7 Things that Suck About Being Vegetarian
I say a lot of great things about being vegetarian. I even listed 75 of them once.
And why not?
Since I stopped eating meat, I’ve achieved fitness goals—qualifying for Boston and running a 50-miler—that I wasn’t able to achieve before. Most days, I have more energy than ever. And beyond health and fitness, it just plain feels good to know that I don’t eat animals.
But being vegetarianism is not all roses. As is the case with most things worth doing, there are times when it sucks, and this post is all about the (relatively few) drawbacks of vegetarianism.
I don’t want those of you who decide to try it out to be unpleasantly surprised and give up right away, cursing me for leading you astray and exacting your revenge by eating one of those big bacon explosion things that spread through email inboxes like no No Meat Athlete post ever will.
So today I present to you seven of the reasons why, every once in a while, I wish I didn’t care so much about what I ate.
#1: You can’t enjoy a lot of local delicacies when you visit new places.
To me, the best thing about traveling is eating the food that defines a region, living like a local for a few days. Seafood in Maine, vinegar-based pork barbecue in North Carolina, beef in the midwest, chorizo and jamon serrano in Spain, tripe in Florence. You get the idea: Almost all of them are meats, and that means your experience as a tourist is a little less authentic.
On the plus side: Travel costs less and is healthier, as long as you prepare. You need to bring food or buy it at a grocery store if you want to eat anything good at all, and that’s always cheaper than buying food out.
#2: Steakhouse dinners are no more (and eating out, in general, is pretty lame).
My wife and I used to love going out to dinner. Once a month or so, we’d go somewhere nice, order wine, appetizers, and desserts along with the meal, and not worry about the cost.
The best of these dinners that I can remember was at a steakhouse. Something about a steak dinner and a bottle of red wine big enough to stand up to it, like a Cabernet or a Brunello, will always sound good to me, no matter how long I’m vegetarian. I don’t think it’s the steak, but rather the experience, and I’ve found that hard to recreate.
Maybe there are great vegetarian and vegan alternatives in different corners of the country. But where I live, going out to eat now means either Indian food, pizza, or salad. And that gets pretty old, fast.
On the plus side: After a big dinner out is when I used to feel the absolute worst. Stuffed, bloated, tired, and just a little bit tipsy. While “tipsy” still happens from time to time, “so bloated I can’t sleep” never does.
#3: There are times when you have to eat worse than you would if you were an omnivore.
Being able to eat both plants and animals is helpful when it’s several thousand years ago and you’re trying to survive. Whether it’s a bunch of bananas or a wounded antelope that you find, you can eat it for energy that will sustain you for the next few days.
Nowadays, survival is slightly more certain, and it’s nice to have the luxury to choose not to eat certain foods. But having more choices still increases your chances of finding something good to eat.
If you’re out, or traveling, or at a wedding or party or anything like that, and you forget to plan ahead, there’s a good chance there won’t be much for you to eat. Maybe some bread, potato chips or pretzels.
Solution: You fill up on junk or you don’t fill up at all.
On the plus side: Not having meat as an option saves you from a lot of times when you’d probably make a poor choice. You drive right past the sign advertising the new fried chicken sandwich from fast-food-land that you certainly would have wanted to try before.
#4: Cooking just isn’t the same.
I used to love cooking. Really, honestly, love it.
Now I don’t. I still cook good, healthy food, but the ritual of planning the meal, shopping for the ingredients, and preparing it is simply going through the motions necessary to get that meal on the table.
From time to time, I’ll still get excited about cooking, and I might make gnocchi or pasta from scratch and enjoy the process. But that used to be every night; now it’s rare.
On the plus side: I save a lot of money on groceries now that I don’t buy meat, which allows me to buy more expensive, local and organic produce. Also, my experience isn’t universal: A lot of people tell me they got into cooking because they went vegetarian or vegan.
#5: Having dinner at friends’ houses becomes iffy.
