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I am 24 years young and have been vegetarian my whole life. As son of a vegetarian mother and a meat eating father, it had been my very own choice which path to go. However, already as a child I was disgusted by the mere thought of eating meat, and thanks to a respectful father as well as a rather astronomically thinking - yet meat eating - family, I was never forced into even trying meat. Why would one even have to try something, if there is no inner desire?
Nevertheless, already in the early days when I was in kindergarten, the teachers would not easily accept my choice and would try to force me to eat up what I was given. Excursions with overnight stays were especially tough, since I could not just skip lunch and eat whatever I would find afterwards in the kitchen. Inner strength prevailed over temporary hunger and society could not take me down.
I somehow survived kindergarten - in terms of lack of proper vegetarian nutrition - and elementary school turned out to be a little more easy going. Lunch variety was slightly bigger and would not always contain meat. Also, apart from one exception, teachers were more respectful toward one's choice of diet.
From then on, there were no particularly hard times in my life in regard to my vegetarian diet. However, there has forever been a struggle with intolerant meat eaters who always tried to convince me. Be it in restaurants, at friends' places, campgrounds, festivals, university, - name it, I have been asked to explain myself.
I am sure, thus far more than one hundred people have questioned my choice of living by asking or telling me the following:
Why are you vegetarian?
You don't know what you're missing.
I could never live without meat.
Do you eat fish/chicken? [Never understood how those were not "animals"]
Have you ever even tried meat?
Do you take some sort of supplements?
You must be sick very often.
How can you build up muscles?
Do you want to try? [Showing me any kind of meat]
This list could be continued by many more questions and smart-a** statements.
My whole life I have accepted meat-eaters and I never asked anyone to stop eating meat. I never asked anyone why he likes to eat meat and I never would even have the idea to force someone into avegetarian diet. But my whole life my vegetarian diet has been questioned in so many different ways.
For anyone who eats meat, it's fine with me, but don't even try to convert a true vegetarian into a carnivore.
I have the flu once a year and have never been subject to any other disease (apart from the usual stuff you have as a kid). Four times a week I go to the gym without taking any sort of muscle-enhancing products. I am 6'2, weigh 165 pounds and bench-press 200 pounds ten times in a row. And this it not to show off, but to display my vegetarian pride and the fact that I have never ever suffered from being vegetarian my whole life of thus far 24 years. Who knows how life would be as a meat eater, but I am a very happy and well-balanced person.
Sebastian runs an international (English, Spanish, German) YouTube channel, in which he puts all sorts of videos, funny and also deeper stuff. Some video discussing his life choice of vegetarianism will also be taken on shortly. Please go to http://www.youtube.com/user/AllAboutEthics to get connected with Sebastian.
PS. If every one of us inspired ONE person to go meatless imagine the difference we could make in ten years time. I am going to collect inspirational vegetarian/vegan stories to share with everyone. If you think your story will inspire others, please share with me by sending it to email@example.com. I will post your stories to www.veglov.com blog. I believe everyone has his/her own story, I think it must be great when we can share our stories and inspire others. Let’s make the world a better place. ~ Xiao Kang.