I ordered a vegetarian ravioli pasta with the "spinach salad." When the salad arrived, it had bacon on it. I didn't know it came with bacon (why in the world would they put bacon on it?), so I asked if they could make me a new one with no meat. I apologized, and said I didn't know it came that way, otherwise I would have asked sooner. The waiter had no problem at all making the switch, and brought out a new one right away. They even put the dressing on the side instead, since it also had bacon in it.
One of the people in our party asked if I was "veggie" and I said yes. When the new salad arrived with the bacon dressing on the side, she leaned over and said "Meat won't hurt you!"
Meat won't hurt you.
I didn't start a discussion. But I could have. Should I have? Should I have disagreed right then, listing every thing wrong with that statement?
Everyone has their reasons for refraining from eating meat, or animal products, or any other foods. It's their personal choice. Nobody ever asks me why I don't eat meat, or try to tell me that I should or that it "won't hurt me."
This got me thinking that I should probably come up with a quick run-down of the reasons why I eat a vegetarian diet. Sort of like an elevator speech. For those times that I am asked, or challenged. Here goes:
I decided to not eat meat after learning the details about meat's nutritional value, factory farming, and environmental impacts. Humans don't need meat to survive, and getting your nutritional needs from animal flesh actually isn't very effective. It's too much fat, and too addicting. Plus our bodies aren't meant to digest the amounts of meat normal Americans eat, and animal flesh ends up getting caught in our intestines on the way through our bodies and rots.
After I learned about all the gruesome details of the process of raising animals for slaughter, I decided I didn't want to support it. Factory farms treat animals in the most cruel ways imaginable, and they generate incredibly disgusting amounts of manure that pollutes the environment and the atmosphere. The animals raised in factory farms are fed unnatural food and hormones so they'll grow faster, and pumped with antibiotics so they won't get sick in their super-crowded, confined, and dirty living conditions. All those chemicals, bacteria, and negative energy from scared animals gets into the meat, that we then put into our bodies.
Eating a vegetarian diet is one of the best actions you can take to reduce environmental pollution and global warming. Huge amounts of water are required to raise the masses of animals being raised for meat production, and grains whose farmland could be being used to grow crops to feed starving people.
I've been constantly reading more and more about the truth behind the meat and animal product industries, and all sources say the same things. How we think about food and diet is greatly impacted by the huge meat and dairy industries. They want you to buy their product, so a lot of marketing goes into making you believe meat is good for you. But a lot of other cultures besides here in the US follow vegetarian diets, and they work. Less meat means less disease, illness, and obesity. I've found that there are so many substitutes for meat that it just takes a little bit of getting used to, but then it's smooth sailing! Now that I've learned the truth behind factory farming, nutritional details, and environmental destruction of the meat industry, it is always on my mind whenever I choose what to eat. Now that I know, I can't ignore it.