For some people being Vegetarian is a choice. It is an effort to go without meat and they are using will power to refrain from falling back into their old habits. It's similar to how I struggle when I'm trying to lose a few pounds. I have all good intentions and can sometimes go months and months of "being good" about it.... and then I fall off the wagon. People want to go meatless but have a hard time doing so. To those people I say "thank you for your efforts. You are making the world a better place just by trying."
For myself along with many others, being Vegetarian is not a choice. It's who we are. I am a blue eyed girl with white skin and brown hair but did not choose to look like this. I was born this way. I was born Vegetarian. So was my sister. I believe it's genetic. We are who we are. My mother never forced us to eat meat as children but she did offer it to us in our younger years. She has never been a much of a meat eater herself but always made my father his" manly meat meals." She does chicken and fish but even that is something she is very picky about. I could NOT be coaxed into eating meat poultry or fish. You could offer me all the world has to offer and I could not train myself to be a meat eater. It would be like trying to train someone who is gay to be attracted to the opposite sex. That would make no sense. I remember being in grade one and feeling nauseous by the smell of bologna sandwiches. Everyone brown-bagged it back then and no one used ice packs. The result was a class room filled with the smell of warm meat and it made me physically ill. I also had trouble on hot dog days. The smell would make me vomit and so I was a go-home-for-lunch sort of kid.
I have a meat loving husband and when he cooks bacon I can't be home. I barf every time he cooks it and I get very emotional about it. The same goes for ribs, lamb etc. I can't handle it. I am fortunate that he understand and respects who I am and will usually wait until I am out to cook. Alternatively we eat out often so he gets his meat-fix in restaurants, making it less of an issue at home. He is usually content eating vegetarian at home.
It is difficult to explain to someone who has been a meat eater their entire life why I am vegetarian. I'm often questioned about raising my children vegetarian as if I'm committing a crime. QUICK, CALL CHILD SERVICES! SHE IS FEEDING THEM A VEGETARIAN DIET!! AND HAS BEEN DOING SO SINCE BIRTH! SINCE BIRTH! LOCK HER UP! SHE'S CRAZY! Truth is, Carter is exactly like me. I can tell already he has "the vegetarian gene." He gags at the sight and smell of meat, he doesn't like anything gummy or gelatin-like and is hesitant about what he is being asked to eat and wants to know what is in it first. He loves salad, soy and asks if he can just eat extra healthy food instead of taking his multi vitamin. His body accepts him being vegetarian because he is bigger and taller than any of the kids his age. He always has been. And I mean taller by far. Callum on the other hand may just be like his Daddy. He is curious about meat and asks a lot of questions. He is disturbed by some of the truths around eating meat so I'm not sure which way he is going to go in the future. I need to be honest with myself and recognize he just may not carry the vegetarian gene. I can educate him however and always hope that he continues to be vegetarian by choice. My in-laws didn't understand it when I first met them over 16 years ago. I'm still not sure they understand it but they are tolerant about it and accommodate it. My grandmother-in-law however has to challenge it every time we have a meal together. It is very exhausting and draining having the same conversation time after time. I can't expect her to understand it. She lived in a generation where that wouldn't be acceptable. My mum has often spoken of her aunt who used to host family gatherings in Scotland. She would put out big dinners in the dining room then hide in the kitchen to eat her plate of vegetables! That generation was raised to eat what was on their plate regardless of what was being served. They were meat and potatoes people through and through and so she was an outcast. Vegetarianism is by choice for some but it's hereditary for others. I was born vegetarian.