I've been wanting to try being a vegetarian for a couple of years now and we are finally doing it... starting Wednesday. We have some meatballs in the freezer that we need to get rid of first.
I think we've gradually been heading in this direction because we stopped eating beef a long time ago, we don't eat meat every night, and we rarely eat big hunks of meat. This choice does eliminate a few favorites from our meal rotation and calls for some substitutions in others, but I think we can do it.
There are many reasons why people become vegetarians, but for me it is the mistreatment of farm animals. When I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle last year my eyes were opened about the treatment of mass-produced turkeys. Turkeys are bred to have huge breasts, but they get so huge so fast that they can't even mate naturally. Similarly, chickens (as I saw on Oprah recently) get so big so fast that their legs can't even hold up their bodies, so they have no choice but to just sit in their own filth.
Cows are a whole different, horrible story. Right now I'm reading The Omnivore's Dilemma (which I will post about when I'm completely finished) and I just finished the chapter on factory farms. I knew it was bad, but I had no idea how bad. The cows are forced to eat corn when their bodies are naturally evolved to eat grass. This makes them sick, so they are also fed antibiotics. The herbivorous cows are also sometimes fed beef tallow (for fat) and chicken, pig, and fish meal (for protein.) They also stand and sleep in huge piles of their own waste. I could go on, but I won't. If there's anything I could encourage you to stop eating, it would be corn-fed beef.
We are still going to consume milk, cheese, and eggs, which has got me feeling a little hypocritical because I know some of those animals are mistreated too, but I can't give up those things. We've agreed to buy free-range eggs and become more aware of where our milk comes from and how those cows are treated.
I'm viewing this as a fun, new project and I'm hoping that it will work out. If you have any tips on being a vegetarian I would be happy to hear them! One great thing is that this choice won't interfere with dessert!