My wife and I have been vegetarians for about ten years. Our journey has been gradual. For about fifteen years before becoming vegetarians we were removing things from our diet we felt were not healthy, such as butter, sugar, fatty meats, and sausage. We were content at that stage with replacing butter with vegetable oils, white sugar with brown sugar (and then honey), and fatty meats with lean cuts.
When we learned about foodborne diseases in meat as well as the antibiotics and hormones injected into livestock, we slowly began eliminating red meat from our diet, being satisfied at that time with fish, chicken, eggs, and milk. Then we found out about salmonella poisoning in eggs, about the way chickens are raised in factory farms, and about putrefaction in fish. In 1992 I heard a lecture by Dr. John McDougall at a health conference in which he argued that milk was not necessary for one's health. Letting go of milk was a struggle, but now we are total vegetarians, partaking only of vegetables, grains, fruits, legumes, and nuts.
Our trek was guided mostly by health reasons and only partially by ethical reasons. The religious aspect was not a consideration at all. However, being contemplative religious people, we began observing the way church people ate, mulling over what the Scriptures had to say, and asking questions about diet and spirituality. We have come to realize that a vegetarian diet is part of a whole way of being, a way of being that is physically, ethically,