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Tips From a Bacon-Loving Vegetarian

If I can make friends with a vegetable, then so can you.

Collage by Ruby

Growing up, I tried multiple times to become a vegetarian with little success. Animal rights interested me, but eating meat was so ingrained in my daily routine that I didn’t know how to give it up. Family dinners centered on mashed potatoes and meat loaf. Big Macs were a road trip staple. And bacon—oh god, bacon. I can’t count the number of heart-to-hearts I’ve had with friends at 24-hour diners over that salty breakfast staple. While I knew in theory that food and experience were two different things, in practice, it was a lot harder to actually separate. Plus, bacon is just delicious.

I had a few friends who had successfully gone the way of tofu and would ask them how they did it. Most of their replies were the same. “I dunno,” they’d tell me, “I never really liked meat to begin with.” This made no sense to me—had they never had chicken wings? Elsewhere, the only major animal-rights group I knew of appealed very little to me, using sexism and racism to “raise awareness” for their cause (I’m not naming names, but let’s just say this organization sounds like a love interest in The Hunger Games). (OK, it’s PETA.)

I’m pleased to say that I have since been successfully vegetarian pretty solidly for more than two years now. There are probably many of you out there considering going veg yourself. Maybe you read something on factory farming that grossed you out, or looked into the health and environmental benefits of a vegetarian diet. Whatever your reasons, deciding to give up meat is way easier than actually doing it. If going vegetarian overnight just isn’t an option, I’ve compiled a list of tips (with the help of my Rookie co-workers) that will help with the transition.

Plan ahead.

Before you make any major changes to your diet, it’s important to do some research. If you have any health concerns, talk to your doctor. Cutting out meat is more complicated than eating hamburger buns without the patties—you need to make sure you’re eating the right kinds of food and getting all the main groups covered. Look for new protein sources like tofu, lentils, and tempeh. Tofu is especially versatile and is used in a lot of vegetarian recipes, but there are also a lot of protein sources in the foods that you might already eat regularly. Nuts? Full of protein. Beans are also great (burritos from Chipotle are my personal favorite).

Sometimes you might just crave the taste of a hamburger. There are a lot of great meat substitutes out there that mimic the taste of burgers—and chicken nuggets, and cold cuts, and, yes, bacon. Almost everybody I know swears by Morningstar Farms (I always stock up when I’m in the United States). Yves Veggie Cuisine is my go-to brand—their veggie burgers are to die for. Boca, Zoglo’s, and Amy’s are all reputable brands, and you should try a few out to find which you prefer. Most of these are easy to cook and make good meat substitutes in your regular meals.

Perhaps you are still living at home and eating a lot of your parents’ cooking. Rachael wrote a great article about seeking your parents’ support when going vegetarian. If you don’t already, maybe it’s time to look into preparing your own meals. Vegetarian cooking might seem intimidating, but there are some pretty simple dishes that you can learn to master without going full-Martha. Chickpeas and lentils are cheap and easy to boil and/or purée—they’re great on their own or in salads. Grilled cheese and stir-fry were my staples at the beginning. (Cut up some tofu, fry in oil with whatever veggies you have, add some soy sauce, and bam.) I usually keep pita, veggie turkey slices, and tubs of hummus in the fridge for easy snacking, and cans of lentil soup in the cupboard for when I’m feeling really low-key. If you feel like getting into more sophisticated meals and are looking for free recipes, check out the links from our staffers below or go to your public library—they have cookbooks!

The options for vegetarian meals are literally endless (well, not literally, but you know what I mean). Jessica doesn’t really care for a lot of meat substitutes and so swears by Deborah Madison’s cookbook. If you’re a picky eater, eating food you’re used to but prepared a different way and dressed up with spices might appeal to you (see: my relationship with sweet potato fries).

Here are some favorite veggie recipes from the Rookie staff: quinoa chili (Anna), farfalle with mushrooms and parmesan (Hannah), black-sesame otsu (Leeann), quick cashew curry (Leeann), potato gratin (Phoebe), spinach with garbanzo beans (Shelby), and Southwest sweet potato chickpea delight (Stephanie).

Start slow.

I’m not going to make a joke about quitting cold turkey, because we are all too good for that. But seriously, if you are somebody who eats a lot of meat on a regular basis, you might want to begin by cutting back how much you consume. Try eating meat once a day, then once every other day, then once a week. Or start by cutting out only red meat, then poultry, and then seafood. It might help to give yourself a few deadlines so you can anticipate each transition. Make a list of every step in your vegetarian plan (I’m a big fan of lists), and put a mark on your calendar every couple of weeks or so when you want to hit the next step.

