For us, being Veg means no red meat, no chicken, no fish. The most strict vegetarians here will not eat eggs, garlic, and onions as well, but we still indulge ourselves on those items.
Being veg has a lot of advantages for us:
-Cheaper meals (at least 20 rupees cheaper at a restaurant)
-Not worrying about if meat is going to spoil in the fridge, or if it gets left out on the counter, or if bits of bacteria are hiding in a cutting board
-Being able to freely invite others to eat our food. Many who are vegetarian here will always question what something is made of. Also, they will not want to eat off dishes that have had meat on them before, even if they are washed.
-Being Veg is seen as a practice of those who are more spiritual or religious
-After seeing where some of the meat is sold, it becomes much less appetizing
-It's usually a shock for someone to learn this about us, which always invites interesting conversation
Part of the training that we do is getting the trainees more familiar with American culture, and they are always interested in our "food habits". Here are some snippets of conversations:
"So are the Veg restaurants in the US very good?"
"Uhhh...." (I could not for the life of me think of any chain of restaurant that had only vegetarian food - help me out if you know of any!)
"The Midwest has a lot of farmland."
"What kinds of things do they grow?"
"Mainly corn and soybeans. But we don't eat those."
[confused looks] "What do you do with them?"
"Well, we feed them to our animals and then eat those."
[gasps of horror!]
"I want to know some of the famous American Vegetarian dishes."
"Umm, potato salad?"
"But there aren't any main dishes that are vegetarian?"
"Not any really common ones."
"Well what about pot roast - I've heard of that one."
"Umm, it's not exactly vegetarian..."