Being vegan surrounded by fake/"used to be" vegetarians - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 09-22-2009, 09:58 AM
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I realize that this is probably another catharsis post, but it is something that really, really has been troubling me.



As I said on another thread, I've been vegan/vegetarian for 3/4 years now, committed to it for ethical and health reasons. It brings me a lot of joy, always finding new things, new foods to eat, meeting new people, plus having my body feel strong, healthy and cleansed. However...



I am currently a sophomore at a liberal art's school in Washington. It's obviously a pretty liberal place, and everyone is trying to do the new "cool" thing. Vegetarianism is on the list. I was under the assumption that there were a lot of dedicated vegetarians, unlike my school which had almost none. I was wrong and right: there were vegetarians, only kind of, not really vegetarians: People quickly switch over, do it for a couple months, acting so absolutely committed, then stop. Or else, they pretend to be vegetarian, claim they are even as they chow down on fish, and then go back to eating eat red meat and it is no surprise. Of course, there are definite committed veg*ns who are my friends, and I love them and they give me support. The others I am about to mention are not my close friends, but they still stick in my brain.



I've had a friend who ate fish/shellfish but claimed to be oh-so-vegetarian, ate chicken and beef here and there, and on her birthday claimed she was turning omni. I told her she always was an omni, so it's no big surprise, and that vegetarianism was a moral/ethical thing for me. She told me she didn't give a crap and was angry at me. The other converted fish-eater -to pure omni, as well as the rabid meat eaters at the table, began cheering her on her conversion. I sat there, eating my bean burrito, and wondered if they all disliked me for my diet, and were dying for the day, for the satisfaction of seeing me stop doing what I believe in.



I went to a barbecue a few weeks later. The girl who was hosting it said she was a vegetarian/vegan for 10 some years, but now she was eating meat cause she was bored of it and now had something to connect with her dad over. Bored?! She grilled these fat slices of elk meat, and it drizzled disgusting globs of fat, and my stomach kept turning. A guy came and everyone is like, "You look like a vegan, are you?" and the guy was like, "I used to be, but give me a burger!" A lot of other people echoed him. The only vegan/vegetarians were me, although the two vegans were a couple, who were known to eat roadkill if they could find it. Not a joke, people do that here.



I just couldn't believe it, it felt like all these people were betraying me, even if I wasn't close to them. They would turn to me and say, "You'll be like me one day," meaning that I would change to be omnis like them, and forget what I believed in. I started to think that maybe they switched because they never believed it in the first place, or never were truly veg in the first place.



The worst part is that they act all relieved and happy, claiming to be rid of the burden that was veg*nism.



It's happened to me probably 10-30 times just in the past year, and I can't handle it anymore. Teachers, students, ex-boyfriends. I don't know how to mentally deal with these people.



I guess it's from my own view, veg*nism had been so positive in my life, I can't understand why anybody would want to change. I never had this problem with other people until I went to college. When I was in high school, I was probably the only vegan, except for a few friends in my senior year, but I was okay with that. No one picked on me, people were respectful, there was none of this "I used to be" crap.



BTW, this has nothing to do with my friends who are omnis and have been omnis throughout their whole lives. I love them, it has nothing to do with their current dietary choices, it's more...the people who change their beliefs like they change their clothes. Something about it sticks in my brain, because I just don't get why. I am scared I'll be like them.



Those who keep dropping veganism/vegetarianism just seem like big fakes to me. I understand experimenting, or trying your hardest to convert. It took me about 4 months before I could completely stop eating meat. I had to cut out each, every month, so my body and mind could adjust. Dairy/eggs went away slowly on their own accord. My body just didn't need them. So I understand that, but...I can't stand hearing about these people that just make us who are really committed look bad. I also can't stand these people that think that I will be like them.



Sorry, I know this is tl;dr.



I just know that there are probably other people who have had similar experiences on this board.



It just seems so hard to find committed people who are true to themselves and their beliefs.
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#2 Old 09-22-2009, 10:25 AM
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I can't even imagine what that BBQ must have been like for you! What an awful atmosphere! Do these people not care what they come off as? People who can't commit to something really annoy me.



I just commented in the "omnis as dinner guests" thread about a friend of mine who did a similar thing. She was vegetarian... but she still ate fish. She ate everything but red meat and poultry and acted like she was holier than everyone else. She was also okay with just picking the meat off of something and eating it. She wasn't really committed at all. She didn't care about the animals either. She thought I was dumb for not eating gelatin and other animal products. The bottom line of if was that she was only doing it because I was (which is what her mom told her because her mom thinks that she is ridiculous and wishy-washy).