Do they know we’re vegetarian? Do we need to warn them? What happens if they serve us meat, or something that’s not quite vegetarian? Do we just eat it?
Hard questions. And so far from the good feelings you should have when someone else is taking the time to prepare a meal for you and inviting you into their home to eat it. I’ve heard of vegetarians and vegans who will not refuse a meal that a friend prepares for them, an idea I’m still wrestling with in my head.
On the plus side: Most close friends are really cool about it. I suppose that’s why we call them friends.
#6: Just because it’s not meat, doesn’t mean it’s vegetarian.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, read a post I wrote called “Warning: 8 Common Foods You Thought Were Vegetarian.” Guinness, some cheeses, certain candies, and more. Lots of stuff you wouldn’t imagine is made with ingredients you can only get by killing animals.
On the plus side: Some will argue with this, but I’d still consider you a vegetarian if you were to simply avoid meat. So start there. I didn’t worry about these other things at first, but over time I’ve naturally started avoiding them.
#7: People think you want to convert them or that you judge them.
I hate preaching. I think it comes from a place of insecurity, and from the idea that if you can convince others to do what you do and believe what you believe, then that validates your own beliefs and actions.
When it comes to vegetarianism, I want to share it and be a positive example. And perhaps even to point out misconceptions or facts that are hidden from view.
But the idea of trying to change friends, family members, and others when it comes to such a personal decision as what they eat is something that turns me off.
I know there are lots of vegetarians and vegans who feel the same way. But they’re not the most visible, and for that reason, there’s a tendency for people to think that all vegetarians and vegans are that way.
On the plus side: When you see someone make a positive change because of your example (and without any preaching) it feels really good. Even if they don’t completely stop eating meat.
Vegan for a Month
None of this has made me question my decision to be vegetarian. In fact, I’m ready to go farther with it.
It’s been a long time coming, but after close to a year and a half as a vegetarian, I’m ready to try a vegan diet. I’m pretty happy being vegetarian, and I’m still not convinced veganism is for me, but I owe it to myself to try it.
So for the month of September, I am not going to eat any animal products at all. Actually, this won’t represent a major shift in my diet—cheese pizza and Rita’s gelati (minor addiction recently) are about the only dairy products I ever eat. And I don’t like eggs at all. But eating out will be even harder than it already is, and I’ll have to read fine print and ingredient lists even more carefully.
I can do anything for a month. And then I’ll go from there. If you’re up for trying it with me ( or even a vegetarian diet, if that’s where you are), let me know with a comment!
I had been a vegetarian for over three years. Like you, I don’t like eggs and didn’t consume much dairy (except for twist cones!), so I decided to try the vegan route. Honestly, it has been much harder than I thought, and it made the above 7 reasons even more sucky. Eating out is virtually impossible and even home eating can be difficult on me. I can’t believe how much diligence it takes to truly go vegan. Good luck!
It’s not hard. Eat soy or rice cream for digestion, get some papaya tabs, find a supplement, or see your doctor for an acid reflux med.
Hi, Bella71! 🙂 I became a lacto-veg six months ago! If you’re still wondering what meatless main meal you can serve that would please a meat-eating guest, may I suggest a nice cheese lasagna? It can’t miss! 🙂
This is a pretty good list. As a recent vegetarian, I would also add that having non-veggies over for dinner can be a challenge. Do I prepare a meat dish for them? Will they like anything vegetarian that I make? Ugh, the drama. But my Mom is currently visiting, and she has been pretty good about eating meat-free. Good luck on going vegan for a month!
I have a rule that I won’t cook meat. I just tell folks coming over that if they want meat, they’ll need to bring it and prepare it. most folks are usually totally fine with just veg – or they hit Burger King on the way home. It’s my house – they eat my food 🙂
I totally agree. I am a meat eater but have been to people’s houses who are vegetarian. I eat what they cook. No problem. It might not be my favorite but I respect there decision. Likewise if I have them over I try to cook what they can eat. (I don’t always succeed) but I do try my best and am more embarrassed then hurt when I fail. But I would rather they told me they couldn’t eat it Then go against their standard.
