift and carry full-sized scenery flats alone, and at the time, this involved taking them off the stage, out the side door, and down a flight of steps to the props room. I was the only female able to do that without struggle.

During this period, I was also rollerblading around 9 miles 2 or 3 times a week. I felt good! No, I felt fantastic!

(And no, this was not about the power of suggestion or 'mind over matter.' I discovered long ago that I am not subject to the placebo effect: if I were, those doggoned "Midol" tablets would have relieved me of the awful cramps I used to get every month in high school--a very impressionable and 'suggestible' age!) ;)

How Do You Define Vegetarian?

For some, it is a simple as eliminating meat and meat products. That is where I began, but I remained an Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian because I do love cheese and ice cream. To be sure, there are substitutes, but I never found them very satisfactory. You can make (and there are commercially-made) faux ice creams available. Tofutti® is one brand; Rice Dream™ is another. They are nothing like real ice cream, however--the Tofutti® comes closer, but the Rice Dream™ brand is more like a sorbet. That essential richness and creaminess is missing. (I will qualify that statement by saying it was true back in the 1980s. I'm sure progress has been made; I simply have not sampled the wares since then.)

For some folks, that is just fine--they don't like things that are "too rich." If rich foods bother your digestion, you are as well off to eliminate dairy. I used to drink milk as a kid--I no longer like the flavor. I now use the Rice Dream™ on my cereal--when I want it moist--I am much more likely to eat it dry as a snack.

An ovo-lacto vegetarian, such as myself (sometimes stated the other way around, 'lacto-ovo') eats dairy, eggs and honey. Some go to just one side of that equation, eschewing eggs, but not dairy, or vice versa.

A vegan on the other hand, eats nothing of animal origin.

As an ovo-lacto vegetarian, it annoys the dickens out of me, (and any other type of vegetarian), when folks "kindly offer" to fix us chicken instead of beef at their barbeque. Sorry, folks, but the last time I checked, chicken and fish were not counted among grains, vegetables and fruits. Vegetarians of any ilk simply do not eat animals of any classification. It can be phrased as, "We don't eat anything that once had a face."

Why Would Anyone Choose to be A Vegetarian?

There are probably as many reasons as there are vegetarians.

  • There are those who become vegetarian for health reasons, especially those wishing to lower their cholesterol numbers: the body needs some cholesterol, but it manufactures its own. There is no need to have it in the diet. Only animal products contain cholesterol. There is none in any fruit, vegetable or grain.
  • Some become vegetarian for ecological reasons. Did you know that the methane emanating from factory farms causes more pollution and so-called "greenhouse gases" than all the cars on the roads?
  • Animal rights is another major reason people choose to go vegetarian. A cow is a mammal, just like us. She does not produce milk unless she is bred. That milk is supposed to be for the calf. It does not work that way. Female calves may be allowed to nurse for a while, then they are shipped off to become breeding stock and continue the milk production. Male calves have no life at all. They are stripped from their mothers as young as 3 days, and spend a very short life confined in a crate too small for them to even turn around, so their muscles do not develop. They are fed milk, but not from their mother. They are then slaughtered and sold as "veal."
  • There is the ethical/philosophical angle. This was where I came in. Knowing that no matter what, I do not have it in me to kill any animal myself, I considered it a cop-out to have the process "santitized" as it were by asking someone else to do the dirty work for me so I could buy a nice neat package of meat at the grocery store.

Those of us who fit in the latter box also avoid using any animal products or by-products in other areas of our lives. For example, we buy shoes crafted from man-made materials; and there are vegans who will not eat honey because they disagree with the process of smoking out the bees to obtain the honey.

As with any belief, it is possible to find extremists as well as moderates and liberals. We vegetarians are no different from any other humans in that respect. Some wear hippie-style sandals and meditate; some wear business suits and scale the corporate ladder; others hold blue-collar jobs. You cannot pick a vegetarian out of the crowd by appearance anymore than you can a jewel thief.