She eventually gave up because it was too hard and she was hungry all the time. I think it was more like she didn't want to try anymore and she didn't research how to have a healthy diet.



Did I mention that she has an extremely unhealthy lifestyle? There's way too many to list here so I won't even get started.



I've only had to deal with one person like this, but having a whole community of them seems insane! They are probably only doing it because it's trendy, but I don't understand why they can't be more supportive of people who actually stick with it.



If I was you I would ignore it to the best of my ability and just come here for support and community. Also stick together with the few people who are REAL.
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#3 Old 09-22-2009, 10:34 AM
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Being a veg**n isn't that easy for some people.

"Hell exists not to punish sinners, but to ensure that nobody sins in the first place."
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#4 Old 09-22-2009, 10:56 AM
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Being a veg**n isn't that easy for some people.



being veg*n isn't that easy for me... as a matter of fact I've tried to go veg multiple times.



1ce when I was younger and living with my parents. They made it impossible... I got needled and poked at all of the time, plus everything they made revolved around meat and it was the same at the school I attended. Plus I didn't have ANY support. I finally got discouraged and gave up



2nd time, I was older and moved out of my parents house but I lived with my aunt who is omni. She was semi-supportive but still gave me weird looks when I passed on the meat. On top of that I really didn't do my research, was too lazy to cook and practically everything she cooked was meat based... most of it was that I didn't do my research, I wasn't eating a healthy diet because I didn't know how. My iron levels were low and I was feeling awful most of the time... I gave up.



I'm on my 3rd try.... now I'm married and my husband is very supportive. I do most of the cooking, I've done my research and watched documentaries of how animals are treated. I've read up on how to be a healthy veg and found things to replace what I would usually eat. Plus I have this forum to come to for support!



Sometimes it takes people a few tries... I'm older and have more will power, support, and information. I also no longer have the desire to "fit in". I think some people just like to jump on bandwagons but other people have good intentions, it just takes a few tries.
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#5 Old 09-22-2009, 11:03 AM
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I've had a friend who ate fish/shellfish but claimed to be oh-so-vegetarian, ate chicken and beef here and there, and on her birthday claimed she was turning omni. I told her she always was an omni, so it's no big surprise, and that vegetarianism was a moral/ethical thing for me. She told me she didn't give a crap and was angry at me.



By saying that vegetarianism is a moral/ethical thing for you when she told you she was going omni, you were inferring that she was immoral/unethical for going back to eating meat. That's why she was probably angry at you - it was for being criticized and judged. Even if you are "right", her reaction is a natural defense mechanism.



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The other converted fish-eater -to pure omni, as well as the rabid meat eaters at the table, began cheering her on her conversion. I sat there, eating my bean burrito, and wondered if they all disliked me for my diet, and were dying for the day, for the satisfaction of seeing me stop doing what I believe in.



Are you sure that you don't dislike them for their diet? I doubt they dwell much on what you eat, if at all. Any hope they have that you will fail is just misplaced guilt for having failed at it themselves.



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I just couldn't believe it, it felt like all these people were betraying me, even if I wasn't close to them.



If you aren't close to them, why did it feel like a betrayal? Why are you so emotionally invested in what other people eat if you yourself are a committed veg*n? The only person you can control is yourself. There isn't any point in getting worked up over other people's dietary choices - I'm sure they don't beat themselves up over yours.



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I started to think that maybe they switched because they never believed it in the first place, or never were truly veg in the first place.



Lots of people do it just to try it - being "gung ho" is one of the only things that can get you through that meat withdrawal stage. Some people just can't keep it up.



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I can't stand hearing about these people that just make us who are really committed look bad. I also can't stand these people that think that I will be like them.



I don't think failed veg*ns make the rest look bad - it just makes veg*nism look hard, and to a lot of people it can be.



Quote:
It just seems so hard to find committed people who are true to themselves and their beliefs.



Maybe people who switch back are being true to themselves in the realization that animal welfare/rights is not as important to them as they first thought...
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#6 Old 09-22-2009, 11:13 AM
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I think some people just like to be seen as having a cause so they can feel good about themselves and make other people think they're good or something.
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#7 Old 09-22-2009, 11:15 AM
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I agree, it's weird.. I have known people like that, Usta-been folks who now can't get enough meat. Well, whatever.. what really bothers me, though, is when the return to meat-eating is accompanied by some idea that meat eating is somehow cool. Remember Jessica Simpson's shirt that was apparently a dig at her then-boyfriend's ex (vegetarian Carrie Underwood) that says "Real Women Eat Meat" or something like that? (Sorry if there are no other US Weekly readers out there.) That kind of attitude really gets me mad... And I have seen lots of usta-been-a-vegetarian type folks adopt that, like now that they're back to eating meat they can't get enough of it.