Wow! After that post, I wasn’t expecting the vegan experiment to come up!!!
I’ve been veg for over six years now, and a lot of what you mentioned on that list goes away. I had to re-learn how to cook, but I still find it just as amazing. If anything, it is a new level of challenge. It’s almost more science that just throwing meat over heat. You have to play with spices and unknown ingredients. It can actually be a lot of fun.
As for friends houses, I just always say “not to be a pain, but i’m vegetarian – is there anything i should bring?” It’s never a problem, and if it IS a problem to those folks, i probably don’t want to have dinner with them again anyway.
On the restaurant front, I’ve lived in the south most of my life – which means a lot of meals are meat heavy. But I usually have little problem finding something at any restaurant I visit. Order a la carte, and it normally works out fine. It’s just one of those things you deal with – and I don’t even really think twice about it anymore.
Good luck on the vegan thing – I will be interested to hear how it all goes!!!!
Agreed. All of these “sucks” leave after a period of time. I find meal prep is more intense then my-meat days of “meat, veg, carb.”
Although, I have yet to find the not meat equivalent of a steak dinner out.
I agree with your article in so many ways. I havent eaten meat in maybe 14 years, and really almost have a fear now. If I go to dinner at a friends and I see worcestershire sauce (contains anchovies but not many people realise) and I panic in case they are going to put it in my food,but I dont want to appear rude as I am very grateful they are cooking!
And yes holidays- I tend to visit a shop to get bread, nice cheese and fruit for meals instead of going out to dinner each night (so on the plus much cheaper!)
I’m excited for you, I think it will be a fun experience! I found that if you call restaurants ahead of time and ask them what their vegan options are ahead of time, or request that they create some vegan dishes with what they have they’re usually more than happy to do so 🙂 Also, I’d jump headfirst into the most creative vegan cooking you can come up with to make it fun. Can’t wait to hear what you think; if it’s not for you I won’t judge…your blog is still my favorite and super inspiring!
I agree that eating with friends or at a restaurant or social event as a vegetarian or anyone with dietary restrictions acn be really challenging. I do eat poultry and fish from time to time but I was a vegetarian for years and I always found myself explaining that “No I don’t eat ANY meat…no not even pork/tuna/chicken burgers”
I was vegetarian for almost 5 years before I went vegan. I thought I would miss the cheese, but it wasn’t as hard as I expected.
Cooking is more fun I find as a vegetarian. Your palate is more subtle and you have to take more care with cooking the veg rather than having it as simply an afterthought (that is usually boiled into a mush).
Get a Rose Elliot cookbook or one of the ones from the Fresh restaurants in Canada (worth going to Toronto for) and you’ll soon find that you can not only enjoy cooking but actually surprise meat-eating friends with what is possible.
And baking hasn’t changed from going from meat to veggie has it? Bake cakes. Bake bread.
I do agree with most of the points though; I’ve been a vegetarian for about eight years now and a runner for six so I empathise with you.
I have found that I’ve been less inclined towards junk food more because the temptation to ‘pop into McDonalds’ when I fancy a snack just isn’t there anymore and I’ve become less lazy – through necessity – at finding snacks and tend to opt for healthy ones now.
(tobyontour on twitter)
Can’t wait to hear how vegan goes. Vegan here for seven months. No turning back. I’ve been in San Diego for five days and eating vegan and fab! It can be done!
Being a vegetarian: You’re doing it wrong.
I almost never have trouble eating out as a vegetarian, especially since I (and my friends) tend to frequent “ethnic” places: Indian (an obvious place for long lists of vegetarian entrees), Vietnamese, Middle Eastern, Greek, Italian.