Cautionary Statement

 The next couple of sections get fairly graphic, but they do contain additional important facts.

I'm just giving  you a heads-up, so you will be prepared.

The Real Health Costs of a Meat-Based Diet

The main health benefit of a plant-based diet stems from the fact that we are not physiologically designed to eat and digest meat. "What???!!!" I hear some folks saying! But look at our canine teeth! Bah! Compare human 'canines' on a proportion-adjusted basis to the canines of a lion,wolf, or even your pet cat or dog. Ours are puny by comparison.

We have more molars in our mouths than the true meat-eaters. Molars are designed for grinding foods such as nuts, grains and seeds. The meat-eaters tend not to chew their food very much, but "wolf" it down in chunks--yes, that is exactly where the expression, "wolfing your food" comes from! Humans who try this often find themselves the subject of newspaper articles after having to be rescued from choking on hunks of steak....if they are lucky...or they may find themselves making a premature application at the pearly gates.

Our intestines are very long...about 25 feet, on average, up to about 35 feet. The referenced chart at the start of this sentence states that as being approximately 10 times our height; however, I think they used some kind of fuzzy math. If you take an average height to be about 5'5", then that's only about 6 times the height of a person. In any case, much longer than in the carnivores. This is to allow the roughage in plant matter to be fully broken down and all the nutrients absorbed. Contrast this to an animal designed for meat-eating, such as a cat, and their intestines are only about twice their body length, with the large intestine being extremely short, basically only serving as a 'holding cell' for waste matter.

This is an important distinction. Meat that sits around for any length of time starts to rot very quidkly. This creates a buildup of "bad things" ranging from gases to bacteria. In the human, due to the length of our innards, this "stuff" sits around for a day or so, sometimes longer depending on an individual's digestive process. The longer it sits in the colon, the more of the "bad stuff" is produced. It is this overlong 'storage' that after a period of years predisposes us to ills such as colon cancer, which rarely occurs in the true meat-eaters.

Definition of an Animal Designed to Eat Meat

Many people prefer not to give up meat, stating, "I'm a carnivore!" To each his own, but that is not really true for any human. Here is how the 'designed to be' carnivores eat:

  • They chase down their prey/meal over great distances on their own legs, and often miss making a kill, and may go hungry for days at a time until they succeed. They do not ride in or on any kind of transportation.
  • Carnivores use their own claws and teeth to make the kill. The do not use artificial weapons or tools of any kind.
  • They pounce upon their prey, and commence eating at once, while the body is still warm. They do not spit out things such as fur and bones; in fact, they crunch the bones to eat the marrow from the centers.
  • They do not cook their meat or slather it in cooked or prepared sauces and condiments.
  • Born carnivores chase down wild prey; they do not domesticate the animals and raise them on purpose-built farms.

If and when any person claiming "I'm a carnivore" can meet each and every one of these definitions, I'll grant you the right to make such a claim. However, even the earliest humans, upon discovering meat-eating (probably as a result of lack of plant food in winter), used tools and weapons of some kind to assist the kill, and early on learned to cook the catch.

Meat-eating, for humans, is an acquired taste, not one we were meant to have by design. Some will ask, "What about building muscle?" Protein builds muscles. Any protein. Protein and exercise, as in use your muscles! You do not need to eat muscles to build muscles.

It is my personal opinion that those who insist on eating meat should be made to tour a slaughterhouse and packing plant, but that's not going to happen, so we must rely on a gentler education for those interested in learning.


The next most common question vegetarians are asked after the protein issue is usually, "..but what about variety? Don't you get tired of eating the same things all the time?" Well, frankly, no. But it is a legitamate question to pose of meat-eaters. How many different kinds of meat are there? Counting poultry, (which includes chicken, turkey, duck and goose), you then have beef, fish, pork, lamb, venison, and.. and.... umm... let's see....that's about it, without going into items most folks never taste, such as bear, escargot, frog legs, rabbit, (awwww..poor little bunnies!)... and that about covers it. Even goose, duck, bear and venison are not common items on most peoples' menus.

