Was there something specific that triggered your decision? Did you just decide one day to do it? Did you know other people who were vegetarians that encouraged you to learn more about the lifestyle? How did you come to be a vegetarian?
At the time I decided there was a salmonella scare and a BSE one in the UK, so I thought why not cut out animal products and avoid it all. I learned more about a vegetarian diet and found it easier to switch as I got older and could cook for myself.
So it was a mixture of what was happening in the world and also my having the freedom to cook more and choose my food.
Salmonella is carried on vegetables and fruits as well unfortunately. I wash anything I buy. I used to work for a place that handled large volumes of fruits and vegetables to go into a variety of products. Salmonella & Listeria were two of the major food-borne illnesses we tried to prevent.
Well, I don't remember the exact moment that I knew I wanted to be vegetarian. I think it was something that was always rolling around in my head as "a good idea". I do remember the moment where my resolve to become one was strengthened and I felt like my decision was the right one...
I had a new job working at a hotel in room service. My main job was answering the phones and taking the orders, but as part of the training we had to learn every aspect of the job, including bussing. What this meant was walking around the hotel with a tram and putting empty trays and plates onto it, and then bringing it down to the dish washer station for them to wash. Basically, think restaurant bussing but on a tram and on a much larger scale.
I had to scrape whatever food was left into the bin before I could hand it to the dishwasher. I remember on one plate, lifting up the silver lid to the plate and seeing a huge pile of bacon just on the plate. I would estimate there were at least 25 pieces of bacon on the plate. My guess is that everyone in the family (it was a big family) ordered extra bacon and then chose not to eat any of it. I remember staring at that plate for some time, just thinking how sad it was. I mean, meat eating in general bothers me but at least if the animal is being consumed it's providing SOMETHING, even if I don't agree with it. But this was just a waste. Those pigs died for literally less than no reason.
It was also shocking to me to see the amount of food and money wasted on an economic scale as well. I know it's cliche, but really...people in some countries are dying, but in this one we have the luxury of just saying "eh" and throwing away more meat than some villages in some places get in a year (literally).
I became a vegetarian the moment I started watching Food Inc. I had tried to make more vegetarian meals in prior years, but had always failed. I have been transitioning to a vegan diet ever since watching Cowspiracy.
When I went to college, I lived in a dorm with an absolutely terrible cafeteria. The same company that supplied the food for our dorms also serviced the state prisons. For whatever reason, they used some kind of preservative that made me violently ill anytime I ate food off the buffet line. The only things I could eat in the cafeteria were cereal (which was only there in the morning), salad and ice cream. Being a mostly broke college student, I couldn't afford to do fun stuff like go to concerts or parties and buy food so I started eating salads in the cafeteria all the time while eating meat at restaurants.
Later in that first semester, we read Animal Liberation by Peter Singer in one of my classes. I was always open to the idea of going vegetarian for ethical reasons but it seemed too hard in the past. This time was different as I was essentially eating a vegetarian diet aside from whatever I ordered at restaurants. I just stopped eating out so much for the last two months of the first semester and switching was incredibly easy.
My vet put my female dog on a vegan prescription diet to cure her stomac ulcers...breed is high risk stomac cancer.
So i took an interest in the details on the pet food packets...and learnt about "nutrients" as the essential element needed for any animal or plant to thrive.
Read up about "nutrients" ... and realised...contrary to assumed expectation...killing animals to eat their bodies was not necessary to thrive...and that the healthiest source of nutrients are the lowest on the food chain sources...plants.
So then i watched some horror videos...which strengthened my resolve to not eat animals or their products anymore.
My dog became international grand champion on her vegan diet...superb energy levels...no stomac ulcers anymore.
It was some time later...that i started to read up about this term "veganism" and found Gary L Francione the creator of the 6 principles of veganism clear and logical as well as ethical on the subject.
PETA slogan of "animals are not ours to use" became clear as to what that meant after reading explanations by the Abolitionist Vegan leader mentioned Gary L Francione the law professor.
Oh and one day sat in a doctor surgery i read a book in there by a John Bryant head of the UK RSPCA animal welfare charity...called Fettered Kingdoms...where he made it clear...pet ownership was slavery and should end to stop animal abuse. I never looked again at a dog with collar and leash forced to walk at a human pace again in the same way as i had for years after that.
For me...realising...and accepting...that it is pure arrogance for us humans to think...we should OWN sentient beings...and kill them if we want to....is the fundamental issue.
Once one accepts...that we humans have no RIGHT to breed and kill animals...or even keep them and cut off their genitals and deprive them of freedom of movement and families of their own ... it is not difficult to not kill them and to see those humans own as pathetic victims forced into whatever life or death we humans force on them.
PET ownership is unnatural. Their lives are totally dependant on us as their owners for every aspect of their unnatural lives. That is not how any animal should live. Only wild animals are really natural and leading natural lives. Any owned by humans animals...are pathetic shadows of what their ancestors were....prisoners...and millions...billions of their lives are taken from them just because humans think they have a RIGHT to their lives...pets...farm animals...are simply destroyed when it suits the owners ...and pets in their millions regularly when no longer wanted by their owners or the owners are killed off...they are unable to live free of human owners having been unnaturally made dependant and not belonging in any natural ecosystem.
It is actually tragic...to see animals owned by humans. Tragic. Be they pets or farm animals. Their lives are pathetic really.
I just started a full Vegan diet a week ago due to finding out about health issue related to my gut + thyroid problems (potentially Hashimoto's once full blood work is done). One of my good friends has been Vegan for quite a while and also has an autoimmune issues that he manages.
It seemed like there a ton of success stories tied to a change in health when people namely removed factory farm/processed meats and dairy. Rich Roll was someone plant-based who has touted the benefits of going full vegan vs vegetarian.
In general I was finding both allergies and bloated feeling as a direct result of eating meat. I have also worked as a sushi chef for a few years and certain that I was infected with some fish related stomach parasites. It was necessary to try an elimination diet before going full vegan to gain an understanding of triggers and allergies to foods.
Considered doing a vegetarian diet.. but cutting out all animal products seemed like a better option in my situation.
Back in the UK around 1970 I was a hippy art student, friends were getting into Bhakti Yoga (the spiritual path), and Hari Krishna they became vegetarian and I had my interest. November 1972 emigrated to Canada and to meet people I went to a Sivanada Yoga studio, my teacher was vegetarian and would influence me to become.
1979 I got interested in Tai Chi Chuan and Shaolin monks who were vegetarian or vegan as they say today.
2015 got back into traditional Yoga and most fellow students are vegetarian.