13 Reasons Why I am No Longer a Vegetarian...
Vegan Lifestyle Articles From All-Creatures.org

Vegan lifestyle articles that discuss ways of living in peace with humans, animals, and the environment.


FROM

Marla Rose, VeganStreet.com
January 2015

Please donít let anyone pressure you into staying vegetarian. As you can see, so much of my vegetarianism was fueled by unexamined myths, habituated behaviors, a desire to please others and self-sabotage. I look back at that vegetarian I used to be and I know that I intended to do the right thing, I just didnít know any better. I was so naÔve. Donít be like me; donít waste 12 long years as a vegetarian when you can evolve and move on to the next logical step toward manifesting your convictions about kindness.

Marla Rose

After many years of being a vegetarian, I can no longer claim to be one. Before you judge me, please read my story.

I grew up as a typical animal-loving kid and as soon as I was a teenager and put two-and-two together, I finally gave up meat and became a vegetarian. I felt righteous! I felt virtuous! I had found my way!

For most of those 12 years, I was happy and content. I would bring my egg salad sandwiches to work for lunch and order the vegetarian option when I went out with friends. No chicken wings for this animal lover. Over time, though, I started to not feel as passionate about being a vegetarian. The more I thought about it, the less that it meant anything to me. I felt like I was just going through the motions. Eventually, I decided to do the very thing no one I was close to would ever imagine possible. I became an ex-vegetarian. It was a process with some ups-and-downs, partially because my self-identity had become so entwined with my vegetarianism, but eventually, I gave it up for good. Today, I have to say, Iíve never felt better: body, mind and spirit.

As a former vegetarian, I feel that I am uniquely qualified to speak to the elephant in the room (actually a whole herd of Ďem) about vegetarianism, having been one for so long. I hope my words here help anyone else who is conflicted about being a vegetarian. Maybe some of you have also struggled with vegetarianism? Here are some reasons why today I am a proud former vegetarian.

1. Being a vegetarian was not convenient. The harm and destruction of eggs and dairy became an inconvenient truth that was increasingly difficult to ignore. The more I learned, the less mollifying the justifications became, which made excuses very inconvenient.

2. I felt weak when I was a vegetarian. Feeling controlled by the cruel dairy and egg industries did not exactly instill a sense of self-empowerment within me.

3. I felt excluded. All these amazing vegans were changing the world for the better and there I was still chewing on eggs and gulping down milk. I wanted to be on the right side of history, not supporting industries that I find abhorrent, so I became an ex-vegetarian.

4. I felt limited. When my interest in maintaining my habits was greater than my concern about other living beings or the future of the planet, I realized that I was very limited in my capacity to extend compassion to others.

5. I had cravings. I craved being self-reliant, aligned from within and to maintain consistency with my values and practices but eating animal products made it impossible for me to attain those things. The cravings just got worse and worse the more I learned.

6. It didnít feel natural. Going against my values each time I ate animal products was counter-intuitive and every time I did, it felt unnatural for me because I was buttressing the very industries that compelled me to stop eating meat in the first place.

7. I didnít want to be different anymore. I didnít want to be different Ė in fact, I needed to be different, which meant finding my own compass for my morality instead of just fitting in and not making waves.

8. I wasnít listening to my body. My brain is part of my body: my brain was telling me that I understood how harmful and violent the animal products industries are and my actions went against this until I finally listened.

9. I always felt hungry. I hungered for feeling a deeper connection to the planet and to others; cutting off my innate empathy every time I ate animal products only made my hunger for this more pronounced.

10. I realized that farm animals didnít have it so bad. Whether one eats ďfree-rangeĒ eggs or cheese from ďhappy cows,Ē a tyranny of cruelty, domination and needless violence is intertwined with animal agribusiness no matter what the packaging looks like. Also, the flesh that people eat comes from animals who arenít brutalized any worse than those we subjugate for their secreted fluids.

11. I didnít want to be rude. Itís kind of the ultimate rude thing to behave as if my temporary cravings matters more than oneís very life. Actually, rude doesnít even begin to cover it.

12. It was a spiritual thing. How was I going to function as a spiritual being when I was complicit in harming others? Nonviolence, compassion, justice, empathy: these things are consistent with creating a spiritual life. Violence, cruelty, injustice, self-involvement? Not so much.

13. Ultimately, it was just too hard. It was hard to deny my deepening convictions. It was hard to maintain the status quo when my word and my self-respect were at stake. It was hard to be complicit in a lie. It was hard to quell my feelings. It was hard to deny what I knew. Ultimately, it was just too hard to remain a vegetarian.

Please donít let anyone pressure you into staying vegetarian. As you can see, so much of my vegetarianism was fueled by unexamined myths, habituated behaviors, a desire to please others and self-sabotage. I look back at that vegetarian I used to be and I know that I intended to do the right thing, I just didnít know any better. I was so naÔve. Donít be like me; donít waste 12 long years as a vegetarian when you can evolve and move on to the next logical step toward manifesting your convictions about kindness. If you listen to your innate wisdom, do some research, tune into your compassion and move toward the future, you can leave the self-deception and harmful practices in the past.

Like me, you can go vegan. Today, I am proud to say Iím a former vegetarian. Are you a vegetarian like I was? Maybe it's time you go all the way, too.  


Return to Articles Reflecting a Vegan Lifestyle