Why I Became a Vegetarian

Pasta w Red Lentil Sauce

I was pleasantly surprised to see that my article at Today's Christian Woman is already on-line. It's called Why I Became a Vegetarian— it's a matter of health and faith.

Interesting. Some people commented that they didn't like the title. Oh, the joys of being a writer; that was not my original title. But I get sweet credit (and not-so-sweet credit) for it anyway. Mostly, I was encouraged to see how many people are interested in the topic. And gracious about it. It's not always easy to step out and write on an issue like this. So I appreciated many of the nice comments.

If you want to talk about the article over there, go ahead and click over. Or if you want to talk about it here, well, you know I'm always happy to put my feet up, take a sip of tea, and chat.

(Recipe for the above pic, is here).


Ruth's thoughts on sweets (I find this to be related, because it raises the question of why we eat certain foods and why we might choose to pass on them at times)

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Blogger Christianne said...

Wow, LL. Some of those comments are pretty harsh. But the article is very well-written. I love the story approach it takes to something so informative. It was fun to learn these new (to me) parts of your story in this area.

6:27 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Christianne... Yeah, that made me feel kind of sad. Especially the harsh comments that seemed sort of "crafted" to sound cool. Something about that made me feel like it is not clear that writers are actually people, with real lives and loves and feelings. Does that make sense? So glad you enjoyed learning these new parts of the story! :)

6:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there!

I receive the TCW newsletter in my inbox, and the title of your article immediately piqued my interest. For the last year or so, as I've learned more about how my actions affect both the physical earth and its peoples, I've been toying with the idea of becoming a vegetarian. I've already experienced negative responses, mostly from other Christians, when I mention that I'm thinking about it or even when I tell someone that I mostly eat organic/natural foods. I haven't come to a decision just yet - I think I need to do some research, like you wrote about - but your article gives me a bit more food for thought (no pun intended). :) Thanks!

10:03 AM  
Blogger Christianne said...

It totally makes sense, LL. I'm sorry it hurt you. I'm working on a speech for graduation right now, in fact, that attempts to infuse some hope and life into the human conversation. I wish we all, collectively, would learn to approach one another with care, lovingkindness, respect, and dignity, no matter who we are or what manner of life we live.

3:03 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Sarah... that's really interesting...about people of faith being some of your challengers. I wonder why that is? As for you, yes, I'd encourage you to research. And take things slowly. I know I kind of drifted into this lifestyle bit by bit, and then one day the scale simply tipped.

Christianne... I'm still trying to decide whether I was personally hurt. Not sure that's the case. I think what hurts me is the more general reality that people feel free to be harsh when they have some level of anonymity. This is a cultural issue and it grieves me.

3:55 PM  
Anonymous tonia said...

Great article. I really enjoyed reading it and that sense of validation one receives when we find someone like-minded. I'm glad you shared the article...despite the negative responses of some.

I grew up with the "dominion" mentality, so it doesn't really surprise me to find that many christians are opposed to any sort of ethical questions involving food but I am always saddened. It has always seemed to me that the one with the most freedom should also be the one who uses that freedom most thoughtfully and mercifully.

I find a certain peace in the simple, intentional lifestyle of vegetarianism. It is a way of walking out faith that testifies to something of Christ that I don't really have words for now.

I just know this is a good way for me.

Thanks for sharing your story, L.L.

6:28 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Tonia, thank you. I enjoyed writing the article. And I'm glad you felt a sense of connection with it. I never really considered my lifestyle as "simple and intentional", but that's a nice way to express it! : )

9:34 PM  
Blogger Joelle said...

L.L., I've been a veg all my life, and I'm glad for that. But it was good to read of someone who chose this lifestyle with wonderful reasons. Great article! I think I take for granted all the delicious plants and don't take the time to prepare them well. You inspire me!

3:10 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Joelle, wow. Tell me about that. Was this your early choice? Or a family decision?

3:49 PM  
Blogger Joelle said...

