I remember The Moment. It all happened on a summer afternoon, a day with the kind of breeze that teases early notes of fall. Beaming sun but crisp air. My brother brought home a couple of sandwiches from the local deli. He handed me my order -- turkey on whole wheat toast with lettuce, tomatoes and mustard.
I unwrapped it from its white deli paper and tore off a piece of meat, tossing it to our yellow lab, Sally. She threw it back in one, single tongue roll motion while simultaneously begging for another taste. Good dog. Then, while leaning on the kitchen island, one hand on Sally's velvety ear, I took an average bite into the sandwich. Holy hell.
That was The Moment I swore off meat for good. I'd cut red meat from my diet years prior. It never tasted good to me, only palatable with a shameful dousing of ketchup (our nation's miracle condiment). After beef was off the list, I'd appease my mom by eating bits of whatever animal protein she cooked for dinner (usually chicken), but mostly stuck to the salad bowl. But The Moment changed that. The cold cut turkey was slimy. It had an iridescent ring and felt like rotten turkey-flavored gelatin in my mouth. What was the point, anymore?
Some vegetarians ease in to their plant-based diets, but I relinquished meat cold turkey (this pun was required). Asking fellow vegetarians about their personal meat-to-kale transitions is always a fun game to play, so that's exactly what we did on HuffPost Taste. Some of our readers shared stories similar to mine, vividly recalling the last non-vegetarian food they ever ingested. Others were a little fuzzy, or they weaned off meat slowly, or they never had a bite of it in their lives. See what our readers had to say about their vegetarian lifestyles below, then share your Moment in the comments section.
— Ricola Czar (@PGHRoboticGhost) February 4, 2015
@HuffPostGreen A nasty corndog from a local county fair in Iowa. That was four years ago.
— Blake R. Rupe (@blakerupe) February 3, 2015
@HealthyLiving something traumatizing... I can't bring myself to type it
— LIV (@livkraus) February 4, 2015
@HuffPostTaste Sautéed red snapper with black beans and rice.
— Allison Brummet (@coeur_plastique) February 4, 2015
@HuffPostGreen A burger from Burger King and a chicken chimichanga from Taco Time. That was 13 years ago and I just went vegan Jan. 2015.
— Kristin (@JupitersHaze) February 3, 2015
.@HealthyLiving A very over cooked & leather-like piece of meat in 2002. Maybe a pork chop, but it's so long ago I forget exactly
— COGO (@DrinkCOGO) February 4, 2015
@HealthyLiving a burger, I think!
— Abby (@nycrunninggirl) February 4, 2015
@HealthyLiving Fish & chips but already decided to go veggie following final straw unidentifiable meats on school trip, this was 27 yrs ago.
— Elizabeth Turp (@lizahpool) February 4, 2015
@HealthyLiving I am not positive but thinking it was chicken. I do not miss it at all and do not really care to know for sure.
— Linda Ball Doughty (@LindaBallDought) February 4, 2015
@HuffPostGreen it was sooo long ago I can't even remember.
— christine scaringi (@roxberry19) February 3, 2015
@HealthyLiving: last non-vegetarian thing I ate before I became a vegetarian? Ribs at Tony Roma's in Savannah, GA on Good Friday 2002.
— Kimber S-P (@keuro) February 3, 2015
— Tyler Brown (@Tyler_Brown_env) February 4, 2015
@HuffPostGreen I don't remember, but I'd like to think it was sushi. It was 16 years ago
— Nick Roosevelt (@nroose) February 3, 2015
@HuffPostGreen yaiks! Can't remember since it was 18 years ago :) gosh I'm old!
— ElegantlyVegan Ⓥ (@ElegantlyVegan) February 3, 2015
— Emily Hill (@EmilybyNight) February 4, 2015