Notes on Becoming a Vegetarian by Nathan Jones

Gnocchi with pine nuts and spinach, garnished with Parmesan cheese. Currently my daughter's favourite dish.

The realization that it was both possible and reasonable for me to become a vegetarian surfaced exceedingly slowly in my conscious mind. Though I was deeply moved years ago by Schlosser's Fast Food Nation and Foer's Eating Animals, and had been considering a plant-based diet for over a decade, it wasn't until the beginning of this month that I finally decided it was time for me to stop eating meat. 

These are my reasons for becoming a vegetarian:

  1. Desire for personal health and well-being.
  2. Concern for animal welfare.
  3. Concern for the environment.

Specifically, I am a lacto-ovo vegetarian, that is, I do not eat meat, poultry, or fish, but do consume eggs and dairy products. I do not rule out the possibility of either narrowing, or expanding, these restrictions. This is an experiment.

"Becoming" is the operative word. I have come to peace with the realization that my adopting a strictly vegetarian diet is a process rather than an abrupt transition, not because I personally lack discipline, or have an overwhelming desire to eat meat, but because I find it difficult to enforce my restrictions in family and social settings. Therefore, over the last month, I have eaten meat on four occasions; whenever I have been free to choose, or prepare, my own meals, however, I have always eaten plants. I don't consider this a failure, in either practice, or resolve.

I don't feel hungry. I don't lack energy. I haven't lost weight. I don't miss meat. I'm comfortable with my decision and excited about exploring new kinds of taste experiences.

(My becoming a vegetarian has coincided with a return to cycling. I now ride 200-250 km a week. I also run and swim occasionally. It is not a problem for me to satisfy my caloric needs without eating meat.)