Now, let's see: how many fruits, vegetables, and grains can you name? Right. Quite a few more. Variety is not a problem.

You may or may not agree with me, you may or may not decide to become a vegetarian. That is up to you. I only ask that you keep an open mind. Try it out for a month or so, if you feel so moved.

There are a lot of delicious recipes available, from simple 'comfort' foods to gourmet feasts. My family had a solid rule: try it before you knock it. You might find something you like.

© 2010 Liz Elias


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  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    6 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello poetryman6969--

    Thank you for stopping by. I'm going on the premise that the majority of your comment is sarcastic/satirical, in which case it is funny.

  • poetryman6969 profile image


    6 years ago

    I am a member of the Pork Protectorate and a citizen of the People's Republic of Bacon!

    That being said, there are whole countries and whole civilizations that have thrived eating only vegetables and drinking water so clearly we could too.

    I probably won't give up meat until the government reveals that they secretly replaced all meat protein with texturized insect carcasses. I am thinking that will be announced right before the 2016 elections. I have a feeling people don't believe me when I say believe the government will or perhaps already has done this. But I am serious. Once you wrap your head around the notion that our government has in the past done things that people didn't want "for our own good" the conclusion that they will replace meat with bugs is actually inescapable. Fewer and fewer politicians believe that liberty and freedom are good ideas. Government knows best!

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    6 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, peachpurple,

    That is true, and I am one such. I went vegetarian back in about 1985, and have not looked back. Even the smell of meat cooking nauseates me now.

  • peachpurple profile image


    6 years ago from Home Sweet Home

    not everyone can become a real vegetarian unless they are confidence not to touch meat for the rest of his life

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    6 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, Titia,

    Thank you for your well-thought out comment. You do raise many valid points, and I will attempt to address them all.

    First, I must also point out that I agree that it is the demand that drives the industry, and I made the mistake of thinking it would be an obvious connection that if the demand were reduced or eliminated, it would also eliminate the practice of breeding and keeping animals for food. Hence, no need for pastures and the keeping of large numbers of animals in confined spaces.

    As for the ‘baby lambs growing up,' that is very true; but the same point applies, and what sickened me as a child was the realization that those baby lambs were not going to be allowed to grow up, but would be slaughtered for the dinner table as babies.

    Your statement that vegetarians believe “all animals should be kept alive” doesn’t quite mesh with what we actually believe. We believe that all animals should be allowed to live AS NATURE INTENDED, and not domesticated and artificially bred to excessive numbers that would not be sustainable in nature, processed in factory farms, and mistreated and abused, which does happen frequently in those institutions. Again, this would negate the need for pastures, confinement, and eliminate ‘danger’ from adult animals.

    If the animals now bred for the food industry were allowed to remain wild as they always used to be, then there would be no worries about “adult rams being dangerous” because the majority of people would not come into contact with them. Natural selection would rule, as it did for eons before humans came along and started mucking about with everything.

    I do realize full well the reasons for eschewing dairy and eggs, and it IS on my agenda to wean these items out of my diet as well. And I maintain all my points in the section entitled, “The Real Health Costs of a Meat-Based Diet.” Even if you raise and slaughter your own animals, thereby eliminating the maltreatment of them while they were alive, and the bio-chemical interference, these points still apply.

    You raise a very valid point about the big agri-business bio-engineering industry, and the mess they have made of everything in the name of profit. That, unfortunately, is the rule rather than the exception with most big corporations and all products nowadays; profit before people; profit before the environment; profit no matter the cost to anything else. That also disgusts me.

    The current battle is over GMO crops and seeds, and the one major corporation behind that abominable practice, namely, Monsanto, whose artificially engineered foods have been banned in many countries, but still are accepted here in the USA. That sickens and angers me, that they have bought off our governmental process to that extent.

