I've been a vegetarian since March of 2018, and that wasn't an ethical choice for me. I started getting digestive issues from eating meat, or maybe the issues I had always had had begun getting more noticeable to the point where I was ready to make a change. First I stopped eating steak, then pork, then beef, and finally even chicken had to go because just looking at it reminded me of the terrible pains I would incur from eating it. I listened to my body and began eating vegetarian food, and lo and behold, the digestive issues went away. That's why I became a vegetarian.
It's funny in an ironic way, since I mentioned it hadn't originally been a matter of ethics -- in fact, I used to make fun of vegetarians who would criticize people for eating meat. I would say things like "PETA stands for People Eating Tasty Animals" to people who would say "meat is murder." I guess karma decided I should live the way those people do for making fun of them!
While I'm not anti-meat and have no problem with people who do eat meat, I'm really thankful that my body directed me to no longer eat it because I feel like I've been living and eating healthier ever since, and I am now seeing the better ethics in living this way as well. When I used to eat meat, I would rationalize it by thinking "well I didn't kill it, it was already dead anyway," but I could never work as a butcher.
Since this had happened out of nowhere back in 2018, I wasn't sure how to properly eat as a vegetarian right away, and I ended up losing 10 pounds shortly after I gave up meat. I've always been skinny my entire life so 10 pounds is a lot to lose for someone like me! I eventually began paying attention to what was in everything I ate and drank until it became a regular, healthy dose of vitamins, minerals, and protein, since I had to make up for protein that by not eating meat. I learned years later that I was also now lacking in creatine for giving up meat (and not even eating fish, either), so I bought creatine and began taking a scoop of that every day as well. I regained the 10 pounds I lost and have maintained a solid, healthy, lean body ever since.
That takes me to today -- or rather, yesterday the 16th. Whenever people learned I didn't eat meat, their response to that was more often that not "oh, so you're a vegan?" I never understood why people's assumption that not eating meat equaled being a vegan instead of vegetarian (which is the true definition of not eating meat), but the idea of being vegan had begun to intrigue me. After trading cow's milk for almond milk and even buying non-dairy vegan cheese for my pasta and veggie burgers a while ago, I was pretty much already a vegan anyway... except for honey and the dairy whey protein I was buying.
I looked up why vegans don't eat honey, and I what I learned was strange to me -- how people take the honey that bees make, and that people are essentially eating bee food, kind of like how drinking milk is eating baby cow's food. Pretty weird when you think about it, right? I decided to start eating my peanut butter sandwiches for lunch without honey, so all that left that was keeping me from being a full-on vegan was the whey protein powder I take every day.
I looked online and found that the company that makes the grass-fed whey protein powder I had been taking also makes an organic, plant-based version of it. I purchased a container of it and finished the rest of the whey protein with the cow's milk in it, then I tried the new non-dairy one. It had a noticeably different taste (I always just mix the powder in water), but I found it easy to make the switch -- and now that I have, that means that I've now gone full vegan. So far I feel like it's an even healthier choice than no longer eating meat was.
So now whenever people first learn that I don't eat meat and they ask me "oh, so you're vegan?" I can now answer "yes" with a smile.