How to be Vegetarian

Becoming a vegetarian is a different process for everyone. Some do it gradually, others all at once. I can’t tell you what works best for you but I can give you a few tips.

1. Have good reasons. Like any lifestyle change you need to first think about why you want to become vegetarian, and really believe in it.

2. Educate yourself. Read as much as possible, watch videos, take vegetarian cooking classes, check out some vegan magazines, peruse vegetarian/vegan web sites and forums etc…

3. Choose a vegetarian restaurant in the area and give them a try. It might inspire a little creativity in your own kitchen.

4. Find good recipes. You don’t need to go out and buy a bunch of new cookbooks, although that’s certainly an option. You can borrow them from the library or check out some of the many great *recipes online.

5. Try your some of your favorite recipes, but instead of using meat, use a meatless **substitute. If you love spaghetti or chili, for example, substitute a ground-beef alternative like veggie ground round, crumbled tofu or soy protein. There are alternatives for just about any kind of meat, and most of them are quite good. Another example, if you are baking, is using a mashed banana in place of an egg.

6. Find the nearest local health food store, have a look around, get familiar with some of the products and maybe buy a couple of things you haven’t tried before.

7. Stock up on some of the basics. It’s really difficult to start a lifestyle change when you’re ill-equipped. Some of the staples in our kitchen include plenty of vegetables, fruits, brown rice and other whole grains, as well as soy sauce or tamari, tahini and fresh herbs.

8. Get to know as much about nutrition and health as possible. Whoever you are, an important pathway to healthy living is to ensure that your diet is well-balanced and nutritious.

It is a myth to think that a vegetarian diet is in some way deficient in nutrients, vitamins and minerals, but like any diet, you have to be sure to eat a balanced variety of foods.

10. Have fun. Most of all, don’t make becoming a vegetarian be a restrictive, oppressive ordeal. If you feel like you’re depriving yourself, you won’t last long. But if you feel like you’re doing something good for you, the welfare of animals and our environment, while experimenting and trying new things, it can be a whole lot of fun.

* For some delicious recipes to try out, check out Sweet Vegan’s recipe page.
** For more meat, egg and dairy substitutes go to Sweet Vegan’s substitutes page.

Becoming Vegetarian

22 years ago I watched a documentary revealing the disgusting, inhumane and heartbreaking way that meat chickens are raised and slaughtered, not unlike these ones.

I made the decision to eat only free-range meat and poultry but because, at the time, it was hard to come by and very expensive, years went by without eating any meat at all. Eventually eating meat lost it’s appeal altogether, although I continued to eat fish and seafood.

After learning a little bit about fish farms, and what organic and free-range really means, I started eating only wild fish and stopped buying eggs and dairy products all together.

I’m not going to lie, I was resistant for some time and tried to reason and justify but the more I learned, the faster I ran out of excuses. Eggs and dairy were the hardest to stop purchasing, but recently our kitchen became 100% free of all and any animal products and I have to say, it was a billion time easier than I thought it would be.

My motivation for becoming vegetarian was humane, but there are many health and even spiritual benefits to cutting down on and cutting out animal products from your diet.

For tips on How to Become Vegetarian click here.

Animal Cruelty

Animal Cruelty

I’ve kind of always felt that if you are going to eat and wear animals you owe it to them to at least know what they went through for you.

Warning: extremely graphic content. Not suitable for children.

Meet Your Meat (with Alec Baldwin)

Unforgivable cruelty in the dairy industry

A Look That Kills: Fur, Leather, and Wool

Top 3 Reasons not to eat fish

There are plenty more videos on related topics here:

Being Vegan

Again, I have met many vegans who live by many different guidelines but technically speaking,
vegan-ism is a diet that excludes meat, eggs, honey, dairy products and all other animal-derived ingredients.

Many vegans also do not eat foods that are processed using animal products, such as refined white sugar and many wines.

Most vegans that I know also avoid the use of products tested on animals, as well as animal-derived products, such as leather, fur and wool.

Being Vegetarian

Different types of vegetarians have different dietary  inclusions.

When people ask me what being a vegetarian means, I tell them that being vegetarian means different things to different people.

I know “vegetarians” who eat fish ( Pesco Vegetarian )
and I know “vegetarians” who call themselves” lacto vegetarian” (a vegetarian diet including dairy) and even “vegetarian ovo-lacto” or “Ovo Lacto Vegetarian” ( a vegetarian diet including eggs and dairy) and I even know people who call themselves vegetarians who eat chicken. I’m not sure what that’s called.

Some people argue that you are not truly a vegetarian if you are not a vegan.

Some chose this lifestyle for health reasons, humane reasons and even spiritual reasons.

To me, becoming a vegetarian was a gradual process and being a vegetarian has meant different things throughout that process so I hesitate to judge other people or put labels on what they are doing.

I worry that by imposing strict guidelines, rules and regulations, we alienate a lot of people who were interested enough to give it a try and perhaps even inhibit them from doing so.

What’s important to me is that we are all doing our best to be our healthiest, kindest and environmentally soundest selves and that we continue to evolve and improve ourselves every day, whatever that may mean for each and every one of us.