Anyway, don't let them get to you. Flakes are everywhere!
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#8 Old 09-22-2009, 11:34 AM
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I would have a problem with some of those people too, not because they gave up veganism/vegetarianism but the gusto in their attitude for changing! like you said, "they act all relieved and happy, claiming to be rid of the burden that was veg*nism" and i'm sorry that you've had to see so many people do that within the last year I would feel very drained with fickle people around me, I would understand if it wasn't for them but people shouldn't call themselves vegan or vegetarian if they're just trying it out or know they might turn omni again. Deciding to be vegetarian was a natural choice for me and I haven't had cravings for any meat. I haven't considered going omni again. I guess it's not like that for everyone :/

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#9 Old 09-22-2009, 11:59 AM
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You are at an age when people are experimenting with various things, finding out who they are. They try some things, they stick, other things don't. People settle into who they really are after college from my experience.
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#10 Old 09-22-2009, 12:12 PM
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I've always felt like in order to be veg*n something really had to resonate with you. If it wasn't a deep rooted conviction that it wouldn't stick. Those who don't honestly believe in their motivation are just using will power to not eat meat and that never stays.
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#11 Old 09-22-2009, 01:00 PM
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By saying that vegetarianism is a moral/ethical thing for you when she told you she was going omni, you were inferring that she was immoral/unethical for going back to eating meat. That's why she was probably angry at you - it was for being criticized and judged. Even if you are "right", her reaction is a natural defense mechanism.







Are you sure that you don't dislike them for their diet? I doubt they dwell much on what you eat, if at all. Any hope they have that you will fail is just misplaced guilt for having failed at it themselves.







If you aren't close to them, why did it feel like a betrayal? Why are you so emotionally invested in what other people eat if you yourself are a committed veg*n? The only person you can control is yourself. There isn't any point in getting worked up over other people's dietary choices - I'm sure they don't beat themselves up over yours.







Lots of people do it just to try it - being "gung ho" is one of the only things that can get you through that meat withdrawal stage. Some people just can't keep it up.







I don't think failed veg*ns make the rest look bad - it just makes veg*nism look hard, and to a lot of people it can be.







Maybe people who switch back are being true to themselves in the realization that animal welfare/rights is not as important to them as they first thought...



I'm sorry that I came across that way. It wouldn't be a big deal to me, really, if it weren't that these people were saying how wonderful it was to go back, and I feel like they're inferring to me that I'll do the same. Or maybe it is more so that I have seen it happen SO MANY times. It just gets disheartening.
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#12 Old 09-22-2009, 01:04 PM
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Thanks for all the encouragement, guys! I just started the boards here, but everyone seems friendly! ^_^



I understand that animal rights/veg*nism isn't important to everybody, and it shouldn't be, and I hope my post didn't come across as me saying that everyone should be.



I think just having this happen to you so many times makes me feel as if there are few/little people committed to veg*nism, which is a silly, irrational and incorrect fear.
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#13 Old 09-22-2009, 01:08 PM
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The only vegan/vegetarians were me, although the two vegans were a couple, who were known to eat roadkill if they could find it. Not a joke, people do that here.



I don't see a problem with that since the animal is already dead. But I wouldn't eat it since to me it would be unappealing.
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#14 Old 09-22-2009, 01:10 PM
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I don't see a problem with that since the animal is already dead. But I wouldn't eat it since to me it would be unappealing.



I can see why, I can see the logic, but for me, it just sounds so...wrong. XD
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#15 Old 09-22-2009, 01:12 PM
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I can't even imagine what that BBQ must have been like for you! What an awful atmosphere! Do these people not care what they come off as? People who can't commit to something really annoy me.



I just commented in the "omnis as dinner guests" thread about a friend of mine who did a similar thing. She was vegetarian... but she still ate fish. She ate everything but red meat and poultry and acted like she was holier than everyone else. She was also okay with just picking the meat off of something and eating it. She wasn't really committed at all. She didn't care about the animals either. She thought I was dumb for not eating gelatin and other animal products. The bottom line of if was that she was only doing it because I was (which is what her mom told her because her mom thinks that she is ridiculous and wishy-washy).



She eventually gave up because it was too hard and she was hungry all the time. I think it was more like she didn't want to try anymore and she didn't research how to have a healthy diet.



Did I mention that she has an extremely unhealthy lifestyle? There's way too many to list here so I won't even get started.