When I was starting, I tried to find the easiest possible places to cut out meat and took it from there. Grabbing a regular slice of pizza instead of a pepperoni one from the school cafeteria was way easier than trying to plan a whole meal. Try to find areas where you can make easy substitutions. When preparing a sandwich, could you use a veggie meat or a grilled vegetable instead of ham? Does the fast food place you go to have a veggie-burger option? Making these small transitions helped me get ready for a meatless existence, because I was already getting used to the taste of new foods.

Anticipate the hurdles.

Some of the biggest difficulties when going vegetarian include figuring out what you can eat when dining with others. In these post-Paul McCartney times of ours, most restaurants already have plenty of vegetarian options. But it never hurts to be prepared. Jamie, who is full-on vegan (I know, I know, I’m impressed, too), looks at menus on the restaurants’ websites before she goes out so she knows what she can eat. Call ahead—many restaurants will accommodate vegetarians even if there aren’t any options on the menu. Kelly keeps Boca burgers in her freezer so that she always has something easy to eat during a family dinner. I usually bring my own veggie burgers to barbecues for the same reason.

Sometimes you might be in a situation where, even though you tried to plan ahead, there just aren’t any great choices available. If there’s an event that you don’t want to miss but at which you know you won’t be able eat (say, a friend’s birthday at her favorite restaurant), eat beforehand so that you can get away with a side dish. It’s not always easy. I keep a couple of protein bars in my purse so I don’t go hungry. If you’re with friends, it doesn’t hurt to casually say something like, “Hey, there’s not a lot on the menu for me. Can we try someplace else?”

One of the trickiest parts for me was getting over the associations I had made between meat and family dinners or special occasions. One of the first times I had unsuccessfully tried to go vegetarian, I cracked on Christmas at the smell of turkey. Food can be closely tied with cultural celebrations. However, look into starting new traditions. I taught myself to make vegetarian curries (have you ever TRIED mutter paneer?) and would invite my grandparents over to dinner, which helped me reconnect with my Indian heritage. Of course, “culture” and “tradition” mean something different to each and every person. Maybe you’ll bond with your mom or dad by cooking alongside them in the kitchen for holiday meals. Or introduce your family to an entirely new dish. As I eventually learned, there are plenty of other great things to eat on Christmas. Like, a lot.

Cut yourself some slack.

It may not be realistic for you to become a vegetarian, at least right now. Maybe you have health problems that are already severely restricting your diet. Maybe your parents don’t want to support you, and you can’t afford to buy your own groceries. Maybe you live in a neighborhood where fresh meatless food is hard to come by. Maybe you’re just a really picky eater trying your darndest to love hummus and fruit. If this is the case but you are still passionate about vegetarianism, there are smaller things you can do. Make little changes to your diet where you can, and start collecting recipes to try when you eventually move out on your own.

Even if you are able to become a vegetarian, you still might have a few slip-ups here and there. If that happens, don’t stress! Giving in to a craving a few times at the beginning and eating a Big Mac doesn’t have to be cause for calling the whole thing off—just start again the next day. Many of my friends who have been vegetarians for years still slip up now and then (including yours truly), so don’t think that if you’re not a strict vegetarian 100% of the time, then you’re a total fraud. Know that the longer you go without meat, the fewer and farther between those cravings will become. And before you know it, you’ll be the vegetarian you want to be.

Welcome to the dark side. We have soy burgers. ♦


72 Comments

  • MissKnowItAll April 6th, 2012 7:24 PM

    I’ve been a vegetarian since birth and I don’t plan on giving it up anytime soon. I’m very healthy and I don’t get it when people look at me and say “honey you need to eat some meat :.

  • thefawnboy April 6th, 2012 7:25 PM

    reading this as i have yves
    : )

  • marit April 6th, 2012 7:26 PM

    this article is awesome! i’ve been a vegetarian my whole life, but i’m trying to transition to veganism (for ethical/environmental reasons) and so this advice is still really relevant:) i’m lucky because i live in an area where vegetarianism is common, so usually there are veggie options, but vegan is still hard (i’ve noticed lately that cheese is in EVERYTHING. also, i usually have to bake for myself if i’m craving a cookie or something.)

    faux style.

    p.s. jamie – is it tough eating vegan in college?
    p.p.s. that curry dish looks really good.

