We, the vegans and vegetarians, all have our origin stories. It is the first question that everyone asks when they find out that you no longer eat meat. Okay, so it is the second question after, "So, where do you get your protein?" The second question is usually, "Why?"
Each of us has our own reasons. A lot of time those reasons evolve and compile into many reasons once we start learning about the lifestyle. Some people drop meat/animal products because of the health benefits or the welfare of animals, while others focus on the environment. Each one of these are valid reasons to leave behind the Standard American Diet.
Once we learn about these aspects, most vegans and vegetarians want to start preaching from the roof tops. I know I did. Family dinners become awkward and edgy, and the answer you give after someone asks you "why?" often comes across judgmental. While those efforts are simply based in passion, the pleas mostly go unheeded and rejected.
As I have become more aware of how uncomfortable most people are talking about their food and where it comes from, I have begun to learn that kindness, openness, and most of all sharing delicious food works much better than the impassioned speech.
So, when someone is genuinely interested in eating less animal products, how can you gently present them with the facts, but keep the judgment and hurt feelings in check? One excellent way is to share resources, such as Why Eat Less Meat, with them.
Why Eat Less Meat is the kind of site that walks its readers through a series of facts, studies and statistics, and challenges its readers to weigh their meat consumptions to the consequences for their health, the environment, the food industry, and the animals.
I like this site, because as the author explains in the introduction, the name-calling and feelings do little to help people see the facts and figures clearly. Why Eat Less Meat lays out the reasoning in a very organized and well-written way grouping the into the above four categories.
The site is simple, concise and not over-whelming. However, it could not be considered totally comprehensive either. So, if you are simply looking for an excellent introduction to the "Why?" question, then this is a great start.
A great quality of Why Eat Less Meat is the abundance of resources and citation. So, for those that crave further explanation or verification, each claim is well documented and clearly cited.
The site does not supply too many resources on how to go vegetarian or vegan, but it gives a perfect and open-minded jumping off point. Overall, Why Eat Less Meat is a compact and direct site that allows the reader to make their own judgments and decisions about their lifestyle and diet.
Know of any other great sites that you use for facts, or that you send veg-curious people to? Write them in the comments below!