I love cooking. My father is an omnivore chef, but I have learned so much about cooking from him. Using things in season, picking up what’s fresh, trying out new techniques or cuisines…there is nothing boring about cooking vegetarian meals. Unless you make it that way. I think NOT cooking makes vegetarianism sucky–veggie burgers, PB & J, salad…
Yes, sometimes traveling & eating becomes iffy. I had a hard time finding a variety of foods to eat in Portugal and Morocco. And road-trips in the US, sticking to interstates can also mean it’s difficult to find good eats.
As much as I respect your point of view (and the blog in general), I’m disappointed to see someone piling on to the “vegetarianism sucks” bandwagon. Not good publicity for something that is, indeed, really great.
I’ve been a vegetarian for 15 years & I’m not starving–on the contrary, I consider myself quite the good-food-enthusiast!
I don’t want to discount your experiences or imply that they are invalid somehow, but I wanted to share a couple of other points of view on some of your points above. My experience in eating substantially less meat has been a little different, and I can relate to a lot of the comments above.
Eating out may take 5 extra minutes of planning, but it has been really fun for me as I gradually give up meat. It means trying more Asian or other “ethnic” restaurants, or looking for a specifically veg-friendly place to eat when I travel. And THAT has led to me finding really cool restaurants off the beaten path that I wouldn’t have even looked for before.
My cooking knowledge has increased immensely since I look for no-meat recipes, and I love the foods I eat (which are HUGELY varied).
The reason I have been eating less meat has largely been because I moved from Indiana to Ontario, and meat in Canada is a lot more expensive (we’re talking $10 for conventional chicken breast). My student budget just can’t allow for meat hardly ever.
Are you doing it yourself, or is your wife going to as well?!
#7 is my biggest grip about eating healthy in general. People don’t accept it warmly, even if you are not the least bit interested in discussing it.
I vow to go Vegan with you for the month of September. I am almost there though. I can’t consume any dairy products – they make me so ill. And I don’t eat eggs. BUT I do realize that sometimes breads, cookies, muffins, etc. may have eggs as an indgredient. Additionally, as far as veganism goes, are you going to forgo wearing any clothing that was made with animal products (ex. leather) ?
You nailed it Matt… I love being a vegetarian, but those are some issues for sure.
I’m not quite ready to be vegan. Only been vegetarian for four months now. I’ve cut a lot of dairy out of my diet, but still like some cheese in my greek salad and such 🙂
But I’m definitely going to try being vegan sometime – just need the wife to be on board too.
I’ve been a vegan for over a year now, so congrats on giving it a shot! Definitely take some time to plan & shop and try some recipes out in advance. I spend a lot of time reading food labels becuase you’d really be surprised where they try to sneak in eggs and milk these days.
The most difficult aspect of going vegan was adapting to eating in restaurants, where you have far less control. My husband is an omni, and we live in the deep south where most restaurants don’t even know what Vegan means, so I have to ask a lot of questions and not be afraid to ask for something that isn’t on the menu.
However – we do eat out a lot, and I don’t always have to resort to iceburg lettuce and french fries. Surprisingly, I do very well at Sushi restaurants, thanks to Edamame, seaweed salad, and veggie rolls. There’s a great mexican place near our house that makes amazing portabella & guacamole tacos. And of course, our staple Mellow Mushroom – I get a vegan pizza with a hummus base, topped with fresh basil, black olives, roma tomatoes, and mushrooms…. yum!
First off, just wanted to say how much I love your blog. You’re definitely one of the reasons I’ve really gotten into running, and you offer so much great information for vegan/vegetarian athletes.
I’ve been vegan for almost a year now, and definitely agree with some of your points about the drawbacks. While restaurant dining is certainly more limited, I have actually had some of the most amazing meals of my life (including the pre-vegan days) at restaurants recently. I will almost always call beforehand when making a reservation and inform the chef that I’m vegan, and ask if there are any options that can be made vegan, or side dishes that I could order. The last time I went out to eat, the waitress informed me that the chef had created a special 3-course vegan menu just for me, which included the most amazing dish of morels, chanterelles, and cannelinni beans…heaven!