  • KinuKinu April 6th, 2012 7:32 PM

    This was a very awesome article.I’ve been a vegetarian for…hmmmm…..eleven years of my life.I was raised a vegetarian.And then 2 years ago my dad started having headaches and getting dizzy and such.The rest of my family wasn’t feeling weird.Turns out he was having an iron deficiency,from the lack of meat or whatever.So,that’s when I turned into a omnivore.I really tried to back to being a full on vegetarian again,but I couldn’t.I was like ‘not going to eat this turkey tonight.’ and then my mom goes ‘This TURKEY is ………(after a swallow)…..so good’
    And then I try it and eat the whole thing.Maybe I’ll try again now that I’ve got Rookie’s help :D Reading about Peta was VERRRRY interesting….I’m surprised

  • Daisy April 6th, 2012 7:34 PM

    This was made for me.

  • filmfatale April 6th, 2012 7:49 PM

    I love the fake meat, so I feel like a hypocrite bringing this up, BUT…there’s a fair amount of controversy over the environmental problems that come from making fake meat products like veggie burgers, not-dogs, tofurkey, etc.

    There’s a good article here:
    http://blisstree.com/eat/fake-meat-industry-bad-for-the-environment-519/

    As much as I enjoy Boca burgers, the best thing to do is eat more vegetables and less fake meat. Just FYI. :)

    • Anna F. April 6th, 2012 8:02 PM

      Thanks for the information!

    • Johann7 April 9th, 2012 5:17 PM

      Yeah, go for a responsible, local producer if at all possible. Here in Milwaukee we have The Simple Soyman, which is awesome. Scout out options in your area.

      Also, that article you link has, as its primary source (2 links deep), a Mother Jones article that cites exactly one comparative study suggesting that vegitarian diets might not be better, and poorly. The MJ article links the study claiming, “A 2009 study by the Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology found that while producing a plate of peas requires a fraction of the energy needed to produce the same number of calories of pork, the energy costs of a pea-burger and a pork chop are about equal.” While that’s true – the energy cost for making the pea-burger was very slightly less than that of the pork chops – the other environmental impacts still make the meatless option better (less greenhouse gas production, less water used, fewer environmental toxins). The rest was unsupported claims form lobbying and interest groups (on all sides of the issue), all of which is suspect without actual data to back the claims.

      Basically, when all factors are equal (organic or not, local or not, heavily-processed or not) between meat and meatless options, in the very worst case the meatless option is about as ‘bad’ as the meat option, and in most cases it’s better. While hunting a deer or getting some local, organic, grass-fed beef could be more environmentally sustainable than a heavily-processed soy burger, it’s not clear that it is, and in any comparison of similarly-produced products, plants are more sustainable than meat.

      • glimic April 11th, 2012 11:59 AM

        Making your own veggie burgers is not hard, and you can do so using easily obtained ingredients. Spend a Sunday afternoon prepping a double batch, fry, bake, or grill them all, wrap them in Saran wrap and freeze them for a quick meal. It’s insanely inexpensive compared to some of the frozen options at health food stores, and they taste WAY better!

        http://ohsheglows.com/2011/07/13/our-perfect-veggie-burger/
        This is one of my favorite and it’s easily customized to your tastes!

        I’d also love to point out that Pinterest is an awesome source for vegetarian recipes.
        I find new and delicious options all the time! :)

        http://pinterest.com/glimic/

  • clarapop April 6th, 2012 7:52 PM

    Sweeeeet! I run an all vegan online bakery, claracakes.com :) check it out! Being vegan is pretty difficult at first, but honestly the best thing decision I’ve ever made. Vegan junk food exists, and it’s seriously amazing now, so many awesome alternative options!

  • tinklebot5000 April 6th, 2012 8:00 PM

    This article was awesome! :) I really appreciate that you weren’t all judgemental and like, “EATING MEAT WILL SEND YOU TO HELLLL!” You’ve made me seriouslyyyyy consider becoming a vegetarian :) :)

  • Sugar April 6th, 2012 8:06 PM

    also theppk.com

    and Field Meats Co.., is really good.

    Another thing to know is that most cheeses are not Vegetarian friendly, because they use rennet, which is taken from dead cows stomachs… which I guess some Veg’s don’t mind, but it wierds me out… Anyway, Annie’s uses vegetarian rennet, so there you go!! Make their Mac and cheese with Earth Balance and Soy yoghurt…mmm

    (sorry for the terrible typing, I have wet nails! )

    Good luck everyone! Sometimes it takes a few go’s at it to hit your veg stride.

    • Sugar April 6th, 2012 8:08 PM

      err… Field Roast Grain Meat co!!

