COLUMN: Why I don't eat meat
I decided to stop eating meat almost a year ago, and I don't see myself going back anytime soon.
It was a decision that I'd considered for a while, and after finally looking at all the reasons for both sides, I decided to throw caution to the wind and just do it.
One of the largest factors that influenced my decision was the meat processing industry itself. Animals are "grown" for the pure purpose of slaughtering them, and even if it's only a few animals that I've saved by quitting meat, those are a few animals that would have died.
Along with the animal cruelty aspect, there are the health reasons: Most meat is pumped so full of harmful toxins and unnatural chemicals to the point where it'd be impossible for you to truly know what you're putting in your body, and, to me, that just isn't appealing.
The meat processing industry also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, which are harmful to the environment.
By making the decision to become a vegetarian, I've gotten into the habit of scanning labels to make sure there isn't gelatin or some other animal product in my food. By paying more attention to those little details, I've in turn paid more attention to the food I eat.
It's also forced me to become much more creative in my culinary escapades. I've found so many unique recipes that I never would have thought to make before just because they didn't have meat in them.
I'm much more health conscious than I was before, and I've been able to use the money I save buying chicken or beef to buy more organic, locally grown foods that aren't processed in a factory across the country.
I believe that going vegetarian has improved my quality of life, and it made me think twice about how I decide to treat my body.