I find that when people ask I don't have a really solid answer as to why.
Health reasons? Sure. My cholesterol is too high.
Animal reasons? Absolutely. I've come to disdain the idea of testing on animals. And factory farming should be outlawed.
Environmental reasons? In my research before and after going veg, I was surprised to find out how much factory farming contributes to the degradation of our environment in so many different ways.
Does that mean I think everyone should give up meat? No. I support my family in Michigan as hunters. Because they use everything they can from the animal. Meat, hide, bones.
Do I think we should put ranchers and farmers out of business? No, not the real ones. I think it would be great if we could become communities that buy local. Local meat, fruits and vegetable. I can get behind a sustainable community.
As we move into the holiday season, I have become conflicted. About turkey. I've read that some vegetarians eat meats on special occasions. But I don't know if I can. The thought of chewing meat turns my stomach.
Today at lunch I saw yams in the cafeteria options. Yum! I'll have those!! I thought. Then I saw the marshmallows. Which have gelatin in them. Which is made from animal bones.
Oh, just go ahead, I told myself. But, I can't. Because I know.
I know now that marshmallows have gelatin, that has . . . well, you get my drift. I tried to comfort myself as I waited in line, Well, I don't eat many marshmallow things anyway. And then it hit me. Like a lightening bolt.
My Brach's Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Easter Bunnies.
Vegetarianism almost lost me right on the spot.
I love these chocolate covered marshmallow bunnies. I live for these marshmallow bunnies. I eat as many as I can from when they hit the shelf after Valentine's Day until the day-after-Easter sales. Over the years I've written about them on my blogs many times. (Dang, I took the time to search for some of these old posts and now Vox won't let me link them.)
I mean, I pulled my hand up to my heart when I made the realization. No more chocolate covered marshmallows for me. Needless to say, if I have any addictions, Brach's Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Rabbits are it!
But I can't have them anymore. Because I know.
Mom and I talked about it over lunch. About how there are going to be times when being a vegetarian is going to be a challenge. But when I think about it, choosing not to eat something when I "know" is all about my moral integrity and being true to myself.
So I may not have a firm answer to give the world about why I am a vegetarian. But I am firm within myself to remain one.