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Hey my name is Gabriel I am a college student studying the effects of eating a plant based diet and was wondering if anyone would be willing to answer some questions about their experience being vegetarian for a research paper. I am interesting in learning more about the vegetarian diet and possibly becoming plant based myself. The questions I had were: What was the main reason you decided to follow a vegetarian diet? How long were you plant based for? What problems did you have when you first started? How did being vegetarian effect your health? How did you stay on the diet long term? How did you feel after being on the diet for some time? What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about becoming plant based? Thank you for your help.
 

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What was the main reason you decided to follow a vegetarian diet?

I initially went vegetarian out of an interest in avoiding harming animals. That extended to avoiding leather and personal/home care products that were cruelty-free. Eventually I learned that eggs and dairy were also part of an overall animal exploitation industry, and I needed to stop making excuses for why I was eating butter, brie, and eggs!

How long were you plant based for?

I don't identify as plant-based, but have been vegan since I think 2006 and went vegetarian (as defined above) around 1997.

What problems did you have when you first started?

Social issues were, and still are, the biggest problems. In the early days it was issues like business lunches or family events. My husband and I have a vegan blog and have done a lot of mentoring of new vegans, and they tend to have the same issues and questions. Here they are: FAQs | The Thinking Vegan

How did being vegetarian effect your health?

I didn't recognize any effect, but, I'm over 50 now and I suppose I can assume I'd be in worse shape if I wasn't vegan.

How did you stay on the diet long term?

I don't think of it as a diet but as an ethical platform. If I said I don't beat my kids because I don't believe in that, you wouldn't ask "but how do you continue to not beat your kids every day?" I just...don't. That's how. People may cheat on a diet, but they don't cheat on such a firmly held belief.

How did you feel after being on the diet for some time?

Comforted that I can live in alignment with my values. My conscience is pretty clear.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about becoming plant based?

Trust whatever in you wants to do this. Watch some documentaries like "Earthlings" or "Cowspiracy" or "What the Health." Watch footage from undercover investigations into farms and slaughterhouses. Read some books, if that's more your style. You will not find any shortage of motivation if you look for it.
 

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What was the main reason you decided to follow a vegetarian diet?
Taking LSD and having vivid experiences where I felt I was experiencing life from a caged, frightened animals' perspectives.

How long were you plant based for?
I've been plant based for 25 years.

What problems did you have when you first started?
Other people mainly. I still have a problem with other people. They never seem to accept diet choices different than theirs.

How did being vegetarian effect your health?
I immediately stopped getting sick and unhappy. I became more sensitive to what my body wants and needs.

How did you stay on the diet long term?
I had to learn how to balance my diet between foods that were high in carbohydrates, fat, and minerals. The Ayurvedic dosha system was also helpful in keeping me satisfied and avoiding unusual cravings.

How did you feel after being on the diet for some time?
I feel a lot better than I did. My physical appearance also changed radically which also made me feel better and more healthy. There was definitely the emotional downside of feeling alienated from others that don't share your interests though.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about becoming plant based?
Pay very close attention to how eating different foods makes you feel before, during, and after. This will keep you moving in a more healthy direction because you will naturally crave better food and your mind will not fool you into something that seems tempting but isn't really that good.
 
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