February 25, 2009
Vegetarianism Vegetarianism, is a way of life, that has been around for a centuries. I have been a vegetarian for almost two years now, and I enjoy my lifestyle very much. I was surprised to learn when I became vegetarian, that not everyone is willing to except my drastic change. My friends and family had a lot of questions. They wanted to know, what encouraged me to become vegetarian? What are the health benefits? And most importantly is this a safe diet for me? Vegetarianism is becoming a more and more popular way of life. In a recent poll by
The Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG), it was discovered that 4.5% of those surveyed never eat meat. 10.4% of those people were between the ages of 18 and 29, 2.3% were male, and 6.6% were female. Surprisingly even the young generation is starting to discover these eating habits.
The VRG did a survey on children between the ages of 8 and 18, the results were, 3% of these children never eat meat. The most shocking to me was that 11% of females between the ages of
13 and 15 never eat meat! They also learned that 57% of the general population said that when they go out to eat they sometimes prefer to eat a vegetarian dish rather than meat. In Renee
Cleo’s 20 questions about vegetarianism, she states that some famous people are known for being vegetarian, such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Drew Barrymore, Woddy Harrelson, Alec
Baldwin, Thomas Edison, and Jerry Seinfeld, just to name a few(7). The Vegetarian world is getting increasingly larger by the years, and now that we are becoming more educated about different eating styles, I think it will not be such a scary topic for concerned friends and family.
There are a variety of reasons people become vegetarian, among those are health benefits, ecological benefits, religious concerns, compassion for animals, belief in nonviolence, economics, or they just simply don’t like meat. For me it was a combination of these reasons, as it is for many vegetarians. As a child I was never fond of meat, I would eat small amounts of chicken and certain meals that contained beef or ham. About two and a half years ago, I read a very interesting book called
The Skinny Bitch Book
. In it were the horrific facts about what they actually do to these poor creatures, just so that we as Americans can over eat meat every day.
The horrible living conditions, the beatings, and the worst part the slaughter house. I realize that that book had a lot of personal opinion in it, but it also had a lot of good facts that I researched later. Now that I have really done some research on vegetarianism, I found out even more good reasons for not eating meat, like the impact on the environment. Renee Cloe explains:
“Between 1960 and 1985 40 percent of all central American rain forests were destroyed to create pasture for beef cattle. More than four million acres of cropland are lost to erosion in the United States every year. Of this staggering topsoil loss, 85 percent is directly associated with livestock raising, i.e., overgrazing. Much of the excrement from
“food” animals (which amounts to 20 times as much fecal matter as human waste) flows unfiltered into our lakes and streams (4).”
On top of that U.S. livestock eats enough grain and soybeans to feed five times the entire U.S. population. One acre of pasture produces about 165 pounds of beef; the same acre can produce
20,000 pounds of potatoes. If we all cut down our meat eating by 10 percent, that would free 12
million tons of grain annually for human consumption. “That alone would be enough to adequately feed each of the 60 million people who starve to death each year (4).” These are some of the main reason why I became a vegetarian. It would be nice if people were a little more educated on the topic before passing judgment.