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    • Randy Graham

    • February 6, 2013 in Columnists

    How I became a Vegetarian

     Randy Graham April 1975 La Mesa

    I gave up all meat and fish one day in August 1975. I had just started graduate school at San Diego State University and worked half time on campus in a small department library. My co-workers (all three of them) were lacto-ovo vegetarians.

    My co-workers asked if I knew anything about vegetarianism. I told them that I had taken a nutrition class as an undergraduate at U.C. Berkeley and that the majority of the class was spent learning about vegetarian diets, how to combine foods for “complete” protein, where to find foods with essential fatty acids and the importance of taking vitamin B-12 supplements if you didn’t eat meat or fish.

    I took this class because my roommate, Lol, and I didn’t really have a lot of extra cash for food. There was little if no meat in our refrigerator. Ever. We got our meat fix if we went home for the weekend or visited with friends and stayed long enough to be invited to sit with them for dinner (remind me to post about our experiences after accepting a free vegetarian meal from the Unification Church and Reverend Sun Myung Moon one night). If I was forced into a diet with little or no meat, I wanted to know what I was doing to my body. That class taught me well. The vegetarian basics and the benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle that I learned at U.C. Berkeley in 1972 have stayed with me ever since.

    After working in San Diego with my new vegetarian friends for just one week I made a commitment to eliminate meat and fish from my diet and to eat as healthy as possible. With these 3 as my support group I made the transition but it wasn’t always easy.

    Read my post next week to see what it was like to be a traveling vegetarian in California in the mid-70’s.

      • Maya North

      • February 6, 2013 at 6:45 pm
      • Reply

      I am a citizen of the 70s myself and my daughter was born in 1975 (I was almost 20–oh boy!) I have spent a great deal of time as a vegetarian, but once I became diabetic, only cheese registered with my body as a protein. My body never accepted the whole beans and rice = complete protein thing. It knew that those were two carbs and my blood sugar reacted accordingly. I have recently begun drinking a whey-based protein powder, reducing my body’s interest in meat accordingly, but I am not there. If only my physical reality matched the wishes of my conscience…

    • Two things:
      First: remind me to post about our experiences after accepting a free vegetarian meal from the Unification Church and Reverend Sun Myung Moon one night….

      Second, I run a vegetarian household. My husband and daughter are vegetarian, but I eat anything. It’s just easier to cook wholesome foods without meat. Additionally, my doctor wants me on a more vegan style diet, but due to having chickens, and loving eggs, I eat the eggs. The jury isn’t out whether or not I should be consuming milk, but I switch to almond milk like the rest of the household, sort of going back and forth.

      I look forward tor reading about your meal with the Reverend.

    • Jesse – My son and I are lacto-ovo vegetarians but my bride of 35 years is an omnivore. With our son living in San Francisco now, I will cook Robin anything she wants for dinner including meat/fish. I, however, eat only veggies, nuts, grains, fruit and a few eggs and some dairy. I wrote about my Unification Church experience for our son, Robert, in one of my many letters written to him since his birth in 1986. Had to find it! I’ll polish it up and post to iPinion for you (probably in a couple of weeks from now).

      P.S. I enjoy your columns. Especially when you write about food!

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