    But imagine if the tables were turned, and it were humans who were being bred for food. Not such an easily dismissed idea then, is it? Animals do know fear and stress, and the way they are killed in the industry insures plenty of that; their bodies are flooded with adrenaline, the ‘fight or flight’ hormone, which, in turn, we eat when consuming the carcass. That is not healthy, either.

    You wrote, “I suppose you've never seen an animal die of natural cause (old age). I can asure you, it's not at all a pretty sight to see a sheep grow old and getting arthritis in her joints, or getting sick and die of pneumonia or some other disease.” That is another by-product of mankind’s interference in the natural order of things. In the wild, the sick, weak and elderly are culled out by natural predators. (And mind you, I don’t like that picture, either.)

    As far as ‘dying from natural causes,’ ??? It happens to all of us That’s the one thing about life; you don’t get out of it alive. But I’d rather let nature take its course, and leave the animals as they were meant to be in the first place, so they can live and die in relative peace and in natural numbers.

    Thank you again for taking the time to express your thoughts and leave such a well-presented comment.

  • Titia profile image

    Titia Geertman 

    6 years ago from Waterlandkerkje - The Netherlands

    Everytime I read about why people choose to be a vegetarian, I realize how little those people know about animal behaviour. The simple fact is that if people should not eat meat anymore, they also should not breed animals anymore. You wrote: "At about age 8, my mind made the connection between the adorable little baby lambs out in a field and the "leg of lamb" on the dinner table."

    Yes, lambs are adorable, but do you realize that those adorable lambs grow into adult ewes or rams. Adult rams are far from adorable, they can become quite dangerous and they can easily break your legs. Sheep are pack animals and in a pack of animals there's a strong pecking order. Rams will constantly fight their way to the top. They will injure and eventually kill each other when held with too many in restricted areas such as pastures.

    You do eat cheese and eggs, but do you realize that cheese is made of milk and in order to have milk, a cow or goat has to be bred every year or she won't give any milk at all. So the question is, what should we do with her yearly offspring? Cows and goats are pack animals too, same as sheep and you'll run into the same problem of where to keep all that offspring and how to feed them.

    I suppose you've never seen an animal die of natural cause (old age). I can asure you, it's not at all a pretty sight to see a sheep grow old and getting arthritis in her joints, or getting sick and die of pneumonia or some other disease.

    What's gone wrong in the world was the introduction of the bio-industry. Breeding stock that won't see a glimps of daylight in their short life and don't know what grass looks or taste like. Newborn lambs that are fatted to 20 kilos within 6 weeks. It's gone so far that cows and sheep can't deliver their offspring by themselves anymore. That's sickening, but kept going by people who demand the lowest price for their meat.

    If you make sure your cheese and eggs are from biological kept animals there's nothing wrong, but if not, than you too are one who keeps the bio-industry alive.

    There's nothing wrong at all with keeping and breeding animals and slaughtering and eating the surplus of a healthy kept life stock.

    I've been breeding a very old and very rare Dutch sheep breed called Drenthen Heath sheep for over 30 years now. I do slaughter and eat my own sheep, because I know I gave them a good life and I didn't stuff them with hormones and other rubbish. I never slaughter a lamb before it's 1,5 years old.

    Mind you, I'm not against vegetarians or vegans, but I do oppose to their argument that all animals should be kept alive.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    6 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, Sunshine625,

    I applaud your daughters, but I also know what you mean. Everyone has to do what feels right for them.

    I know, in my heart of hearts, that eating animal products of any kind is unhealthy, but I was only able to give up meat. Inasmuch as I know and understand the horrors behind dairy and egg production, and realize that cheese and ice cream are loaded with fats and cholesterol my body does not need, I am still struggling to try to give up those things.

    Many thanks for your thoughtful comment.

  • Sunshine625 profile image

    Linda Bilyeu 

    6 years ago from Orlando, FL

    My daughters became vegetarians this past year. They would agree with many of your points. They are trying to convert me, but it's a no-go. I like chicken too much to give it up. My oldest daughter doesn't even eat seafood...that's a no-go, I like tuna too much.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    6 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, ArtDiva,

    Thanks so very much for your comments and the share. I'm glad you found the article useful and enlightening.

