Why a good vegetarian diet is important to me

My mother went vegetarian when I was weaned. I do not know why she did that; she was a farmer's daughter, knew how beef was produced and would declare she liked beef even though she had not eaten any for 20 years. My father enjoyed food, was not a vegetarian, but restricted his meat consumption at home. But then we did have the best of home grown vegetables and home cooked and baked whole foods. I had a brief teenage rebellion and ate sausages, ham and tongue, but did not like them, and did not feel I was missing anything by not eating meat.

I had a spell in my forties when I ate small amounts of chicken and fish for health reasons. It was during the couple of years before I was diagnosed with MS. I did not know what was wrong with my health and wondered if there was something lacking in my diet. There wasn't, it was MS. I also ate chicken and fish occasional during the four years John was in my life in my fifties. He was a chef, loved top quality fish and knew how to cook it. I insisted the chicken came from Pipers Farm in Exeter as they have a "Slow Food" policy.

I do have ethical views about animal welfare, and increasingly, the green issues around meat production. There is growing awareness of the extra resources needed to produce animal feeds, the threat to rain forests and greenhouse gases.

Having studied Ayurveda's lifestyle principles I am aware of the pleasurable use of herbs and spices in food and their beneficial effects on digestion.     (Judith H Morrison)

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