Should you be vegetarian?

This blog post was inspired by a conversation that I had with my cousins on Friday (you know who you are).  We were talking about how people love to jeopardise their friends’ efforts to be healthy.  They don’t usually do it consciously, but they just can’t help it.  If you’re trying to avoid sugar, they try to convince you to have it.  If you’re avoiding cheese, they tell you about how they can’t live without it and how delicious it is.  If you’re stopping coffee, they take you out for coffee and make you smell it and taste it.  What is it with us humans?  Why do we feel a sense of satisfaction when we know someone else’s healthy efforts have gone out the window?

I don’t want to have that conversation!

Just a few weeks ago, I was out with friends for dinner.  I decided to order a vegetarian dish.  And before I knew it, I found myself in a deep conversation, struggling to defend my choice to order vegetarian!

One thing I know for sure:  people are very attached to their eating habits, and if they find that you’re doing something different, they would often defend their eating with their life!  The conversation went on about how they love meat and cheese and cream.  And how they would not feel good if they had to avoid it.  And how ‘everything in moderation’ is always best, not going to extremes… bla bla bla


I never said YOU should do it!  I was simply making a decision for myself.  At some point, they must have perceived my vegetarian choices as attack on their animal-based food choices, although they weren’t.

It is often said that ‘people would rather change their religion than change the way they eat’.  Along with politics and religion, food is usually a topic that would often get people fired up in conversation, which often ends in a debate about who’s right!

Am I Vegetarian?

This is a question that I get a gazillion times.  Are you vegetarian? Are you vegan?  Don’t you crave meat?  How can you live without dairy? Don’t you have eggs? Are you human?……

And my answer is always the same:  It doesn’t matter what I am because what works for me might not work for you.

People love to put ‘labels’ on others.  They want to immediately categorise people to find out whether they are ‘like’ them or not.  If I am vegetarian, and you don’t believe in vegetarianism, then it becomes much easier for you to just dismiss everything I say because it won’t apply to you.

But the truth is that I am not a ‘label’.  I am not a ‘certain eating group’.  I will eat whatever feels right for me at the stage of life that I’m at.

For many people, the idea of changing their eating makes them very uncomfortable so they would rather stay where they are.  I totally respect that.  I was there myself once. I know what it’s like.  But if even 1% of you is curious, then keep reading because some points might just make sense to you.

So, back to the big question

Should you become a vegetarian?

Quick definition:  Generally speaking, vegetarians are people who do not eat meat or poultry (some also avoid seafood); and vegans are people who choose not to eat any products coming from animals, including all meat, dairy products and eggs.

When I started looking into having more plant-based foods in my day, here are some of the thoughts that kept popping into my head:

  • But I need protein
  • If I avoid animal products I will gain weight
  • Eating animal products is ok as long as it’s not frequent and it’s grilled and cooked with not much grease
  • My body type does better on meats.  I’m type O blood which is supposed to have lots of protein
  • I don’t believe in extremes.  Everything in moderation.  Vegetarians and vegans are a bit extreme
  • I would have to change all my eating habits, and that’s too difficult
  • I would not be able to enjoy life and eating like I do now, especially when out with friends
  • I would not be able to change my whole family’s eating, too difficult
  • My cooking style would have to change.  I wouldn’t even know what to put on the table

I’m not trying to convince you

If you are having any of the above thoughts, then you’re not alone.  Changing the way you eat is a HASSLE.  So before you can even start trying it, you have to really be convinced!  Here are some points that might help you see things from a different perspective.  Please note, however, that I’m NOT trying to convince you; I’m just giving you the other side of the argument.

These are some of the things that made sense to me

  • The animals we eat do not have good living conditions.  They are crammed, sick, and feed on crappy food.
  • The animals we eat are injected with hormones and loads of medication and antibiotics.  These hormones and antibiotics are passed on to us.  They cause a surge in hormones, which would explain the increase in hormonal conditions and the huge change in the ages of puberty in kids and menopause in women, among other things.  The excess antibiotics also make us more prone to illness.
  • The animals we eat are scared.  They know they will be killed and their fear can be heard in the sounds they make, it can be picked up by the other animals around them, and it can have an impact on the quality of their meat. We would be eating their fear.
  • Animal foods cause acidity in our body.  When our body is too acidic, we are more likely to get sick, we recover slower from injuries, we get angry more often, we get spots, headaches, and much more.
  • Animal products cause the body to produce mucus.  If we produce a lot of mucus, then we create the perfect environment for germs and we invite various conditions such as headaches, blocked noses, slow absorbtion of nutrients, and even speech and learning delays in children.
  • Animal products are harder to digest, especially when we have low stomach acid (and stomach acid can be reduced with age, with stress, and a number of factors).  Eating animal products puts a strain on the digestive system, making us more likely to get constipation, gas, rectal itching, and various other problems.

