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Old 08-20-2010, 01:32 AM   #1  
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Hi, everyone. Sorry for the long post.

Before I get to the questions, I'll tell you a bit about myself and where I'm coming from...

I grew up loving animals and having a lot of compassion for them. My first pet was a dog and that's when I knew I was an animal-lover. Soon after, I got a cat and loved her just as much.

While growing up, we went to the circus sometimes. After my first visit to the circus, I had to be dragged to the other ones. While everyone was enjoying the show, all I saw were depressed, abused, and scared animals doing things they didn't want to do. That was the first time I got angry at man for what they do to animals. I was about 13 then.

Fast forward to high school. For speech class, a boy makes a presentation about animal abuse in the fur markets and animal testing facilities. I'm horrified/angry/saddened and cry in class while watching the videos he shows.

Go forward a little more to freshman year of college. My sister and I begin watching videos on Youtube about vegetarianism and the animal abuse and slaughtering in the meat industry. It takes my sister one day to decide to go vegetarian and has been one for a year and a half (up until today). I was as mad as she was while watching those videos, and yet, I didn't make that choice with her.

Why? Because I was scared that I couldn't do it. Instead of trying and then possibly giving in and feeling horrible that I let the animals down, I decided to not try at all. And that was a HUGE mistake.

Last week, I began my journey with my sister as an accountability partner. We've decided to eat meals together as well. It's been a week without meat, and I feel great. But, I'm still unsure of myself. Because I know that if I mess up, I'll really let myself down. I'll think "if I gave in and ate meat, I must not care about animals as much as I thought."

Whenever I read about vegetarians or see them on this forum, I'm so proud of them. I want that to be me. I want to be proud of myself. My fear of failure is keeping me back..


Did anyone else go through this insecurity? Were you afraid to mess up, no matter how much you wanted to be a vegetarian? And how did you get through it?

Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 08-20-2010, 02:43 AM   #2  
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I feel the need to answer because, though I have always been an animal lover, I never felt bad watching a circus or going to the zoo or eating meat. I have always thought of the pro-veg movies and books and whatnot as vegetarian propaganda, and I always thought that there was no way in **** that there would ever be a convincing enough argument to turn me into a vegetarian. I always joked that I would totally be a vegetarian, as long as I could still eat steak. My change in attitude has only come about very recently, and only after much reading and thinking and thinking and more reading. I decided to stop eating meat, and though I was a die-hard meat eater and would still be a meat eater if the animals who became my dinner didn't have to suffer through such horrible lives, I haven't had any problems not eating meat. I'm still relatively new at it (been doing this for about a month), but I haven't found myself craving it or salivating over it or anything. Maybe it's because I'm looking at the meat in a different light, more as an animal than as a food product, so that makes it easier. Anyway, I was nervous about doing this too, but it's really been an unconscious thing with me, like my body knows "No meat!" so there haven't been any slip ups. That's how it's been for me. I know it may not be exactly what you're looking for, but I thought that I would share.
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Old 08-20-2010, 11:13 AM   #3  
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My change in attitude has only come about very recently, and only after much reading and thinking and thinking and more reading.
Yeah, I've been doing a lot of reading and thinking as well.. that's why I came to the conclusion that becoming a vegetarian would be something I need to do, fears and all. I just need to get over my fear of failure and jump in.

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Maybe it's because I'm looking at the meat in a different light, more as an animal than as a food product, so that makes it easier.
Ok, I can understand this. During this week, I've began thinking that way, but it's still a slow change taking place in my brain. Perhaps I need to stick it out and my brain will follow soon after? I guess it's normal if I need some time being a vegetarian before my brain finally registers completely that it's an animal. Growing up, my mind has been numbed from the thought of meat. It's already processed or covered in sauce or breadcrumbs and I looked at it as just food, not an animal.
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Old 08-21-2010, 11:08 PM   #4  
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What is it that makes you think that you'll slip up? Do you live with other people who eat meat? Do you think that you just don't have the willpower to do it? Are you going to try to go completely vegan at first and cut out all animal products of any kind, or just cut out meat itself? Maybe if you try doing it in smaller stages, it will be easier for you. Then it's not so restrictive, not so all or nothing. Though I'm not eating meat any more of any kind, I haven't completely cut out dairy. I just (very) recently said good-bye to eggs, and I am still learning about all the hidden animal products that go by different names that may be in my food. I spent 31 years eating meat and meat products, so it's taking me time to switch completely over to a new way of eating. After the first few days of not eating meat, I was like "Okay, what the **** am I going to eat?" It can feel a bit overwhelming at first, but for me the learning curve was well worth it. Good luck!
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Old 08-23-2010, 11:51 PM   #5  
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The first couple of weeks are really important, because they're probably the only time you'll really have to be conscious of not eating meat! I'd venture to say most of us don't even think about the selection of burgers on a given menu as being food. I mean, it's in no way tempting, and requires no conscious thought of any kind to know you don't want to eat it.

Now, that said, people practice vegetarianism in all kinds of ways. There's no vegetarian police that will come and arrest you if you slip up. One of my housemates, who's a vegetarian, ecologist and animal lover and mostly-vegan, lets herself have a hamburger if she craves one (in practice, for her, it's about every six months). She makes sure it's grass fed beef/not full of growth hormones/was generally raised responsibly. And then she enjoys it.

Many, many more vegetarians are technically pescatarians, and eat fish when they feel like it--once a week or once a month or once a year. And that's me. I find responsibly caught fish, using my trust Monterey Bay Aquarium responsible fish card that I keep in my wallet, and if I'm feeling protein-deprived, there it is. That, or a delicious spoonful of almond butter.