  • saltwater April 6th, 2012 8:10 PM

    ahhh, will definitely be trying out all of the staff reccomended recipes. the cashew curry looks AWESOME as does the nacho/sweet potato/chickpea thing.

  • Kathryn April 6th, 2012 8:20 PM

    I’ve gone a few times being veg, but it only ever lasted a couple of months. Now I try to mostly only eat meat that my dad hunts (we are Minnesotan) instead of processed meat.

  • Yellie April 6th, 2012 8:39 PM

    LOL I actually never really like meat that much.
    I slowly and unconsciously went off all meat except chicken, then realized i hated cooking with meat and ditched it all together.
    Plus fake meat!? kinda gross… TOFURKY is evil incarnate!

  • ielo_x3 April 6th, 2012 8:53 PM

    Boca and Gardein are the way to go. Cheap and I swear to god that those “grilled burger” thingies from Boca taste like the real thinngggg. Had one (okay, two) for the first time earlier today. Unf. So good.

  • Tana April 6th, 2012 8:59 PM

    I recently went completely vegan and it is not EASY, but it isn’t hard either you know? I love meat, and I loveloveloveeee cheese and the gooey delicious….ugh.

    But like, and some point I had to make a decision about which was more important to me, yummy stuff, or lives. Thinking that the only way to get the right amount of vitamins and to stay happy and healthy is to kill and eat other creatures just seems odd.

    I totally recommend every one watch the doc Forks Over Knives. It is such a rad source of information.

  • Caden April 6th, 2012 9:12 PM

    I’ve been a vegetarian for six years now with no ‘slip ups’ at all. Before I loved eating meat but now the idea of eating meat makes me feel sick. New vegetarians seem to worry that rejecting meat will be a constant battle – but for many of us the urge just disappears!

    Also fake meats are just as good. Hungry Jacks/Burger King and Oporto make great vege burgers if you’re wanting a fast food fix :P.

  • EM. Halliburton April 6th, 2012 9:16 PM

    My boyfriend’s dad showed him this great trick with provolone cheese – if you fry it (I think little to no oil is best) it crisps up and is honestly the most convincing bacon substitute I’ve tried. Deelish.

  • hazeleyedgirl April 6th, 2012 9:22 PM

    I’ve been a veggie for three years. And don;t get em wrong, I LOVE MEAT. But for me it was almost too easy to give it up. I just… did. So even though I walk into a cafe and say ‘wow, I really want some bacon’ I’d never actually eat it. I guess I just have a lot of will power.

  • 3LL3NH April 6th, 2012 9:35 PM

    I’ve been quasi-veg for three years now and this made me consider cutting out poultry as well, so thanks for all the options mentioned.

    I thought I’d ask though, does anyone have suggestions on what to do about things like gelatin and rennet (as mentioned above), and other things that aren’t obvious, but still meat products?

    • Anaheed April 6th, 2012 10:16 PM

      I find gelatin pretty easy to avoid (though watch out for stuff like Altoids, which have animal products in them!). I eat dairy and fish now, but I was once a vegan, and there are a million websites that list stuff that contains sneaky animal ingredients. Here’s a short list: http://www.nomeatathlete.com/non-vegetarian-foods/

  • aliceee April 6th, 2012 9:35 PM

    I used to be a vegetarian but had to pause this year, unfortunately. I really miss it– I felt sooo much healthier & ate much tastier food.

    My favorite fake meat is Trader Joe’s microwave corndogs. THEY ARE AMAZING.

  • SparklyVulcan April 6th, 2012 9:55 PM

    Vegetarian with vegan tendencies and proud!! :) Here’s my new veggie blog: mashedpotatoes.blogspot.com

  • Nikkita April 6th, 2012 10:24 PM

    I’ve been pescetarian because of ethical reasons for roughly four years now and I don’t plan on giving it up any time soon. The first couple months were definitely the hardest. Going vegetarian is a big change and it really tests your self control not to get that big mac or to put bacon on your bagels. When I first decided to go vegetarian my family kind of supported it, but at the same time they were trying to tempt me back in to the ‘normal’ diet. I managed to compromise by adopting pescetarianism instead as she was worried about my iron levels and we both knew I could never manage swallowing those horrible omega 3 tablets! I think the second day they pulled out chicken enchiladas for dinner (my favourite!) and it KILLED me not to eat any.