Why did I grow up vegetarian? Short answer: My parents were vegetarians and their parents were vegetarians. We were/are part of the Seventh-day Adventist Church that was an early (since the mid-1800s) promoter of healthy lifestyle, including vegetarianism (a prominent woman in the church, Ellen White, wrote amazing things that were way ahead of her time). I think the church's health standards may be seen by many as trying to earn our way to heaven, but I saw/see it as simply living in a way that honors God's temple and keeps my relationship to Him as well as ministry in this world vibrant and alive. Interestingly, Adventists have greater longevity than the typical American. Here's a link that might be of interest (a health study on SDAs): http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/70/3/532S

Hope I didn't give more answer than you wanted. :)

5:07 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

I always enjoy your answers. No such thing as too much. Fascinating answer, btw!

5:30 PM  
Blogger Tuco said...

Hi L.L. - there are SO many reasons to go veggie (in fact, when you weigh up the pros and cons of an omnivore vs. veggie diet, I don't know why ANYONE would choose the omnivore diet).

For Christians especially though, with the responsibility to be compassionate etc, I think it is especially important to take a hard look at what is happening in the factory farms, and ask yourself if that is really something that you can support with your grocery money.

9:13 AM  
Blogger a.mills said...

I came across this post by following a link from The High Calling website. I have been a vegetarian off and on for years. I'm currently back on the veg-kick. I am also a recently returned prodigal. When I first returned to Christianity, I went back to eating meat. It's a long and complicated story, but part of it was trying to distance myself from a past that I am not terribly proud of.

I ate meat for about a year and a half after "the return." That's about how long it took for my cholesterol to get over 700, and my blood pressure to get upwards of 210 over 180!

There are so many people of faith who can't handle a veg lifestyle. I have also encountered the folks who think that my choice to be a vegetarian is somehow a judgment of them for not being veg. I have always been careful to say, "It is a choice that is right for me, but it isn't for everyone." And so many people want to point out the verse from Paul in which he says that it is okay for him to eat meat, but that if it causes a "weaker" brother to stumble, then he won't do it. They give this verse with an attitude of "see, a vegetarian lifestyle is something that people with a weak faith practice." But it ignores the main point. The point of that verse is not to condemn a veg lifestyle. The point is that just because we understand that something is not forbidden by the Gospel, does not mean that we should rub it in people's faces. The attitude this verse requires is one of humility. When we encounter someone who has a restriction we disagree with, it is not our place to tell them, "you shouldn't have that restriction...you are weak." We are to build a relationship with that person (and all people), so that they can see the freedom of the Gospel for themselves. Besides all that, as you have pointed out in your article, there are so many more reasons for a veg lifestyle than a belief that it is a law we have to follow. There are many other compelling reasons to pursue that lifestyle. To assume you know the reasons for someone's lifestyle choices is, at best, condescending and rude.

If we look at it with a different "requirement" that people add to the Gospel, we can see how ridiculous it is. Just because I may not personally believe that it is a sin to use the "s" word doesn't give me the right to walk up to anyone I meet and throw it around like it's nothing. And further, it doesn't mean that I should go to anyone who doesn't think I should use that word and tell them they have a weak faith for not saying it. I am to develop a relationship with them and let them know that God cares less about which combination of letters you use in a sentence, and more about the intention of your heart when you are using those words. God is all about our hearts.

Anyway, this has been a long and rambling comment. All I really intended to say was, "great article. Thanks for writing it." So...Great article! Thanks for writing it!

9:46 AM  
Blogger Andrea said...

Yum! That past looks delicious!! I love your passion for vegetarian eating and your article--you know I do! ;)

8:59 AM  
Blogger Hildegard said...

Wonderful article! I am a life-long vegetarian, and can resonate with the awkward moments at restaurants when waitors are surprised by a group of ten people, none of whom want any meat, all of whom ask if they can put tofu wherever there would have been chicken. (This works well at Asian restaurants.)

Although I have a voracious appetite, I have never had a problem with weight. Being vegetarian opens the door to a whole world of adventurous food and creative cooking. I'm glad you've shared your journey with us!

6:41 PM  

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