My first year being a vegetarian

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My first year being a vegetarian

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I did not go vegetarian cold-turkey like many people do because I had tried that in the past and it didn’t work for me. Instead, I slowly ate less and less meat over the course of two weeks at the end of February 2014 until I was fully vegetarian. I feel like this method is a much easier way to accustom your body to the new meal choice. In the past when I had tried doing this cold-turkey I would always cave and end up eating meat within a month. So I always recommend to people who want to try vegetarianism, especially for the first time, that they gradually wean themselves off of it for a few weeks.

The first few months were definitely the most difficult because it seemed like everything I used to eat had some type of meat product in it. Many products had ingredients like chicken or beef stock in them so I had to find similar products that were made without them. A lot of these turned out to be organic so they were more expensive than the others but it was worth it in the end because they were better for me anyways.

When still getting used to the new diet, junk food was really tempting. Many times it was the only thing I could find around the house to eat. I’d even occasionally skip meals because I couldn’t find anything that I wanted to eat. Especially when salads were the only option, I would choose to not eat or find the nearest bag of doritos. This is not a good choice because although I wasn’t eating meat anymore I was still eating really unhealthy food.

There’s this misconception that vegetarians hate the way meat tastes so people always ask why we eat meat substitutes. I didn’t become vegetarian because I don’t like meat, I did it because I believe it is a vital part of animal rights activism due to the treatment of animals in the meat industry. I will eat veggie burgers and fake meat quite often. Fake meat, especially fake beef, doesn’t taste exactly like meat but it is a close substitute. Fake chicken is really close to the taste though and anyone I’ve ever had try it has loved it.

In the beginning, I used to get really bad cravings for meat constantly but that dwindled over time. I honestly cannot remember what meat actually tastes like at this point and the smell of it makes me gag anyways. But in those first few months, anytime someone in the house would cook burgers or hotdogs it would make my mouth water. Self-control is definitely a huge factor in the start of becoming a vegetarian. Although, now I find it easy to resist the urge. I was told that after a year you don’t really get the cravings anymore and that turned out to be true.

It seems like I’ve been vegetarian for so long that I don’t even really think about it that much anymore when deciding what to eat. The struggle only comes up when having to constantly remind people when you go over to their house or out to eat. The holiday season was a little awkward during meal time. “Why are you only eating stuffing and mashed potatoes?” People forget more often than you’d think and many times I’ve been out with friends and just opted to not eat so that I wouldn’t limit my friends’ options. Most people are pretty respectful of the vegetarian lifestyle even though everyone has their questions. Some people will object and argue with you over it but its best to ignore them. It’s also the basis for a lot of jokes. You’ll hear the same jokes repeated constantly because apparently everyone gets their sense of humor from the same Facebook posts.

Overall I don’t regret becoming vegetarian and I look forward to many more years of this lifestyle. Nobody asks questions or tells jokes that I haven’t heard already and they’re usually pretty respectful of my choice anyway. It takes a lot of self-control in the first few months but over time it became apart of my routine and choosing what to eat doesn’t take much thought anymore.

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