    Another tip is to ask everywhere you go whether they have any vegetarian options, because you may be surprised. BK has a salad burger which has onion rings instead of a patty, but it isn’t found on their menu board. (This is in NZ, I’m not sure what they have anywhere else)

    I applaud anyone who is vegan, my gosh! I love cheese way too much :P

  • Veganpop April 6th, 2012 10:52 PM

    I’ve been vegan for 3 years and this is great advice! For veganism, I’d suggest taking it one step at a time. Give up eggs, then butter, etc.

  • Adrienne April 6th, 2012 10:54 PM

    I’m not vegetarian… I kind of wish I am one but I just can’t give up the meat! But I truly admire vegetarians.

    Although I still eat meat, I love love love falafels!!! They’re the best things ever. If there is a Maoz near you, go check it out because you basically get a pita wrap with a few falafel balls inside. Then you can put an infinite amount of toppings (really yummt veggies and sauce) from the buffet-like set up and is just delish! CHECK THEM OUT
    http://www.maozusa.com/

    http://theaverageasiangirl.blogspot.com

  • leylag April 6th, 2012 11:46 PM

    ive been vegetarian kind of vegan my whole life and love it
    theveganstoner.blogspot.com is a really cute recipe blog that has really nice illustrations and is super easy!

  • madpie April 7th, 2012 12:50 AM

    Hey guys.
    I’ve been a vegetarian for years due to the ethical implications and I was also a vegan for about half a year.
    I want to say that although beans, nuts, soy protein, etc. are all incredibly good for you- the idea vegetarians can only get enough protein from these foods is a MYTH. Research shows humans get enough protein from vegetables alone. According to official sources: “We need only 2.5 to 10% of our calories from protein” and all vegetables have more than that. (On average 22 percent)
    http://michaelbluejay.com/veg/protein.html
    Even iceburg lettuce is a complete protein!
    So if you’re on the fence about becomming a vegetarian because you “don’t like nuts and beans” (It’s okay, I don’t either) then jump right in, simply eat good, wholesome food, and whenever someone asks you “how do you get enough protein?” (and they will) inform them that the celery you’re eating has more than enough.

  • Susann April 7th, 2012 1:30 AM

    I’ve been a vegetarian for so many years now… it just has adapted to my life and all started when my mother and grandma stopped eating meat when I still ate it. I think that made the entire process of becoming a vegetarian a lot easier for me and I won’t ever go back.

    http://fashioninpepperland.blogspot.com

  • poppunkgurrrlx April 7th, 2012 1:32 AM

    okay, so I understand how PETA is sexist, but how is it racist? just curious :0

    • Johann7 April 9th, 2012 5:37 PM

      They’ve compared non-human-animal captivity to chattel slavery in the US. This is seen as racist by people who consider non-human animals to be ‘lesser’ creatures, as it implicitly makes the opposite comparison, though from their viewpoint the comparison is not *intended* to be denigrating (sort of – I’ve yet to hear how they think they’re going to convince non-human animals to stop exploiting other animals, and if they don’t want to, then they’re admitting that there IS a difference between humans and non-human animals, in which case the slavery comparison is offensive). There are also racialized class differences in access to e.g. vegan products and diets, such that banning/criminalizing animal products would have significantly worse impacts on Black and Latino populations here in the US, on average.

      There may be other issues of which I’m unaware, as I don’t pay a lot of attention to PETA – their worldview is pretty broken (the only way a global human population greater than a few tens of thousands managed to survive was through domestication of animals for food and labor; we now use rapidly-dwindling supplies of fossil fuels instead of animal labor in most cases, and ditching both would mean about 7 billion – and growing – people would suddenly find themselves without a means of survival), and I don’t even think their conclusions or methods follow from their worldview.

  • Maialuna April 7th, 2012 1:48 AM

    I’ve been thinking about pescetarianism– I have need for a lot of omega-3 in my diet, and most kinds of fish are generally more healthy than red meat or poultry, etc. I would want to find places to buy responsibly caught and local fish though.
    But possibly this biggest thing about being a full-out vegetarian… I FREAKING LOVE TUNA. I eat it for multiple meals per day on occasion. *sheepish face*

  • juliette April 7th, 2012 1:54 AM

    This is great :) I’m really glad Rookie is promoting this. Everyone should become vegetarian!
    A big thing for people to remember is where the meat is coming from. I think often people don’t connect the animal with the food, and eat ignorantly.

  • LermWorm April 7th, 2012 1:59 AM

    Bacon used to be my LIFE-BLOOD, but I’ve successfully been vegetarian for about eight months now. My only problem with this article is that it seems to put a lot of emphasis on fake meat/soy/tempeh stuff. The thing is;meat substitutes aren’t necessary. (I’ve actually read they’re kind of bad for you). There are soooo many filling options besides fake meat (mushrooms, beans, peppers, quinoa) that are much more essential to a balanced diet. Plus, they’re way more interesting to eat!