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    "I am highly sensitive, and very empathetic to other creatures. I cringe at the thought of an animal dying by any means..." and how animals raised as "food" is beyond comprehension. What's going on in other countries is even more cruel, barbaric. I am close to going vegan myself, and know more and more friends going in the same direction. Good article! Re-post to increase awareness.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    7 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello Silva Hayes ,

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience. I have no doubt that your balk caused a bit more than raised eyebrows with that upbringing. I'm glad you were able to stick to your conscience, and are the healthier for it.

    Many thanks for the votes!

  • Silva Hayes profile image

    Silva Hayes 

    7 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

    Our stories are eerily similar! I began to balk over eating meat when I was about 8. I was born and raised in Texas and my dad was a cattleman, so you can imagine the trouble my attitude caused me. I became a ovo-lacto vegetarian in my late teens and have stayed healthy and strong so far (now 73)! Voted Up and useful. Well-written article.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    7 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello suziecat7,

    Thank you very much for sharing your experience. I'm delighted you liked the article. It's good that you are discovering the health benefits of a vegetarian diet. Even the mainstream medical profession is beginning to learn: my husband's cardiologist stunned us by suggesting he go to a vegan diet! While he eats far, far less meat than he used to when we met, I know that isn't going to happen; I don't even think I can manage it myself!

    Thanks very much for the compliment, vote and share!

  • suziecat7 profile image


    7 years ago from Asheville, NC

    Great Hub. I haven't eaten red meat for many many years and I am trying to wean myself off of poultry. Thanks for writing this very important Hub. Voted up and shared.

  • B. Leekley profile image

    Brian Leekley 

    8 years ago from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA

    Thanks much, DzyMsLizzy, for replying to my questions. I have long been convinced of the many advantages of a vegetarian, vegan, or very little meat diet, but I've been too weak-willed to eat healthy consistently. I can do it on my own but have difficulty saying no to an invitation to share a meaty, cheesy meal or snack.

    I think another vegan is ex-President Clinton.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    8 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, B.Leekley,

    Thank you so much for leaving such a well-thought-through comment. I do not have a blog on the subject; I'm hard-pressed enough to keep up with my writing here. ;-)

    I’ll try to address your points in order:

    1) I would not call a ‘typical’ hamburger bun especially healthy, either, but you must remember, this was back in the 1950’s when the word and concept of being “vegetarian” was most certainly not mainstream, and before we (meaning the bulk of society) really knew better. I was only making that comparison as relative to the meat patty itself.

    2) I did not do the math in question--math is my nemesis. I picked up numbers elsewhere, and there were a few assorted facts listed. It’s quite possible that I misread a number or transposed something from one line of a chart to another. I’ll double-check on that and fix it; thanks for pointing out the discrepancy.

    3) The other animals that are “…vegetarian, but eat meat in moderation…” cannot really be compared to human animals on that type of basis; they are designed for that diet, and are called “opportunistic omnivores.”

    Vegetarian is a human term applied to humans, and it does indicate a choice. Other animals that eat exclusively vegetable and grain matter are called “herbivores.”

    In human terms, someone who eats, say, only (or largely) fish, is called a ‘pescatarian,’ while a ‘vegetarian’ comes in differing stripes, from' lacto-vegetarians' (who also eat dairy); 'lacto-ovo' vegetarians (who eat both dairy and eggs), and 'vegans,'( who eat no foods at all of animal origin).

    4). I became a vegetarian for ethical reasons--knowing I do not have it in me to take an animal’s life, I found it hypocritical to ask someone else (i.e. the meat industry) to do it for me.

    In addition to my personal ethics, there are many other reasons behind my own choice, and as people, we all have the right to our own choices. I did not write this article to try and convert anyone against their will; only to provide basic information, and in the hope that at least a few would find it worthy of a trial.