I've only had to deal with one person like this, but having a whole community of them seems insane! They are probably only doing it because it's trendy, but I don't understand why they can't be more supportive of people who actually stick with it.



If I was you I would ignore it to the best of my ability and just come here for support and community. Also stick together with the few people who are REAL.



I completely understand with you about your friend. Almost exactly. Because the person I am talking about didn't live a healthy lifestyle outside of diet (Didn't know what was good to eat, or not to eat, etc.), lots of drugs and binge drinking, etc. So, yeah. It's a bit strange.
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#16 Old 09-22-2009, 01:29 PM
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I can see why, I can see the logic, but for me, it just sounds so...wrong. XD



You have a point. I don't think it matters to the animal anymore but cutting it's body up and eating it does seem kind of disrespectful to me.
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#17 Old 09-22-2009, 01:46 PM
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I'm sorry that I came across that way. It wouldn't be a big deal to me, really, if it weren't that these people were saying how wonderful it was to go back, and I feel like they're inferring to me that I'll do the same. Or maybe it is more so that I have seen it happen SO MANY times. It just gets disheartening.



It's not a big deal and I'm not trying to pick on you or anything, I'm just saying that you have absolutely no control over what other people eat, any more than they have control over what you eat.



And they can say or infer whatever they want - if you're a committed veg*n, it won't matter anyway.



There's no use in getting discouraged by it though. You're only responsible for yourself, and it sounds like you're doing a great job!
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#18 Old 09-22-2009, 02:45 PM
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It's not a big deal and I'm not trying to pick on you or anything, I'm just saying that you have absolutely no control over what other people eat, any more than they have control over what you eat.



And they can say or infer whatever they want - if you're a committed veg*n, it won't matter anyway.



There's no use in getting discouraged by it though. You're only responsible for yourself, and it sounds like you're doing a great job!





No, you're right, if I have any of those thoughts where I get concerned over other people's diets, I'll tell myself, NO NO STOP!



Thank you, Kellye!
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#19 Old 09-22-2009, 06:25 PM
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Since moving to Japan I've met 3 people (also Americans) who used to be vegetarian. They never told me why they went back to omni, but they've also never implied that I will, too, thankfully.



But when I got here, I had just gone vegan, and that didn't work - I basically ate nothing for the first two weeks. So I switched back to vegetarian, and they were all really supportive of that... like, "yay, Claire's vegetarian, not vegan, that's awesome, let's eat!!" My mom was like that, too.



So I don't know exactly how you feel, but I have a vague idea. But good for you for sticking to your guns!
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#20 Old 09-22-2009, 06:28 PM
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I think it's rude to make a comment to the effect that they hope you turn omnivorous or eat animals or drink their fluids.



I would definitely mention this to them, if you value their friendship any.
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#21 Old 09-23-2009, 08:04 AM
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I think many people go to college and begin trying on and off 'different hats'. People who go clean and religious, often smoke, curse, drink and try drugs. It's sad, but seems to happen all the time, so the commitment to veg*nism, works the same way.



Also, the people cheering them on for going back omni - well, you'll see the same thing in some one who has tried to go clean, and finally says, "give me some drugs / I need a drink! / I need a smoke! The others who do it will all clap and feel happy that they have 'returned to the fold'. It's crazy.



It is insulting to have people imply you will be like them. But in their heads, they never really "got it", so they think it's just a matter of nobody can give up what they REALLY WANT forever. They believe you really want it, so will eventually crumble like them. They can't wrap their heads around that you really DON'T want it. They lack the ability to grasp what you feel inside, because they don't feel it. And yes, they do feel like you are 'different' and are uneasy about your choices.



Be true to yourself, and remember life is a pathway, one doesn't 'get it' until they 'get it'. You rock!
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#22 Old 09-23-2009, 09:47 AM
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Everyone tries different things. Some stick to what they try, others- not so much. Especially when we're younger. Aside from that I find it wrong that they try to make you seem like an outsider or that eventually you'll "come to your senses" and go back to meat eating. That to me is condescending to someone else's life choices and you should call them on it when they do those things b/c negativity is not good for a friendship.

I know how it feels to be around wishy-washy people, or people who get easily discouraged and don't follow through. Although I agree with some that, that is their prerogative, I also believe that by hanging closely with these people you do run the risk of their indecisiveness rubbing off on you. Confusion can be contagious I've learned.

I think the best thing is just to avoid talking about the subject with them until they are willing to have a serious or respectful conversation about it.
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#23 Old 09-23-2009, 10:10 AM
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My friend who was a vegetarian for a year just told me last night that he eats meat now because he loved the taste too much. He said that even though he's seen Earthlings and he thinks about slaughterhouses and where his food came from he still can't stop thinking about meat and how tasty it is.



