Why I’m Not A Vegetarian

I’m sorry, everyone… but I must avoid the meat (and the bones and the toxins) of animals so that I can live the life I was meant to live. It’s not an easy choice — but I know it’s the right choice.

I’ve been a vegetarian for over twenty years now, and I can’t wait for anyone interested in starting a new vegetarian diet to read this article. My name is Sam, and I’m a certified nutritional therapist who has been a vegetarian since 1990. This is because as a child, I was the second-oldest vegetarian in my entire school, and I was the only vegan. I remember as if it were yesterday, walking through the school cafeteria with my mother, who was the class’ designated vegetarian, and looking down to my lunch: the first bite I could imagine eating was my mother’s chicken liver mousse sandwich. I was a teenager then and knew nothing about vegetarianism. I had read enough books to become familiar with the concept, but even then it was not easy. I grew up with a family of vegetarian and vegan friends, and I remember going to family parties where we could all gather to celebrate food and be together. We would all go to vegetarian restaurants like Cafe du Jour , a small, authentic cafe that was near our house, and then sit there until the food disappeared and we would all go back to our homes. I couldn’t wait to get home. I was also lucky enough to have a vegetarian mentor while I was a teenager, who did just about everything I asked of him.

I remember feeling a little sick after learning the meat in my lunch was from the same pigs I was raised on my mother’s farm.

I didn’t know it at the time, but it was one of the things I had to get used to: the smell, the taste, and how it was cooked.

However, like most teenagers in 1988, I didn’t really understand that these foods could be harmful.

The smell was strong and almost nauseating, like a dead body or animal flesh. I used to gag whenever I ate it. The taste was extremely unpleasant, and I had some very uncomfortable stomachaches from it. I know it makes you squeamish to even talk about it, but that is all that I have to say about the taste.

I never liked to think of myself as eating meat, but that was just a childish way of thinking — something I never had to deal with.

My vegetarian diet got me to the point that I was able to say that I was not a vegan. I never ate another piece of meat, nor did I ever think about eating meat again, even when I moved back into my parents’ house some years later.

One thing I always thought I would never do again was eat meat. When I was 19, I went to Germany on a fellowship to study there. I wanted to see myself in Berlin and felt that eating meat would give people the wrong impression about me. I thought that if I ate meat and took it to an out of town restaurant, people would be more willing to hear and learn more about my story. I really thought that by eating meat, I would be eating an “eating animal sacrifice” kind of thing.

I didn’t think much of this plan at first, but then something bizarre happened. After spending two nights in a rural town, eating my vegetarian dinner along with a handful of vegetables (I was quite thin at the time, so I had to consume a lot), I felt a sense of liberation. I didn’t even feel the hunger I remembered feeling when I was younger. I would later ask my hosts if we could have dinner with meat. They refused and told me it wasn’t what I would have wanted. I asked them why, and they told me their children ate meat. They felt that I had no right to say that I wasn’t okay with that.

While I was still in Germany I met my first non-vegetarian and then later my first meat eater. I was stunned that they would be so shocked by what I ate. I remember trying to explain why eating meat was wrong to her at first. I told her that I ate meat because my mother cooked it and I was raised on it, because I was always told it was something healthy and that there were no dangers in eating it — everything she knew about eating vegetarian diets, I knew from my mom. She was upset and disappointed in me and said I should just stop because I wouldn’t give up the feeling that I was eating what everyone said was healthy.