    5) You are right--we are all individuals, and as such, we each live in our own bodies, and our metabolism works at differing rates in each of us. Some can eat like the proverbial pig and stay skinny as a rail; others are on perpetual “diets” of one sort or another, and seem to never lose an ounce, and even gain weight. We all have to choose what is right for ourselves.

    Thank you again for your comment and the votes.

  • B. Leekley profile image

    Brian Leekley 

    8 years ago from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA

    Up, Useful, and Interesting. There is much to discuss, but it is long past my bedtime. Maybe I can fit in commenting some more tomorrow or soon. Or do you have a vegetarian blog? For starters:

    * I don't agree that a typical hamburger bun is healthy. I find them hard to digest. Whole grain breads are healthier.

    * I don't get the math of "23 feet, or approximately 10 times our height." Most humans are between 5 and 6 feet tall. 10 times 5 feet is 50 feet, and 23 feet is less than half of that. One-tenth of 23 is 2.3 feet, which is shorter than all but babies. Your point is still correct that humans have long intestines.

    *Some animals are mainly vegetarian but eat meat in moderation, such as black bears and chimpanzees.Some humans are mainly vegetarian but eat a little bit of fish or other meat. I have a friend, for instance, on the Swank diet.

    * I am not 100% vegetarian for ethical reasons -- I don't want to pretend to myself that I am a holier animal than a tiger, chimp, gorilla, chicken, robin, weasel, bear, frog, wasp, etc. -- and because I have a pact with my wife that I will eat what is set before me if she prepares it or if we are dinner guests -- and because I am easily swayed by temptation.

    * A friend on a new diet (I forget its name) tells me that quantity eaten, whether of meat, pasta, bread, or whatever, is not the only factor in getting overweight. For biological reasons, the same moderate diet eaten as meals combined with between meal snacks will cause more added pounds and fat than the same diet eaten with about 5 hours from breakfast to lunch and from lunch to supper and longer from supper to breakfast and no snacks.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    8 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, Louisa Rogers,

    Thanks very much for your input and praise of my article. It cheers me that the message is getting out, however gradually, and I’m always pleased to meet fellow vegetarians. It seems I’ve met more of them here on Hub Pages than anywhere else. My elder daughter still follows the path; her sister does not--not strictly, anyway.

    It is interesting to note that even the medical profession is beginning to catch up, albeit slowly. My husband’s cardiologist suggested that he should go vegan! I was at once stunned and delighted that such advice should come from a traditional Western-medicine practitioner. While I have swayed him to some extent, and he eats far less meat than he used to, I still haven’t made him fully vegetarian. And, as much as I understand the reasons for doing so, even I don’t think I can make it to vegan. For one thing, it is just very difficult and more expensive to buy healthy food. Since hubby got put on an extremely low-salt diet (limit of 1500 mg per day!), I’ve been finding it very much more costly to fix things from scratch, and on a fixed income, that’s tough.

    I do remember the Vegetarian Epicure cookbooks…I think I even had one. ;-) Thank you again for your contribution, and for the votes!

  • Louisa Rogers profile image

    Louisa Rogers 

    8 years ago from Eureka, California and Guanajuato, Mexico

    Hi Dyz,

    You were preaching to the choir here, as I haven't eaten meat in what, 30 years? One of my main reasons was that it disturbed me that cattle in America were better fed than many people in Africa. That was before I knew cattle were fed hormones! Yuk. In the early days I ate a lot of dairy (remember The Vegetarian Epicure cookbooks?), which was a major ingredient in early-vegetarian recipes back in the 70s. After two members of my family died from pancreatic cancer, I read The China Study and decided animal fats to cut way back on animal fats in general.

    I'm impressed with how you went about the topic. This was really well-done, clear, organized, and non-inflammatory. Voted up and useful.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    8 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, beingwell,

    Thanks very much for the vote and the share. I understand everyone needs to make their own choices, and this can be a tough one for some. For me, it was an easy choice. Your input is appreciated.

