I am a VEGETARIAN By choice.
Out of the 4 types of vegetarian that you have in India – I am a Lacto Vegetarian – one who does not eat meat and eggs in any form but also one who has no qualms about consuming dairy products such as milk, cheese and curd. This is different from a lacto ovo vegetarian who eats both milk products and eggs. In fact it would not be incorrect to say that the Indian vegetarian culture is primarily lacto vegetarian – and that is why many Indians would not understand veganism easily.
I became a vegetarian because I fell in love with a vegetarian lady! That was 17 years ago. And I continue to be a vegetarian even now because:
1. I still love and live with the same lady, and
2. More importantly, I am convinced that we humans should only be vegetarian. It may not be incorrect to say that it was a post-facto rationalization. I have, however, become quite convinced over time that human design is a vegetarian one and that we, humans, should only eat veggie stuff.
Why? I will talk about the reasons later. In fact a number of articles on this website deal with the why of vegetarianism.
I would first like to go back to why I became a vegetarian.
I could say that I was born a half vegetarian. The reason I say that is because while my dad consumed non vegetarian food, my mother was a vegetarian. However, sometime after I was born, my father tricked my mother into eating a non vegetarian dish (men will always be like that!). I don’t know if she liked the taste or was in any way compelled to give in to her Lord’s wishes, she started cooking meat at home (though she herself, never ate meat after that, purely for religious reasons). The end result of this was that I grew up being a non vegetarian.
I remember that up to the time I was 15 years old, I used to eat meat at home as my mother would cook it. Also, both my younger brother (who is one year junior to me) and myself knew enough cooking to be able to rustle up an omelette for ourselves, if required. It was during one such cooking expedition, when my brother was making an omelette for himself, that he broke an egg and saw something red. The color affected him so much that he gave up consuming everything of animal origin from that day.
His conversion gave my mother the reason to rebel against meat cooking at home and that brought an end to eating meat at home, both for me and my father.
Once I went to college and started staying in a hostel, I had all the freedom to eat what I pleased, when I pleased and in quantities that pleased me. I remember, my mother had told me that if I ate meat it would be tantamount to eating her flesh, but I told myself that it was a blackmailing tactic and it should not stop me from enjoying what I liked to eat. In hostel, I experimented with all kind of meats and ate beef for the first time – a sacrilege for someone with my background. I also ate pork, fish, rabbit and what have you during the six year stay in hostel (four for engineering and two for management). In those six years, I ate more meat than I had in the first 18 years of my life. When I had joined the hostel, I was a tall and lanky young man. When I left hostel to start work, I was a tall and round young man.
As a member of the workforce, I did not get enough time to cook at home and thus had to rely on eating food in restaurants most of the time. I remember that in the beginning of the month, I used to eat meat every day but towards the second half of the month, my frequency of eating vegetables increased because of the lack of money. For the first time in my life I realized that meat eating was not cheap and one of the benefits of vegetarian diet was increased savings. However, I still, liked non vegetarian food far more than the prospect of saving money for some distant rainy day. Thus becoming a vegetarian was not a priority with me and so the cycle continued. I also somehow convinced myself that there were not many vegetarian choices at restaurants. I loved fast food and places I lived in during my younger days did not have many vegetarian choices at fast food joints. So whenever I went out to eat, it would primarily be non veg stuff.
Vegetarianism Vs. Love
Then one day, I met a woman I wanted to marry. The only problem was that she was a vegetarian. She could not stand watching anyone eat meat. She did not enter a restaurant that served meat because she was not sure if they used separate pans for vegetarian and meat dishes. On top of all that she was lactose allergic and hence could not consume dairy products – so she was not even a lacto vegetarian, but a pure vegetarian. During our dating period, we only went to restaurants that offer vegetarian choices. If I wanted to marry her, I knew that I would have to make a dramatic change in my eating habits. So what did I do? Who did I give up – meat or her?
If you are as intelligent as I think you are, I am sure the headline of this post would have told you that I gave up meat. From eating meat occasionally, I converted to a 100% vegetarian way of life. So much so that I started collecting vegetarian recipes that I could cook on a holiday to the delight of my newly wed wife. And my life centered around vegetarian diet plan.
Many a times, love makes you do all kinds of silly things. Sometimes love also makes you do the right thing – a lot of content on this site will deal with why being a vegetarian is the right thing.
And I think I did the right thing when I gave up eating birds, animals and fish altogether – by choice.
That’s why I call myself a Vegetarian by choice.
And that is also the name of the website – Vegetarian By Choice.
We shall also examine what are the benefits of a vegetarian way of life? And much more…
And I'd like to know what are your reasons for giving up on meat, that is , if you have indeed done so?
Are you a vegetarian by choice? and if yes, what are your reasons for continuing a vegetarian diet plan?