Like many little kiddies, I grew up on a steady diet of chicken nuggets and cheeseburgers. Every other Sunday, I had a taste of grandma’s pot roast (to this day, it’s fabulousness is unmatched) and when my parents finally deemed me old enough to order the full rack of ribs at our favorite steakhouse, it was as big of a deal as my birthday. To cut right to it, I was a full on carnivore before I hit grade school…up until four years ago, when I went vegetarian for a month and never went back.
Plot twist, am I right?
I have a bunch of reasons for the change, but none are the sole and shining catalyst for my giving up on meat. Probably the biggest contributors to the change were the fact that I love animals, I love change, and I wanted to piss off my parents. Whip those three up in a pot, and voila! Meat no more. Because you’ve probably thought about going veg-head for a month once or twice, I’d like to clear up a few common misconceptions about the whole shebang:
1. It’s not hard
It’s actually really easy. Most restaurants have a bundle of vegetarian options, and if you are cooking a meal up yourself, there are tons of other protein sources like tofu and beans to include. Worst case scenario, if someone is trying to shove a hot dog down your throat (or more realistically, they are serving meat at a friends house or an event) just say no! Literally two letters, and you say them all the time. Like, do you want me to shave your head? No. Do you want to eat slugs? No. Do you want to have sex with that fifty year old bald guy wearing a vomit bib sitting by himself in the corner of a bar? No. Do you want the steak tonight? No. SEE!? EASY PEASY!
2. It can be pretty darn delicious
To set the record straight, I’m not the type of girl who likes to serve up her masochism with her meal plan. If being a vegetarian was being in for a taste bud sh*tstorm, I simply wouldn’t do it! There are millions of vegetarian recipes online that can transform a bag of carrots into legitimate food porn, and hello, pizza?! Bagels?! C’mon people, it isn’t all brussel sprouts all the time (disclaimer: I have a love affair with brussel sprouts). It is actually super common for first timers to go overboard on carby goodness because pasta is easy and they don’t know what to do with a plate full of green, but don’t worry. Google is there for you, and Google will always be there for you. Use it.
3. Vegetables are your friends AND food!
Your mom told you to eat them for a reason. Vegetables are great sources of vitamins, folic acid, potassium, iron, fiber, and more! Some are even superfoods, high in antioxidants and other substances which can help fight off cancers and calm things like high cholesterol and blood pressure. The high nutrient density for the low calorie content should be enough to make vegetables your new best friend, but if you want to start off a little slower, take a peek at all of the benefits of fruits. Yes, this means that there is a punch of health power in that strawberry banana smoothie. You can smile now.
4. We are NOT all vegans
If you are vegan, more power to you… that sh*t is actually tough. For you guys out there who don’t really get the difference, vegans don’t consume ANY animal products (milk, cheese, etc.) and some even take it a step further and swear off all kinds of leather and hides. Vegetarians are a little more relaxed about the whole thing. There are even a few subcategories of vegetarianism that have different rules about what you can and can’t eat. For example, pescatarians eat fish but no other types of animal flesh, and lacto-ovo vegetarians abstain from all kinds of animals, but do eat milk and eggs. There is even the term “semi-vegetarian” for you folks out there who are mainly a veg-head but like to sneak that bite of steak every once in a while.
Have I convinced you to join me yet? It can be a fun challenge, and you can stop at anytime…it’s not like you are breaking your wedding vows. But even if it’s just for a short period, like a trial month, give being a vegetarian a try!
This little muffin may thank you:
Featured image via Tumblr.