I agree with itsveggietime! about how you have to really 'get it' in order to stick with it. My friend felt like I was judging him and got defensive even though I didn't say anything, so I know he feels guilty and like he's doing something wrong. But then he started shoving chicken parts in his mouth and talking about how he's weak and he loves being weak because it tastes soooo good.... ugh....



At least this has strengthened my resolve to stay vegan...

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#24 Old 09-23-2009, 11:20 AM
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Yea, the missionaries had trouble convincing the head hunters to give up eating missionaries, because they were soooo tasty.
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#25 Old 09-23-2009, 01:01 PM
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I think many people go to college and begin trying on and off 'different hats'. People who go clean and religious, often smoke, curse, drink and try drugs. It's sad, but seems to happen all the time, so the commitment to veg*nism, works the same way.



Also, the people cheering them on for going back omni - well, you'll see the same thing in some one who has tried to go clean, and finally says, "give me some drugs / I need a drink! / I need a smoke! The others who do it will all clap and feel happy that they have 'returned to the fold'. It's crazy.



It is insulting to have people imply you will be like them. But in their heads, they never really "got it", so they think it's just a matter of nobody can give up what they REALLY WANT forever. They believe you really want it, so will eventually crumble like them. They can't wrap their heads around that you really DON'T want it. They lack the ability to grasp what you feel inside, because they don't feel it. And yes, they do feel like you are 'different' and are uneasy about your choices.



Be true to yourself, and remember life is a pathway, one doesn't 'get it' until they 'get it'. You rock!



Thank you, itsveggietime! I really like how you put that, it makes me feel much braver now to head back to college and deal with those people again. Especially what you said about the smoke/drink/etc. - I see it here all the time, especially the drug part. It's hard going to college and being a clean, non-dating vegan. There must OBVIOUSLY be something WRONG with you if you have none of those indulgences (of course, they forget my love for deelicious vegan cupcakes!)



My thought is, if they go back, they never believed in the first place.



And on the whole "O MEAT IS SO TASTY" thing...just because something is tasty/smells good/feels good doesn't mean it's good for you. I like the taste and smell of tobacco (I know, I'm weird), but it doesn't mean I smoke.



Besides, I'd rather have my whole body and mind feel cleansed and live a long, healthy life rather than having those 30-seconds of "tasty" indulgence.
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#26 Old 09-23-2009, 02:10 PM
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Some people really can't wrap their heads around it. My husband still can't believe that I just don't want/like/desire/crave/miss meat. My body was objecting to meat consumption far before I quit eating it all together. It's a different process if you don't have a strong ethical objection. I never liked the idea that an animal was being killed for me to eat, but I was also pretty lazy about it. It's when I realized the damage that it was doing to me that it all clicked in my head.

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#27 Old 09-23-2009, 07:08 PM
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I completely understand with you about your friend. Almost exactly. Because the person I am talking about didn't live a healthy lifestyle outside of diet (Didn't know what was good to eat, or not to eat, etc.), lots of drugs and binge drinking, etc. So, yeah. It's a bit strange.



Our friends almost sound like the same person.



I think everyone has been giving great advice. I hope you feel better.
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#28 Old 09-23-2009, 07:17 PM
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I absolutely can't stand it when people label themselves as a vegetarian, but "only eat a little meat". I mean, really. Can't they just say "I don't eat much meat"???



I think it gives everyone the wrong impression of vegetarians because I know so many people have thought I'd eat "this or that" because another vegetarian did.



I know everyone is different and lives their lives different ways, but don't label yourself something if you're really not what you're calling yourself.
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#29 Old 09-23-2009, 07:18 PM
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I know this is a cathartic post, but I think it would help you if you try to focus on yourself and or perhaps just even working on the animal issues instead of judging them.



Life is a journey, you know, and I think that sometimes people slip up with being vegetarian. it's happened to me, and I would prefer some vegetarian friends to help me do better rather than judge me.



be a support to vegetarians, tell your veg friends who eat meat now and again that you can have veggie bbqs and potlucks, cook delicious food, tell them the good things they do, and encourage them to stop thinking of meat as food. try not to preach, but praise them when they do well.



there was one veg*n who supported me and really listened to me about my concerns and he made me realize that we had a lot more similarities than differences.



it can mean the world to have a good community. I wish I had one, and I wish you had one too. I think we can do that by being good 'representatives' of vegetarianism, if you will.
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