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April 08, 2008

Why am I vegetarian?

Many people ask me this question, particularly because it's a bit unusual in my culture. But my mother and father have both been vegetarian (my dad isn't anymore) and so it's always felt quite normal for me. They did not raise me vegetarian however and the choice has always been mine. I chose to become vegetarian myself when I was 21.

It happened whilst eating dinner at a friends house. My student friends at the time were very excited to be eating beef, something we could not usually afford. Seeing them so happy to be eating meat, made me realise I was not. I ate it anyway, not wanting to be a spoilsport, but didn't really like the taste, and felt awful afterwards. I got indigestion and gas and I realised I could no longer eat meat, even if it was cooked and served to me by a friend.

The decision coincided with my decision to travel to India to visit my Guru, and though not directly related I feel that being vegetarian reflects my spiritual commitment to a non violent life. I have been strictly vegetarian for three years now, and have been told that five years is easy, and after that people begin to crave meat agian. We'll see. I suspect the reason for such cravings is a lack of knowledge in our culture of how to cook wholesome satisfying meals without meat

In Ayurveda meat is not recomended as a daily food, but it does have it's place. Meat is traditionally used for treatment of diseases including luekemia and certain lung disorders and animal products are used in many medicinal formulas. This is, of course, a very contentious issue, and the decision is very personal. I suggest that meat is ok if it is chosen very carefully and eaten with great appreciation and without guilt.

If you don't actually want to be vegetarian, but agree that it is better for your body, mind and the planet just reducing your intake of meat to once a week will make a really big difference. Make sure you choose organic, free range, local and fresh sources of meat, and eat it with reverence for the animal and prayers for it's soul.

So that mentions a few of my reasons-spiritual, health and a general dislike of meat anyway. It's a very personal thing, and I'm not really sure words will explain it properly. But I'll continue this thread by expanding on those reasons and a few more individually and in a bit more detail.

11 comments:

Hima said...

I am a pure vegetarian and never found that to be a big deal. May be because we are born and brought up that way. Ofcourse I am Indian and in india being vegetarian is quite common. Hope you will continue being one with out getting tempted after 5 years ;-), if you prefer to.

Ramya's Mane Adige said...

I am vegetarian too! And like you said, its hard to remain one because of the very few options that we have outside.... But determination makes it all possible!! Good luck!

Arno said...

Hi Julia,

I have been vegetarian since I've been born (1955). Never even tried to eat meat.

If the taste of meat is the only reason to eat it, I don't care.

Food is for living.

Arno

Julia said...

Thankyou for all your support! I too truly believe that it is healthy and easy to be vegetarian for your whole life. But living outside of India I get told all the time how difficult it is. I've even had guests expect me to serve them meat even though I don't eat it!

It is getting more common, but many restaurants still do not have a vegetarian option. Some offer a vegetarian dish with mushrooms, which for some bizarre reason have been marketed here as "meat for vegetarians." Eggs are also very common. Which makes things difficult Ayurvedically speaking!

Ramya where do you live?

Arno said...

I'm from Holland. Vegetarianisme is not a problem here.
In the government we even have a "Party for the Animals", and they are doing a good job.

Pooja said...

Julia,
this is my first time visit to your blog , And I am impressed to read yout posts.
I appreciate your efforts to spread awareness of :Ayurvedic medicins around. I deeply believe in that ,being from India there is no wonder that I love the rich heritage of India and its basic method of all things , from counting the distance between starts to cure a disease like cancer .
Good luck for your great work , kudos to you girl :)

A-kay said...

I have been a vegetarian all my life as well - born and brought up that way - I don't know how it is to be on the other side and don't wish to either :) I tried eating eggs in my 20s and never developed a taste for them - psychological barrier, I would say!

A-kay said...

Born and raised as a vegetarian, it is one thing to remain so your entire life but having lived a part of your life experiencing the other side, it is a totally a different ball game to give it up. And in my opinion the latter is much more difficult.

Julia said...

I was raised fairly vegetarian (if you can be vegetarian by halves!) My mum never ate meat and my dad only cooked it very occasionally. I don't know how to cook meat myself. I would eat it at friends houses or in restaurants sometimes.

I never miss the taste of meat, or even eggs for that matter. I have no desire to eat them at all. The problem simply comes from living in a culture where many of my friends, and even my family-in-law do not understand what we eat, or indeed why.

Picnics, dinner parties, eating out and of course the great Australian institution of the BBQ are mostly quite excluding to vegetarians. Not sharing food with our community, nor cooking for my community makes me feel a lot less involved in my community. I feel like a fussy guest when people cook for me and people don't like my food when I cook for them.

So really, it's all about relationships.

Srividya said...

Most of the indians are vegetarians and some are turning towards non -veg because of the food served in restaurants and parties.Maybe you should try indian dishes because we have an array of foods that are cooked beautifully with herbs and healthy spices. we eat non veg once a week(this is the case in most indian homes) and eat and serve veg dishes all days of the week.In hinduism(which has stepped from brahmanism) has taught us to eat veg which helped us to be more humble and non violent.Ayurveda was and is our medicine we use daily. until our country was invaded and hence allopathy made way into our homes.even today, many of us use ayurvedic medicines for small ailments.I am happy and proud to have in our clan and welcome to the indian way of living!

Nikki & David Goldbeck said...

Here are our reasons:Please take a look at our “21 Reasons to Eat Like A Vegetarian” on HealthyHighways.com