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Why Would Anyone Voluntarily Give Up Meat and Dairy?

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I've been happily married to grilled cheese for my entire life (although I did have an affair on the side with bubble tea). I'm a self-professed turophile (cheese lover) and even though I'm Chinese and I know General Tso Chicken isn't really Chinese food, it's the only thing I order when I go for Chinese takeout. Meat and dairy are so integral to my daily life that I don't even realize how often I eat it. At least, I hadn't noticed until I decided to become an ovo-vegetarian about a week ago.

For those not familiar with the food lingo, ovo-vegetarians are cousins of vegans. We don't eat meat and dairy, like vegans, but we do eat eggs. Why eat eggs and not dairy? Why ovo-vegetarian but not vegan?

You see, I was doing a Google search for a video of Ariana Grande's isolated vocals (don't ask), and I found out that she was a vegan by clicking on a post from People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). I subsequently clicked on an article in PETA's header titled "Animals are Not Ours to Eat, Wear, Experiment on, Use for Entertainment, or Abuse in Any Other Way." This made me realize that I want to minimize the number of deaths I am responsible for, the number of animals that feel fear at my expense. Eggs and other products like honey and milk don't directly harm animals - the way in which some farms may handle this process is what hurts them. I only made the choice to cut dairy out of my diet because it benefits my skin, not because I believe it hurts animals.

Minimizing as much fear and death I cause as possible isn't the only reason why I made this lifestyle change. My little brother, David, has many allergies. Despite the fact that he has outgrown his wheat allergy, he is still allergic to dairy eggs, fish, and nuts. He's never going to be able to go out to lunch with friends the same way I can without checking and double checking labels and ingredients. Even though I'm only a week into my ovo-vegetarian diet, I don't think I ever fully understood the feeling of unfairness my brother had to deal with until now. I made a choice to cut dairy and meat out of my diet, but he never did. At least now he finally has someone who has more dietary restrictions than he does that he can lord over.

I might complain in the following weeks over how my long marriage with grilled cheese has finally split (I'll say, "And it wasn't even my affair with bubble tea that did it!"), but I'm pretty confident I'll stay strong. If you aren't vegetarian, ovo-vegetarian, vegan, or another member of the family, there's no reason why you should be ashamed. One animal eating another is a cycle of life. Just make sure you buy all your meat and animal products from ethical and cruelty-free farms.
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