  • girlnamedsarah April 7th, 2012 2:31 AM

    Awesome article. Hola to my fellow vegos! I really recommend reading ‘Eating Animals’ by Jonathan Safran Foer which is a really insightful read on meat in general. It’s not preachy at all- just amazingly honest and open. Please read it if you’re a carnivore/omnivore/herbivore- it’s actually so good.

    • marit April 7th, 2012 11:05 PM

      agreed. that book completely changed how i look at food.

  • mayaautumn April 7th, 2012 2:38 AM

    this was really interesting to read, though i don’t intend to switch to the ‘veggie side’ anytime soon! giving up roast dinners would be.. harder than, like trying to work out algebra! but a couple of my friends are full time vegetarians which is cool having someone with different kinda views to hang around with. (they say opposites attract!)

    http://cottonmixblog.blogspot.com

  • Gretchyn April 7th, 2012 3:25 AM

    I’m really happy this a post on Rookie. I’ve been a veg for almost four years now + while I’m not completely vegan, I’ve cut out dairy from my diet IMMENSELY compared to how much cheese/milk I used to eat about a year ago. That’s progress to me :)

    Support to all the veggies out there trying to make a change. Love y’all.

  • DitzyMo April 7th, 2012 3:34 AM

    Been a veggie all my life :) Another thing that can substitue your meat is mockmeat, this is made out of soya, and can be equally as appetizing. So when you have a craving for chicken, just bring on the mock chicken. I know this isn’t the point of being vegetarian, but it is good for people who just start. You can buy this usually in any grocery store.

  • DitzyMo April 7th, 2012 3:39 AM

    But I do warn, mock meat (soya) isn’t something to have everyday, just those days you have cravings. IT has been proven to be okay, not unhealthy as such, but not great.

  • caitlinand April 7th, 2012 4:03 AM

    i cant even stand the idea of eating meat anymore after watching a few documentaries that left me shaking and sobbing in my bed (great saturday night he-llo boyz) but it worked out ok for me because i have a lot of vegetarian foods anyway (lentil burgers, soy sausages) because i like it and meat never really appealed to me anyway (MINUS BACON)

    socksanddocs.blogspot.com
    [shameless self promotion]

  • TinaBallerina April 7th, 2012 4:08 AM

    I’m not vegetarian, but I plan to be soon. When I was younger I loved meat, but lately I’ve gone off it, especially with chicken. seriously, chicken tastes terrible.

    I’m in an enviroemtal organisation, and SO many people there are vegans or veggies. At our gatherings and seminars I always eat veggie, since it’s so easy there. I am seriously considering to cut out meat but eat some fish. My dad fishes quite a lot, but he also loves to make veggie asian dishes.

    I’ve also realised that vegetables tastes way better than any meat. It’s a fact.

  • diamonddogs April 7th, 2012 5:37 AM

    I tried to become vegetarian a few months ago and it was going quite well (besides the fact i’m a terrible cook and had to make my own food). However i realised the amount of meat my family was buying wasn’t any less and thus not making ANY impact… i was gutted. So now im vegetarian just one month a week with the whole of my family and we all make an effort to get our meat from the butchers (its easy to get it cheaper because my mother’s a milf).

  • Sparletta April 7th, 2012 6:09 AM

    I’m a kanga-pescetarian, which means the only meat I consume is either seafood or kangaroo. Why kangaroo you may ask? Because it’s the most ethical type of meat in Australia, environmentally. I can’t go full out vegetarian at the moment because I have iron issues and I live with omnivores, but perhaps in the future when I’m living by myself I will :)

  • karastarr32 April 7th, 2012 6:25 AM

    YES BEAN BURRITOS FROM CHIPOTLE!!!!!!!!!!

  • Elinnn April 7th, 2012 7:08 AM

    For a couple of years ago I wanted to be a vegetarian, and so I was for like 2 days. The problem for me then was that no one else in my family ate veggie-food and I was like 11 years old and couldn’t cook so much. But now I have been a vegetarian for over a year and for me and this time it wasn’t any problems because my older brother became a vegetarian too, so we started to cook together. And If I miss meat? Not at all! Great article by the way! :)

  • izzybee April 7th, 2012 9:13 AM

    I’ve been a vegetarian all my life and so have my sisters and cousins, my dad eats meat so I’m used to it but I still think being a vegetarian is the way to go! It’s really annoying when people are like ‘you’re not getting enough goodness’ I’m just like ‘I’ve lived like this all my life and fine!’ there are loads of substitutes like quorn and tofu, give it a go! x

  • kendallakwia April 7th, 2012 12:49 PM

    Great article! When I went veggie I was surprised to find out how easy it was! Also surprisingly, the hardest part about it was that my friends actually tried to make me feel BAD about being a vegetarian. Some people are actually quite rude about it. But anyway, rice and beans is my staple meal.