As far as cooking, I’ve had the opposite experience. I loved cooking as an omnivore, but I love it even more now as a vegan. I love the challenge of coming up with delicious, healthy, plant-based meals. Far from feeling limited in the kitchen, being vegan has made me infinitely more creative. On that note, I love having people over for dinner, because I love to show them how fantastic vegan food can be. I’m confident enough in my cooking that I don’t worry about not having a meat option, and so far, I’ve only had rave reviews!
Sorry this has been such a novel, but I think you brought up some really good points and I just wanted to add my two cents. Good luck on your vegan month – hopefully, you’ll love it just as much as I do!
I’ve been pescatarian for the last three or so months. Haven’t touched chicken, pork or beef but will occasionally have fish (mostly when I eat sushi).
I think I will join you for the challenge and go full on vegetarian for the month of September. I’ve been meaning to make the shift (but damn do I ever love sushi) so why not make it now!! Like you said, I can do anything for a month!
You can make half-decent sushi by using vegetables. It’s not going to be quite the same but I’ve alway found that it’s the nori and the sauces that give a lot of the taste so putting carrot sticks and the like in the middle seems to work quite well.
I totally agree with Toby. We do homemade sushi night now and just cut up all sorts of veggies, make sticky rice and experiment with various sauces, etc. It’s cheaper than going out, you know 100% what’s going into it, and you still get a sushi fix!
I’ve been a vegetarian for about 2 months now. I also have not felt bloated after eating a huge meal since leaving meat behind. It’s actually sort of crazy because I eat more pasta yet I feel better after eating.
My friends have been totally supportive of me and make an effort to offer non-meat options when dining at their homes. I guess I’m lucky!
Yeah you’re an odd duck on the cooking front. My meals are more elaborate, varied, flavorful and rewarding to prepare since I made the switch to veganism. And that’s true of all the vegans I know.
This is awesome that people are taking the plunge and going vegan with you for a month! I’ve been vegan for several years and vegetarian before that, and while I have my own gripes from time to time, I can honestly say I’d rather deal with the inconveniences from time to time than be eating something that is unhealthy for me and goes againsts my ethics. Sometimes doing the right thing isn’t easy…Sure, it takes more planning to go out to dinner or over to friends’ houses, but it’s made me a more flexible and creative person! Good luck to you!
depending on where you are, definitely some cities are more veg-friendly than others. but more vege/vegan restaurants are becoming more popular and taking over the world 😉
I’m going strictly vegan for september too! huzzah :]
Props to you for your honesty, and bravo on going vegan for a month!
I’ve been eating vegan for almost 8 months now, and this is exactly how I ended up becoming a vegan. I decided to try it for a month, but I ended up really loving how eating vegan made me feel, so I stuck with it. I’m a pretty lenient vegan (I eat baked goods once in a blue moon), and it is difficult and flat out sucks sometimes – especially when eating at restaurants with non-vegans. It is nice to know that others miss the convenience of meat sometimes too! Good luck on your vegan adventure!
I can totally agree with #7! Hence why, whenever someone finds out I’m vegan, they always reply with “Well, I could never be vegan because this n that…” I never asked if they could be vegan haha
But that’s awesome you’re going to try veganism for a month! I don’t think it will be as hard as you think 🙂
I’m so glad to hear that you’re going to go vegan for a whole month! Not to dissuade you, but without dairy in your diet your body will lose the ability to enzymatically digest dairy products, so going back to pizza and gelatto might be tough on your digestive track. That said, I think you will feel even better than you do now when you give up eggs and dairy. Best!
