So, this is a post I have been wanting to write for a long time, but I never quite knew how to start & I don't want to be too pushy: it's your own choice, nobody can force you to be or to not be a vegetarian, and I wouldn't ever tell anybody it's bad that they eat meat - just because everybody has their own reasons for everything and I wouldn't ever want to disrespect those.
Some people do want to be a vegetarian though, but they don't know how they should start and they haven't really figured out why they don't want to consume meat anymore. My reasons (which I won't list again, I've already written a post about it right here) were clear from the beginning but others might say 'I'd like to be a vegetarian' without a particular reason - just because they think the animal industry is cruel.
Let me tell you something - the animal industry is cruel. Extremely cruel. Like I said - I won't be too pushy so I won't describe vivid stories I have heard about, read about or seen myself, you'll have to experience this for yourself. If you're looking for a good book to read, I strongly recommend 'Eating Animals' by Jonathan Safran Foer.
Before you decide if you'd like to be a vegetarian, you'll got to have some valid reasons. You won't ever be able to sustain your vegetarian diet if you don't have a good reason: it'll be too easy to consume a hamburger 'just because you feel like it'. This is a list of the most important reasons people have for being a vegetarian.
- If I don't eat animals anymore, they won't die
- Eating meat is bad for the environment
- It's healthier
- If you wouldn't eat a dog, why would you eat a cow?
- It's better for your figure: you'll lose weight once you quit the meat
This, of course, is a small list of reasons: everybody has their own personal reasons.
If you have decided you'd like to become a vegetarian, you should be aware of a few things: 1. It isn't easy for everyone - 2. You'll have to get used to the taste of meat substitutes. If you've taken the time to read my article I've linked to above you know my reasons and those two things don't apply to me - but many people told me this. I also have bad experiences with meat substitutes - some of them are just really disgusting, but one thing is - you'll have to get used to the taste. Meat substitutes all have a different taste, but there's a specific thing you might smell/taste (which is really on the background), but it'll always be there.
I have created a little step-by-step guide to make your path to being a vegetarian a little bit easier.
1. Don't quit the meat cold turkey (hah, been wanting to crack this one forever) - start with not eating cow, then chicken, then birds, then fish.. et cetera. This will make the process easier and you won't miss it as much as when you would say, 'from now on I won't ever eat meat again'. You'll miss the meat, regret your choice, and go back eating meat again.
2. Read about it a lot. You'll be more convinced of your choice (I think every piece of literature about eating animals is negative, because we as human beings might be a little bit naive but I think we all know, deep down, animal cruelty is really, really bad these days).
3. You should try out new recipes, find a taste you really like. You cannot simply leave out the meat - you'll have to replace the meat with a substitute which'll make sure you don't miss out on all the important vitamins. There's lots of information about which substitutes to use on the internet, if I were you I'd check them out. If you're wanting to cook delicious, big meals, think about investing in a good cookbook. I haven't done this yet (because, the internet) but a nice book with delicious pictures might give you that little bit of motivation you might just need.
4. You don't have to give up dairy products & eggs. It depends on what kind of person you are - not eating/using anything produced by animals or produced of animals is being vegan. I, personally, am not a vegan and I don't think I ever will be. Some personal reasons for that are: I love the feeling of leather shoes, I love honey too much (it's made by bees, which means it's not vegan) and I like a good old omelette too much. It sounds hypocritical, I know, and many people find vegetarians hypocritical, but I personally think everything you do for the earth is helpful - even if it is just quitting the meat. Animals don't have to be killed for my eggs & milk, which is good enough for me.
5. Tell your friends and family. You won't have to do this on your own if you simply share your plans with loved ones - they'll (probably) support you, maybe some friends will join in. I have been a vegetarian for a few years now and my sister is one now, too - which makes finding delicious recipes even easier.
6. Visit vegetarian restaurants - I have visited some vegetarian restaurants, not so many because I don't live in a metropole city and small villages usually don't have many vegetarian options. My favorite vegetarian restaurants in the world are in Barcelona - they have this cute little vegetarian hotdog spot and so many vegetarian/vegan restaurants, any vegetarian'd love that city. Fastfood restaurants like McDonalds also sell vegetarian burgers these days - I have tried it and I thought it was better than (my memory) of the classic burger.
7. Enjoy it. It may sound silly but try to enjoy the process. You're changing your way of living, you're doing something good for the world and for your body (it's really healthy - meat is known to cause diseases and body issues) and you will experience a whole new way of being alive.
Quitting the meat all those years ago has had so many advantages for me - I don't feel so 'full' after dinner anymore, I don't add on weight easily, and I've tried out so much good food. I also feel like I'm not sick as often as I was before, but this could be just me. I feel more energized and happier. Changing back to eating meat would be the worst thing in the world, for me, at this very moment.
Once again, I am not trying to convert anyone. I personally don't like the people who try to make people feel bad if they do eat meat. Yes, you're right: animal cruelty still exists, the meat industry isn't perfect either and being a vegetarian/vegan is simply healthier but still, people have their own will and the right to exploit that.
In case you were thinking of becoming a vegetarian, I hope you found this post a little bit helpful. If you have not ever thought about quitting meat, has this post changed your mind? And if you're already a vegetarian/vegan, do you have the same opinions & thoughts as I do? Have a lovely day!