How would you know if going vegetarian is good for you?

There’s NO WAY for me to tell you whether or not it will help you to go vegetarian, or even vegan, but I can tell you this:  You will never know unless you try.  You have nothing to lose.

Quick tips:

  • Do it gradually (i.e. start with one meal and remove the animal products from it)
  • Read up on the subject to make sure you’re doing it right (although it’s not difficult at all!)
  • Make sure to add lots of vegetarian proteins from beans, pulses, lentil, sprouts, nuts, seeds, and protein-rich grains such as quinoa

Here are some of previous posts that you might give you some ideas

Wanna See What I Eat?

Life After Cheese

Book: Skinny Bitch

Recommend DVD:  Eating

Oh, and don’t forget to sign up on my website to get the latest


9 responses to “Should you be vegetarian?

  1. Interesting article
    Being vegetarian is not always you are in health condition unless you know what you are eat.

  2. Wow Alia, you’ve just written about something I experience every other day of my life. I as a nutritional therapist have experimented with various eating habits and food choice and as you said.. right now what works for me is mostly vegan food with a slice of fish every once in a while when my body tells me I need to have it..
    I find that conscious eating is the way to go for me. I find that giving a thought to where the food came from and how it made its way onto your dinner table is more the question rather than just: What Label our Regimen has!!!! If we are more aware that we need to operate (including eat) in harmony with nature, then we are most likely bound to make the right choices.
    I am currently reading a great book by Michael Pollan called ” The Omnivore’s Dilemma”. I think you and your readers will like it.

  3. Great stuff 🙂 But what about octovegetarians?

  4. Interesting article
    but Ihave a littel problem that how Iwill convince my husbend to try and change our eating habits

  5. Great piece, i like it. I don’t know when will people really learn that it is not about shifting to this or that diet, or observing what others eat! it is about YOU and what food makes your digestive system more comfortable and gives you more energy to function like a productive human being! I am not vergiterian but i really like to eat like one “sometimes” coz it makes a difference for me. at least i am someone who tried it myself before judging what others eat!

  6. nice topic Alia..I experienced changing my diet once and have switched 70% to vegetable and fruit because I had an irritable bowel syndrome and after 5 years of actual examination on my digestive system I discovered that eating meat, escpecially fried kebab meat , minced meat what we call (nashef) caused me severe stomache upset..I had to take alot of meaty and fatty product out including ice creams and thank God , I am fine now with minimal upsets and indigestions..
    But its the thing about animal being scared that they will be killed is something I dont agree with..God Al Mighty didnt forbid eating meat and animals will certainly die if we dont kill them at a stage..its their life cycle and the way they are created that has some wisdom in it..
    I always wonder why God Al Mighty made Surat Al Baqara the longest surat in the Koran and why the Hindus take the cow as a sacred animal..
    The cow has all benefits from head to tow ..
    I think meat is good but everything has its limit..
    As God Al Mighty said, ‘ Eat but dont waste..for God doesnt love those who waste.’

  7. I believe the best way for me as a muslim is to follow what our Prophet did 2 thousands years ago. He recommends to have meat every 40 days. any excess will cause Hardening of the heart- as he said in Hadith.
    He also mentioned that eating Lentils makes a soft heart.
    In general when looking at the eating habits of our Prophets and Allah’s messangers, it coverd all the nutrients needed but with modest portions- Wise eating in other words.

    I think all this HASSLE is because we neglected what those holy, wise men did and we started expermenting on our body.

    I KNOW THAT PEOPLE ARE DIFFERENT- what is good for me might not be good for you. But still- as humans- there is a red line that we should not cross or it would be fatal.

  8. The fear and dread of you will fall upon all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon every creature that moves along the ground, and upon all the fish of the sea; they are given into your hands. 3 Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.

  9. People who say they are vegetarians because they want to “save the animals” are silly. 🙂 As if animals are on the same level as people! No, siree. This is not, I repeat, NOT true!!!!!!!
    I am especially annoyed by people who say that God doesn’t want us to eat meat. They say that the commandment “Thou shalt not murder” is a fair argument. Hmm… let’s look at Genesis 9:2-3 – The fear and dread of you will fall upon all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon every creature that moves along the ground, and upon all the fish of the sea; they are given into your hands. 3 Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.

    So God tells us not to murder PEOPLE, because PEOPLE rule OVER animals. He tells us that we may eat meat, so long as we cook it.

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