Being the wife of a meat LOVER, steak houses actually aren’t too too terrible. We have a few around Charleston that offer great vegetarian options. I think weddings are tough. The veggie option is usually plain pasta…wahooo. I agree with #6 though- I hate asking 20 questions about entrees that SOUND meatless. Good luck with the challenge- can’t wait to read more!
Yay! Congrats on making the decision! I’m sure that after a month, you’ll stick with it and never look back. It just feels better. 🙂
My husband is in the Army and in Afghanistan right now, so I have setup 30 day challenges for myself. The first one is beginning on September 1st, and I’ll be going vegetarian. Maybe vegan for a month closer to his homecoming. That one might be harder with three kids running around! I’m excited, and look forward to joining in! Now if someone wants to help me with my other 30 day challenge for September, which is cleaning out my garage…
My, my! I went vegan for a week (after doing it for a month 5 years ago when I first gave up meat — bad mistake!) a few months ago, and it was HARD. I ended up eating poorly due to lack to planning or luxury to stow my own food around. So bread, HFCS, and other not-so-good things went down my gullet that week. I didn’t even fully succeed, either (maybe 98% was successful).
Nowadays, I try to keep 1 or 2 of my 3 main meals per day vegan. It’s a LOT easier, and I often do it without thinking about it!
I’m in for the 30 day vegan challenge! I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, and I’m hoping the support will help.
I enjoy cooking much more now than I did when I was a meat-eater. Since I went looking for recipes, I have found a ridiculous wealth of incredibly delicious food that I never would have come upon if I wasn’t looking for meat-free dishes. A friend gave me a veg cookbook that we have prepared only one bad meal out of 😉
But even veggie, I can still eat until I’m bloated 🙁 Fortunately, I haven’t done it much.
For eating out … There has only been one place I’ve gone where there was nothing satisfying on the menu. But for the most part, if we avoid the big chains (which I prefer to avoid regardless) and avoid fast food (again, prefer to avoid anyway), then there is something for me, and most of the time it’s tasty.
Agreed with whoever said “ethnic” (though all food is ethnic, no?) — I love Thai and Ethiopian.
Agreed with the post on sampling local fare and on eating at events like weddings. I went to a wedding reception over the winter that was catered by In-N-Out Burger. Hmmmm…
I’ve been vegetarian for 11 1/2 years…and I’m taking you up on your challenge to go vegan for a month! Let the fun begin! And hopefully some awesome running as well;-)
I have to disagree with pretty much everything listed here other than the part about no more steak house dinners (because an iceberg and carrot salad is lame) and the part about things that you thought were vegetarian/vegan aren’t (but learning what is or isn’t is just part of the transition and you might accidentally eat things you thought were safe that actually weren’t only to discover the truth later on….it’s just how it goes). I LOVE eating out, I have pretty much no issue finding something to eat anywhere I go, all over the country, even middle of nowhere Texas and driving from across the country through the South. (I lived in Texas for a year, but from North East, now in New York)
I LOVE cooking. I’ve been vegetarian most my life, then ate meat for about 2 or 3 years of my adult life and have been vegan for the last 4 years. I have never had more fun cooking and eaten so well as I have since becoming vegan.
I recently went to a wedding and had no issue eating, it was an outdoor wedding, so the food was more cookout/bbq, they just got us some vegan burgers. They didn’t get us special cake, but no biggie, I made up for having to stare at cake I couldn’t eat by going out afterward and getting myself a vegan cupcake, it’s not the end of the world that I couldn’t have a slice of cake at the wedding. Big woop. Besides, veganism is becoming so widespread these days a lot of the weddings I go to lately, I’m not the only one so they actually do have special vegan menus for those of us who are giant pains in the asses.
Most cities you visit these days, even abroad, have vegan restaurants, which you can even get a vegan version of whatever the local delicacies are. I’ve grown up in New England, so it was always a little hard not eating seafood when on vacation, but I honestly had no interest it. I know plenty of places where I can actually get vegan versions of sea food, but it tastes so real, it totally grosses me out.