  • Sputnick April 7th, 2012 3:39 PM

    I told my friends I was considering vegetarianism, and they laughed at me because -apparently- I would fit waay to many stereotypes if I did that (the woes of being a queer girl).

  • elyon61 April 7th, 2012 5:27 PM

    I actually got on here today looking for good vegetarian dishes for Passover, but I’m glad this is on here, too. I swear this exact post exists on any site that mentions vegetarianism, and it’s great, but people often make just straight out quitting meat seem like the most difficult thing EVER.

    I just wanna say that I really did just get up one day and stop eating meat and it wasn’t that hard, even though I live in a tiny Midwestern town. That was 6 years ago, and when I enter college I plan on going vegan the exact same way.

    I understand that some people have health problems or family situations that make going vegetarian hard, but I want everyone to consider that going vegetarian cold turkey can be just as easy as going veg gradually.

  • Pashupati April 7th, 2012 5:30 PM

    One would also wonder if there are sort of IRL or online vegan support group for people with eating disorders? Since it can be harder in such a situation (even if you’re recovering/recovered), yet one might still want to become vegan or just vegetarian.

  • camille April 7th, 2012 6:03 PM

    I’m not a complete vegetarian, although I do have a mostly vegetarian diet. I haven’t seen anyone sharing this link in he comments yet, so I thought I would: you really should have a look at 101cookbooks.com
    It’s been my go-to recipe site ever since I moved on my own, and most of the recipes are really easy to make/tweak to fit whatever you have in the fridge. What I really like about it is that the recipes aren’t treated as “meat-less food” but as “delicious meals that happen not to have meat in them”.

  • darksideoftherainbow April 7th, 2012 7:24 PM

    this article is super amazing. i’ve never tried to be a vegetarian but i don’t eat any meat during lent and having options that are accessible to you are totally key. lent isn’t super long but i have an iron deficiency and i always feel when i’m low on protein like, immediately. hummus was by far the best thing for me to eat. i’m lucky bc my mom makes it for me and packages for me to take to work. also, i was reading about the health benefits of sunflower seeds so she grinds them up and mixes them in with the hummus. it’s so delicious and really gives me great energy.

    awesome post!!

  • kaylafay April 7th, 2012 8:04 PM

    I was a vegetarian for three years and I just recently went back to chicken and fish and I have a lot more energy now.

  • purplebabaushka April 8th, 2012 8:09 AM

    Can’t wait to show this to my bacon loving aspiring vegatarian sister- she’ll be so happy!

    http://purplebabaushka.wordpress.com/

  • MissKnowItAll April 8th, 2012 8:52 AM

    A fair warning to new vegans out there. Check the packageing and labels at grocery stores. A lot of things have egg and gelatin. I’m able to avoid because there are a lot of good egg substitutes. When making cakes or pancakes you can substitute flaxseed or apple sauce for egg. Instead of eating scrambled eggs you can eat scrambled tofu.

  • Juniper April 8th, 2012 3:29 PM

    When I read the word “hummus” I had to do a doubletake because at first I thought it said “and tubs if HUMAN in the fridge for easy snacking…”

  • EnidEnvy April 9th, 2012 9:15 AM

    i think if you are trying to be a vegetarian, that is awesome! but if you occasionally indulge in meat products, you are not a vegetarian. you are just a person who enjoys a vegetarian diet.

    as far as fake meat goes, i fully encourage people to make their own seitan and veggie burgers from scratch. most of the veggie burgers listed here are really not that good for you. theyre just vegetarian junk food. look at all of those ingredients!

    mash together some chick peas, black beans and pinach and hold them all together with a little flour and bake. way healthier and super yummy!

    i think switching to a vegetarian diet is a lot more than morning star farms products, grilled cheese, and cheese pizzas. that is totally unhealthy.

