You’ve heard it all before.  Becoming vegetarian – even for #MeatlessMonday, or as a #WeekdayVegetarian – achieves a whole host of potential health benefits, according to Harvard. And accomplishes many equally positive environmental benefits, as noted by The Guardian.  Benefits include:

  • Lower risk for heart disease
  • Lower risk of cancer
  • Lower risk of Type 2 diabetes
  • Reducing your personal impact on climate change
  • Reducing use of water
  • Reducing deforestation and destruction of land
  • Reducing greenhouse gasses
Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash
Vegetarian is much easier than people think. Recently. several companies have created very realistic plant-based meat alternatives that would fool even the most carnivorous consumer. Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

For many years, I’d had a lot of personal, internal struggle about my love for animals versus me personally eating animals.  (Psychologists call it “cognitive dissonance.”)  

Granted, many animals eat other animals.  Some animals eat only vegetation – the herbivores.  Some animals eat only meat – the carnivores.  Humans are capable of existing by eating either or both – omnivores.

Smiling baby piglet, ready for cuddles. Photo: “Sleeping Kunekune Piglet” by peteaylward

I will tell you what finally sold me on trying out being vegetarian.


It was the pictures.

The Puppy Floofs, aka Traveler, my puppy. He smiles because he gets all the love and attention all the time. And other animals are also cute…but they get eaten. That makes me feel sad.

It was all the photos of the beautiful, kind-faced animals and baby animals on Pinterest (and Instagram, and Facebook) every day.  Those were what kept gnawing at my psyche.  All those sweet, innocent animals, who often were smiling, in loving places, with kind people.  Compared to the faces of animals showing loneliness, pain, sadness, torture, and death in factory farming.

At the end of the day, I think about my puppy.  How sweet and happy he is, how he is an animal who lucked out by being a cute baby dog, landing in a home full of hugs and cuddles and ear scratches and belly rubs.  Instead of being a cute baby lamb, or cow, or pig, landing in another place full of loneliness, sadness, and death.

My puppy brings me feelings of instant joy, love, and happiness, every moment he is around.  He jumps up and wags his tale when I come home.  I feel like those baby lambs, goats, pigs, and cows would bring the same love and joy if I met them. They’d shake and wag their tales, too.  Their sweet faces!  And I have met them all, at fairs.  Petted them, like puppies.  So adorable!

Happy baby goat. This goat also wants cuddles and love! Photo by “Sweet Baby Girlie Goat” by Love.Sasha.Lynn

So, for me, it came down to an empathy for other caring beings who experience emotions, which mammals do.  How can I justify picking one to be lucky, and one to die?  Personally, I can’t.  To me, they all seem so cuddly in all the Pinterest photos.  It’s impossible to separate one from the other.

So last year, I only ate meat a couple times, when family made it and it seemed complicated to explain or justify my feelings of loss and sadness about eating animals. 

But this year, my 17-year-old daughter and I have both been 100% vegetarian and feel better both emotionally and physically.  Like many 17-year-olds, my daughter is gung-ho about saving the environment (thank goodness!), and was pushing me to go Veggie.

Whatever choices anyone makes are their own, and I always want to listen, learn, and empathize with ideas or values different than my own. So, this is just an explanation for why I personally decided to become vegetarian.

What thoughts do you have?  Have you decided to become vegetarian or vegan?  How did the people you care about react?  I’d love to hear your positive and insightful comments!


  • Amy Neumann

    Tech for Impact | #blockchain #AI #inclusion | Speaker | Author | Nonprofit Founder | Entrepreneur | Good + Tech = #changetheworld

    Resourceful Nonprofit, Technology Inclusion, Good Plus Tech

    Amy Neumann is a social good and technology fanatic who has been creating positive change for over two decades.  With a focus on blockchain and AI, she is a social impact entrepreneur who founded a startup nonprofit called Resourceful Nonprofit - formerly Free Tech for Nonprofits (and its subsidiary, Technology Inclusion) to help nonprofits do more of their important work faster while being inclusive as well as proactive about diversity and equity.  She is also CEO and principal of the social enterprise consultancy, Good Plus Tech, with a focus on leveraging emerging technologies and smart communication strategies to solve global social impact challenges. Amy speaks often, at places like Dell’s Social Innovation Conference, ASU’s Sustainability Conference, NTEN events, Blockland Solutions, nonprofit events, and universities.  She is widely published, including as a contributor to Forbes, an author of PR News’ Crisis Management Guidebook, and a columnist for the Huffington Post.  Because she can’t get enough of innovative world-changers, Amy also publishes on her passion project site, Amy’s 2018 Simon & Schuster book, “Simple Acts to Change the World: 500 Ways to Make a Difference,” is a tribute to the many great ideas she’s discovered on the topics of social good, social justice, equity, technology for good, and volunteering through her work and philanthropy.