But here's the real thing: you WILL slip up, even if it's not on purpose. If you live in a world that's not terribly vegetarian-friendly--if you're not, say, at a hippie liberal arts college or living with veg parents--then meats WILL get into you. Sometimes, you won't know that there's chicken stock at the base of a soup you're eating from a cafeteria, bacon bits in a potato salad your aunt brought over, non-kosher gelatin in the marshmallow you're eating in a s'more at a campout. Even if you do realize, you might decide you don't care and that the soup/potato salad/s'more is tasty. And sometimes you'll probably suspect but decide not to ask because it's inconvenient/impolite. That's all fine, too (at least in my book).

Just like with any diet: one breaking of the rules isn't failing the diet. Breaking the rules over and over, day after day, with no effort to change, is failing. And if THAT happens, then you can just re-think how you want to orient your lifestyle with your animal ethics. There are lots of ways to live mindfully and do a little less harm to the other creatures on earth tomorrow than we did yesterday. Keep reading about it to help you out--the vegetarian society (at vegsoc.org) has a guide on their main page that offers support for people making the jump--check that our for starters?

Oh, and get plenty of protein in these first few weeks so that you're not constantly craving meat as your body adjusts--that is, so you're not setting yourself up for failure. Cottage cheese is your friend! Not to mention nuts, seeds, yogurt, and free-range eggs.

That said: you've already done the hardest thing, and that's deciding to make the big change. WOOOOO! Go live your values the best you can, tiger! Good on you.
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Old 08-24-2010, 12:05 AM   #6  
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I just remembered: the first few weeks I went veg (that was a little over eight years ago) I had terrible cravings for meatball sandwiches, which were to that point my favorite food other than mashed potatoes.

I promise you, I'd have to be force-fed them now. I think what dudesmom said is exactly right--that you increasingly see the slabs of meat at the grocery store, floating in blood in their styrofoam containers, as chunks of animal corpses and not as food (sorry to be blunt!). I used to be a lot looser--I could pick pepperoni off a piece of pizza and still eat it, a few years ago--but the idea of pig residue on my pizza grosses me out now, too. Some friends threw a pig roast--whole pig, turning on a spit--last week, and I thought I was going to throw up.

I also really couldn't stand self-righteous vegetarians for the first few years after I became one--people who were really, really sure they had the moral high ground over meat-eaters--but as you read more, you get more set in your opinions/sure of yourself, and it's a real hazard. So I hope I don't sound too obnoxious, here... I try pretty hard to be non-judgmental and not make too big a deal about my dietary choices when talking to carnivores, 'cause it never leads to anything except people getting defensive, or else moo-ing at me while they eat hamburgers 'cause they're trying to get a rise out of me.

Dads of vegetarians think they're hilarious...
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Old 08-25-2010, 05:48 AM   #7  
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But here's the real thing: you WILL slip up, even if it's not on purpose. If you live in a world that's not terribly vegetarian-friendly--if you're not, say, at a hippie liberal arts college or living with veg parents--then meats WILL get into you. Sometimes, you won't know that there's chicken stock at the base of a soup you're eating from a cafeteria, bacon bits in a potato salad your aunt brought over, non-kosher gelatin in the marshmallow you're eating in a s'more at a campout. Even if you do realize, you might decide you don't care and that the soup/potato salad/s'more is tasty. And sometimes you'll probably suspect but decide not to ask because it's inconvenient/impolite. That's all fine, too (at least in my book).
I disagree. I'm not a hippie at a liberal arts college and I don't live with my parents. I also don't eat meat. I don't eat meat by-products. I don't eat dairy. I make careful selections when eating out - which is rarely ever. I cook most of my meals at home. I am not afraid to ask what is in a dish. If you choose to eat meat, that's fine. But please don't think that it's impossible to avoid, because it is not. It's not impolite to ask if there's meat in something. It's not impolite to bring your own marshmallows to a campout. If you were allergic to a meat product, you wouldn't have any issues asking about it, so you shouldn't feel obligated to eat meat because you're afraid you might inconvenience someone by asking what their food contains.
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Old 09-08-2010, 02:13 PM   #8  
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I am not a vegetarian but I have really cut back on my animal consumption. I started out deciding to eat one vegetarian meal a day and one day eat entirely vegetarian. The interesting thing is the less meat I eat the less I want it and have found that I am only eating meat a couple of times a week. Maybe some people just aren't able to do it all at once and need a time period of easing into it. I don't think you should avoid eating vegetarian because you are afraid you will slip up, instead applaud yourself for the progress you make. It is a life change so of course it is a period of adjustment but you may find that once you start the journey the adjustment isn't as hard as you thought it would be. I am not sure if I am ever going to have the discipline to become vegan but that doesn't mean that I can't start out slow and adjust to one meal a day vegan as I have with vegetarianism in the future.
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Old 09-08-2010, 11:54 PM   #9  
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I have slipped up a couple of times since becoming a vegetarian, but i see them as kind of inevitable so I don't really let them derail me from my goals. Sometimes i forget i'm a vegetarian, or whatever, but it's never stopped me to keep trying. I think it's kind of similar to my weight loss journey as far as knowing i'm going to eat a slice of pizza, or icecream every once in a while, slip up, but i'm not going to quit trying to lose weight. What I find really hard about being a veggie is that i'm unfortunately not a big fan of vegetables, so i can't really go to.. a sandwich shop, or restaurant and fill up on them. It's not too bad though now that i'm learning about options, like having falafel wraps, or beans, nuts, salads, etc..
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