  • beingwell profile image


    8 years ago from Bangkok

    Voted up and shared. I'm not a vegetarian; but I do love my vegetables. I don't think I can be satisfied with the other foods, though.. you know. :)

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    8 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, carozy,

    Thanks very much for your comment--I'm glad you found the article to be useful, and thanks, too, for the vote!

  • carozy profile image


    8 years ago from San Francisco

    Very thorough article and a good intro for those looking to change their diet. Voted up.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    8 years ago from Oakley, CA

    @ unknown spy—Thank you for your comment—I’m pleased the article was able to provide you with new information.

    @ prettynutjob30—I’m glad you enjoyed this hub. Trying to go “cold turkey” (you’ll pardon the expression) off of any habit, whether it’s meat-eating or smoking is never easy, and with a vegetarian diet, probably easiest done in stages. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    @ Melovy—Thank you; I’m happy you liked my style with the hub. I know exactly what you mean about feeling like you’d be eating a pet. In fact, that reminds me of a bumper sticker I’ve seen, “Why do we keep some animals we call ‘pets’ and eat other animals we call ‘dinner?’ “

    I’m glad to have been able to provide a fresh perspective for you on why humans are not designed to be meat-eaters. Thanks so much for sharing your story.

    @ rajan jolly—Thank you for the compliments. Vegetarians really are healthier; in fact, my husband’s cardiologist recently recommended that he go to a vegan diet, so the word is getting out, even within the slow-to-change community of Western medicine.

  • unknown spy profile image

    Life Under Construction 

    8 years ago from Neverland

    wow. i now go to vegie and fruits! hope to eat more fresh than meat :)

  • prettynutjob30 profile image


    8 years ago from From the land of Chocolate Chips,and all other things sweet.

    Great hub I have been trying to slowly ween myself off all types of meat for a while now. At least now I just eat chicken and turkey but hopefully soon I can find other alternatives to those as well.

  • Melovy profile image

    Yvonne Spence 

    8 years ago from UK

    Ah DizyMsLizzy, I enjoyed reading this in your forthright manner! I became a vegetarian for very similar reasons to you and lamb was also the first meat I couldn't stomach. We had sheep, and sometimes had lambs that needed hand feeding. To have eaten would have felt to me like eating my cat.

    I loved your description of why humans are not born carnivores - I have never seen that explanation before, but it makes so much sense!

  • rajan jolly profile image

    Rajan Singh Jolly 

    8 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

    Fantastic hub. Wonderfully written. I'm going the vegetarian way, though I've never been a big meat eater.

    Voting this up, useful and awesome. Sharing it too.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    8 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, kartika damon,

    Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving your comment. You are so right about the meat industry. It is sickening, indeed. And what many don't know or won't admit is that far more pollution comes from the methane produced at feed lots and dairy farms than from all the vehicles combined. I appreciate your feedback, and I'm pleased you enjoyed the article.

  • kartika damon profile image

    kartika damon 

    8 years ago from Fairfield, Iowa

    Wonderful hub! For years I have been happy to go without red meat. Now I have been weaning off of poultry as well - I prefer a diet free of animal flesh - the meat industry is filthy and inhumane and I think a plant based diet is healthier and better for planet - thumbs up!

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    9 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello Mina,

    Thank you very much for your thoughtful comment. You are correct in saying that the world would be healthier if people did not insist on raising animals for slaughter. The pollution from those operations makes vehicle exhaust pale in comparison.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    This info was very informative. I have been a vegetarian all my life and my kids are vegetarians, not vegan though. I wish more people would go vegetarian and then our world would be so much healthier. They would make vegetarian fast food and restaurants. Although I prefer to cook my own food but time does not allow me to. I wish more people would consider vegetarianism. It not only makes u healthy but feel better as a person for not killing an animal.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    9 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, Daisy Mariposa--

    Thanks so much for your kind comments. Have you tried tofu scramble as a scrambled egg substitute? (Some stores even sell a spice packet by that name); it's very quick and easy. Use soft, firm or medium tofu, (per your own preference), crumble it to mimic the size and texture of scrambled eggs, and add whatever seasonings you like.

