Journey to Vegetarianism Part 1 – Intro & Motivation

I'm a vegetarian now. I've been eating this way for maybe 4-6 months now (actually, 9 months for this specific piece!). So I'm fairly confident it has stuck. While it's kind of a strange transition, it's being going on so long that it also has been pretty gradual and uneventful largely.

I was going to write this as a single post originally, but I prefer shorter reads. So I’ll break this up into several parts:

  1. Motivation (this post)

  2. Getting There, Practically Speaking

  3. On Protein

  4. Challenges & Considerations


I had a few motivations.

First, environmental concerns. This is what really pushed me into trying it. The impacts are generally clear as far as I can tell: reduced emissions overall, reduced land usage, and reduced water usage overall [1][2]. Though changes made as individuals with respect to environmental impact are very minute, I now believe that it’s one of the most significant ways a single person can make a difference. This factor alone makes it worthwhile to me.

Second, I saw others doing it. It would be naïve of me to think this wasn’t a factor. I have known multiple people who had made the change over the years. After meeting vegan weightlifters who were quite strong as well, it made me really question what was holding me back from doing it? There’s evidence that these diets don’t have a major impact on performance [3] and I was seeing it with my own eyes. Imagine life as a Clarence. And plenty of others were figuring it out and getting along great. So, why not go for it?

Third, the moral arguments. I admit this probably should have been item #1, but it honestly was not. Originally I hadn’t thought about these arguments much much. As I got further along though, I started to put my mind to it more. I’ve never take an interest in hunting, fishing, or harming animals otherwise really. So why is somebody else doing it and selling it to me as a product better? It’s perhaps quite worse even because I wasn’t even doing the work to obtain the food while causing a huge amount of environmental damage.

I boiled it down to this highly oversimplified thought experiment:

One day you come across a farm with all of the animals you could imagine. The farmer there make you this offer: “Take and eat as much as you want for as long as you want!” The stipulation though was that you would have to do the slaughtering and processing yourself. Would you still do it?

To me, the answer was largely no, save for situations of desperation (ex: my family was starving and we needed food). There are no realistic scenarios where I would intentionally kill an animal myself. When we buy meat, we separate ourselves from this process and make it easier to side-step the moral problems that are raised, and this helped clarify it for me.

In total, the default diet I always had stopped working for me. So it was time for a change. But really, this was gradual and took a while, and the list above is a nice summary of years of change. The next part covers how I got there.