  • jadeione April 9th, 2012 10:32 AM

    Hey, If some of you are having trouble convincing you’re parents that you should be vegetarian, I have some tips since I was in the same situation. My parents were not on board with having to make meat-free meals all of a sudden, so I offered them 2 ways to help out the transition:
    1. I decided to cut out one type of meat at a time. I started with letting go of red meat, then I cut out pork, then I eliminated poultry, then I took out fish and other seafood. I did this over a 3 month period. This helped get my parents accustomed to limiting the things they put in my meals. It also gave them a longer time to adjust to my vegetarianism.
    2. I agreed to make 2 vegetarian meals a week in those first 3 months, so we could find recipes we liked, and eliminate the ones we hated. This also helped my mom and I bond since we were had to go find recipes together, and look through old cook books for good ones.

    I have been successfully vegetarian for 4 years, and though I may crave the occasional chicken wing, I haven’t even thought of eating red meat or pork in 3 years. I hope your transition into vegetarianism was as smooth as mine!

  • Eiros April 9th, 2012 11:29 AM

    Love this article! Its totally true. Ive been a vegetarian for most of the last 10 years of my life and have struggled with trying to be a vegetarian in my parents house, the boyfriend’s house, and living overseas.
    I’m not always a perfect vegetarian (still eat the occasional homemade meatball on holidays) but knowing you can go without meat for days, weeks, and months at a time is a good feeling, and suprisingly simple. After all this time I can easily say I go meatless without even thinking about it. It becomes a lot easier!

  • Johann7 April 9th, 2012 5:57 PM

    I can definitely see going meatless being a challenge with unsupportive parents, especially to do so healthily, as just not eating meat from meals they’re preparing could leave one lacking key nutrients. I got lucky – my parents were happy to make meatless meals or cook the meat separately from the rest of the food for dishes where they wanted it (e.g. pasta with olives, artichokes, broccoli, and mushrooms for me, pasta with all that plus chicken for my dad, simply adding the chicken to the base dish). It helps to integrate food traditions/cultures where meat doesn’t constitute the entirety of a dish, like pastas, casseroles, stews, stir fries, etc. and can be added separately, versus something like pork chops, where the meal is a slab of meat with maybe some vegetables, legumes, or grains as a side.

    Indian, Arabian, and some East Asian cooking traditions also have a LOT of meatless-and-delicious dishes. Both my parents still eat meat, but a lot less of it, even with me out of the house. While I’m not *technically* vegetarian – I eat dead animals on occasion if I or someone I personally know went out into the wild and hunted them – I rarely eat meat, and while I still think some smells good, I don’t really ever crave it (and some stuff I used to eat has lost all appeal). Also, if you’re going veg for environmental or health reasons (not ‘animal rights’), there’s no reason to feel bad if you slip up or indulge occasionally – eating a lot less meat is still a better choice in terms of health and the environment, even if it’s not none. Also, lentils are the best ever.

  • annamalous April 9th, 2012 10:05 PM

    heck to the yes, veg!

    i’m vegan (for ethical, health, and environmental reasons), and it frustrates me when people are like “don’t you miss [insert animal product here]?” and then get a grossed out look on their faces when i say that there are vegan substitutes. there are some REALLY good (DELICIOUS) ones out there, and they’re healthier, most of the time.

  • annamalous April 9th, 2012 10:06 PM

    P.S.: great post :3

  • julalondon April 10th, 2012 7:48 AM

    I’ve been a vegetarian for 4 years now and whenever someone asks how i say exactly what your friends did: “Dunno, i never really liked meat…” Haha..

  • RachelTri April 14th, 2012 5:50 PM

    I’ve only been vegetarian for probably a year and a half. I fall into the group that went vegetarian because “I never really liked meat to start with”, and then later on it became more about the animals and the environment.

    Great tips! And good luck to everyone who’s giving it a shot. :)

  • ReneeRevolution May 1st, 2012 12:15 PM

    Fabulous article! I decided about a month and a half ago to stop eating meat (except seafood). It’s been easier than anticipated, but I still have some hangups when I realize I’ll never get boneless wings or a burger again. This piece was very reassuring, though! It’s good to know that it can be done, & slip-ups are normal (I definitely think I’m going to stumble every now & again, but I feel better about it after reading this!).

  • TheGreatandPowerfulRandini May 13th, 2012 10:46 AM

    I tried going vegetarian when I was 12. It failed. I think I’ going to try again when I go to uni, as I’m not crazy for meat anyways. Bread and pasta however… obsessed.

  • scroungy glammer July 15th, 2012 7:13 PM

    I’ve been vegan since high school , now in my 30′s and it’s great to see young folks interested in ethical eating.

    A really great resource for veg nutrition is http://www.theveganrd.com/ , Ginny Messina is a registered dietician who takes a science based approach to veg*n nutrition.