I often get asked why I went vegetarian. I usually tell people that I don't like the taste of meat, which is accurate, but not the full story. For me, it was not a difficult struggle, where I went through meat cravings or felt like I was missing something by not eating meat. But it was a little bit of a journey to get to being a "real" vegetarian. There was one turning point that helped begin the process for me: when I was around 12 years old, I remember going to a fancy grocery store with my mom; when we walked by the meat counter and I saw the entire raw leg of some fairly large animal, that was it. I was like, aaaaaand, I'm done. Combined with my love of animals, the visual of the leg was enough to set me over the edge. However, I did continue to eat chicken for a few years after that through my teens, if for no other reason than to keep my mother sane while I was still living at home. But after going off to college, and reading the book "Skinny Bitch," I decided I couldn't stomach chicken either.
For a while after that, I was pescetarian- meaning I ate fish- although technically, I only ate "non-fishy tasting" fish, and rarely (I've never really fit into neat little categories!). I ended up cutting out all fish as well, and became full vegetarian (meaning no fish, chicken, or other meat whatsoever). I have also experimented with a vegan diet (additional thoughts on that here), and while currently dairy is part of my diet, I can't say for sure it always will be. I have a lot of respect for the vegan lifestyle (meaning no animal products whatsoever); but I also believe in balanced, healthy eating, and that that can be carved out in different ways for different people.
There are as many different variations to the vegetarian diet- including vegan, lacto-vegetarian, ovo-vegetarian- as there are reasons people become vegetarian.
Over the years I'm finding it is getting much, much easier to be vegetarian; it's more common, there are more options, and non-veggie people are more willing to believe that it's not all about just eating tofu, as I'll hope you'll find on recipes on this site...
For more thoughts on vegetarian eating, click here. Also see posts labeled "food/life."