    Cheers and good health to you!

  • Daisy Mariposa profile image

    Daisy Mariposa 

    9 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)


    I sought out some of your Hubs after you commented in a few of mine today. I'm so glad I found this article! I'm a Vegetarian, and my boyfriend is a Vegan. I eat food containing milk, yogurt, or cheese, and I eat food containing eggs. I can't buy eggs and make scrambled eggs or an omelet at home -- my boyfriend can't stand the smell of eggs frying.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    10 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hi, katiem2,

    Thanks for your insightful comments. I have heard of that movie, and thanks, but no thanks: I don't need to watch it and throw up. ;-)

    My reading on the matter (I know very well where meat comes from, thank you)...and my own imagination are sufficient feel-bad and vomit triggers. ;-)

    It's nice to meet other fellow-vegetarians and veggie-minded folk on HP.

  • katiem2 profile image

    Katie McMurray 

    10 years ago from Ohio

    A very nice story as to your journey. I've been told I was born a vegetarian. I've always found the thought of eating meat very upsetting. Luckily I was allowed to be vegetarian.

    Like you've outlined here today, if people would give it a little thought most people would convert.

    A very close friend of mine wanted to become a vegetarian, primarily for (admittedly) vain reasons. I have always been much thinner than her, healthier than her and look much younger than her. In time she grew to realize being a vegetarian has many benefits.

    Anyway she asked me to watch fast food nation with her. I cried, she cried, and I had to leave to throw up. I suggest you watch this movie. Once you realize where that meat comes from, you will never want to eat it again.

    I'm happy for you as I know a raw vegan diet is the best most healthy way to live. Just saying! :) Katie

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    10 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Thanks, mannyrolando! I know what you mean. The love of animals was my initial impetus for this change, and the more I learned, the more all the other reasons came into play as well.

  • mannyrolando profile image


    10 years ago

    This has got to be one the best hubs I have read on hubpages! I wish I had written it. Thanks for sharing, I became a vegetarian 4 months ago because I refuse to participate in what those poor creatures go though so that we can eat them! My goal is to eventually become a vegan! Thanks again!

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    10 years ago from Oakley, CA

    @ erthfrend,

    Thanks for your comments. I so agree with you..I, too, cry over the plight of the animals..and many times, if I see one of those ads or programs coming on, I just cannot watch. The images are already seared into my mind.


    Thanks so much for stopping by. I'm glad you've had a positive experience. Those medications the docs love to push are truly poison.

  • ReuVera profile image


    10 years ago from USA

    I have to come back and read it more attentively, I bookmarked it. For now, just a small note. I became vegetarian only for one reason- to check how it will influence my cholesterol. So, after my last cholesterol check the results are amazing- my bad cholesterol significantly went low and my good cholesterol went up! Without any harmful medication! Was worth it!

  • erthfrend profile image


    10 years ago from Florida

    What a GREAT HUB!!! So very informative and well written! I am a fellow vegetarian and am positive it is the right choice for all concerned. Factory farming today is a total crime and its getting worse and worse. Absolutely no concern whatsoever for the animals' wellbeing. I cry watching videos of what goes on there and the images never leave my mind. If someone sees what the animal went through before it ends up on their plate, I dont see how they can eat it. And on my end, I am full of energy and very healthy so I am all for a vegetarian diet! Thanks so much for sharing this very important hub!

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    10 years ago from Oakley, CA

    LOL Gus--

    cute! Thanks for stopping by!

  • GusTheRedneck profile image

    Gustave Kilthau 

    10 years ago from USA

    Hi Dyz - That is an entertaining and informative article. I concluded that vegetarians, Presbyterians, and veterinarians all share one attribute - some of them like onions.

    Gus :-)~


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