Yes, yes, yes. I am a vegetarian. I stopped eating meat one month ago today- hurray! I’ve been getting a lot of questions, so I thought I would put together a FAQ for those of you thinking about starting out.
So how do you get your protein?
This one is my favorite, because seriously- no one cares if you’re getting enough protein until you tell them you don’t eat meat anymore. Plenty of other foods contain protein, including cheese, greek yogurt, eggs (clearly I’m not a vegan), nuts, beans, peanut butter, tofu, peas… the list goes on and on.
I would recommend downloading a fitness tracker app (I use MyFitnessPal for the iPhone) so you can keep track of it and be sure you are getting enough nutrients.
Why did you become a vegetarian?
Definitely do your own research if you’re thinking about going vegetarian and settle on your own “why.” For me, it was months of research, and the more research I did, the fewer reasons I had to continue to eat meat. Then, against my fiancé’s advice, I watched Food, Inc. Or at least I tried to watch it… I got about 30 minutes in before I started to cry and shut it off so I wouldn’t throw up everywhere. Like I said… do your own research.
Aren’t there different types of vegetarians?
There sure are, my friend! A vegan is someone who doesn’t consume animal meat or any animal by-products, including eggs, dairy, and in many, many cases, even honey. A lacto-vegetarian won’t eat meat or eggs, but consumes dairy products. An ovo-vegetarian doesn’t eat meat or dairy products, but will eat eggs. A lacto-ovo-vegetarian is the most common type of vegetarianism; this type will consume eggs and dairy, but not red meat, white meat, or seafood (I fall under this category!). “Semi-vegetarian” diets include pollotarian (will eat chicken) and pescatarian (will eat fish). Flexitarian and reducetarian are all about limiting meat intake; the former will eat meat occasionally, and the latter is working on reducing their intake.
Does your fiancé starve now?
This one made me laugh. If you’re thinking about becoming a vegetarian and your significant other/partner/the person you cook meals with/for isn’t, guess what? Neither of you have to compromise your diet. It is SO easy to make meals half vegetarian, half carnivore. Just don’t put meat on your plate!
Evan and I will cook pizza, and my half will often have spinach and his will have pepperoni. We’ll have salad, and he’ll put chicken on his and I won’t. If we fire up the grill, I’ll have a veggie burger and his will be beef. It’s so simple.
Vegetarianism is about consuming the animal products, so cooking them near your food shouldn’t be an issue. Generally the juices won’t creep over. If it is an issue for you, and you feel morally uncomfortable with it, have a chat with your partner about the changes you’ll need to see made. But please, do not push your beliefs onto them. There’s nothing more annoying than someone pushing their ideals onto someone else. Hopefully they’ll want to discuss it with you, but you shouldn’t try to make them change who they are. Work out a compromise so you can both be happy.
What do you do about going out to eat?
Okay, I’ll admit it- that part is a little difficult. I’m a bit of a picky eater anyway, so restaurant menus are already on the small side for me. Now they’re miniscule. Typically, chefs won’t have a problem preparing a meal on the menu without meat. Restaurants also are pretty savvy in that they have at least a couple vegetarian options on the menu.
And if not… there’s always vodka. That’s made from potatoes, right? 😉
BUT WHAT ABOUT BACON?!
There are bacon alternatives- and they’re good! There are plenty of meat alternatives that taste good and are also satisfying, but the truth is: once you do your research and discover your “why,” you probably won’t even miss meat anyway.
Good luck on your journey! I hope you’ll consider the vegetarian lifestyle. I have so much to say on the topic that it won’t fit into one post. Stay tuned!