It’s really all what you make of it I suppose.
If anyone is looking to become vegan, I think the easiest way to do it, if you have a friend or friends who are already experienced vegans to have cooking nights together. The best way to do it would probably go to their house and cook dinner with them, that way they already have all the tools and basic pantry ingredients necessary and they can show you the tricks to vegan cooking. Vegan food is honestly the greatest, most fulfilling, best tasting food I have ever had, but it has to be cooked right, and it’s very easy to cook wrong. I think a lot of people get turned off by it because when they try to cook vegan meals it tastes horrible, and that’s because they don’t really have the knowledge of how to spice things, cook different types of food (like vegan cheese), manipulate food, etc. When you’re vegan, overtime you need to learn more and more about nutrition and food science and you can truly become a great cook.
I didn’t really learn how to cook at all until I went vegetarian ten years ago. It’s been a slow process, but now I consider myself an enthusiastic and competent chef! I live in East Texas, where people don’t even know what the word “vegan” means, so eating out here can be hard, this is true. However, even we have one sushi place, where they’re happy to make us all kinds of off-the-menu veggie rolls. You just have to be creative, and then even dining out can still be an adventure. Sometimes even more so!
I am on board with you for the month of September!! I have needed someone to give me a push and since I dont have any otehr vegie friends I will look to you for advice. I live in a very “green eating” friendly place so should be easy, worried about my monthly cravings of cheese pizza and chocolate but like you I am pretty close to there anyway! have been an lacto-vegie for almost my whole life. Lets begin together. I plan on completing part if a marathon first week of October so lets see how I feel!
Good luck on eating vegan! I gave up eggs and dairy a while ago, and coming off a 3-greek yogurts a day habit the dairy was rough to give up. But I honestly do feel more energized without it, and I’m sure you’ll do fine without the gelati(for what it’s worth, I love coconut milk ice cream over regular most days).
And I feel like 1-6 work really well for gluten-intolerances, too :-/
Honestly, a lot of it depends on where you live and how much the culture around you supports it. More specifically, I think that if you’re in the vicinity of a big city on the east or west coast of the U.S. you will easily find delicious vegetarian and vegan options (e.g., the D.C. suburbs have Bus Boys & Poet plus a million different kinds of ethnic delights and the SF Bay Area has even more options). I lived in Santa Cruz, California for three years where I had such restaurants as the following available to me:
http://www.saturncafe.com/ (this one was a three-block walk from my house and I probably gained several pounds from the late-night vegan chocolate soyshakes)
(hands down the best vegan / veg restaurant I have EVER eaten at….)
I even ordered my dark chocolate wedding cake from a local vegan bakery that makes vegan treats for all over the bay area (Black China Bakery); all of our local grocery stores in SC sold vegan treats in the bakery section alongside the standard fare.
So, as you can see, it was easy for me to decide to be a vegan there. I’m having a much more difficult time in Germany (and Spain) this summer. It’s easy to avoid when cooking at home and near impossible when I’m eating out. I have avoided meat and cheese successively, but have had to resort to eating eggs and some things that come with cooked butter. It’s either that or a bag of chips sometimes.
Great list, there are drawbacks to skipping meat, but more pros than cons for me. Skipping dairy did wonders for my energy also and I hardly miss it with so many great vegan alternatives.
I love what you said in #7. Many people when I meet them for the first time people are antagonistic towards me, once they hear that I am vegan (still had this reaction as a vegetarian for the last 10 years) questioning me as to why I eat the way I do and question me on the ethics of it. But honestly I don’t expect anyone to change what they are doing for my benefit, and I don’t question them. Not eating meat is not a challenge, it is a personal choice.
I have been a vegetarian for 10 years and just became a vegan 4 weeks ago. The Kind Diet really helped, as have the blogs Little House of Veggies and Vegan Yum Yum. The recipes are amazing and will make you enjoy cooking again!
I just tweeted this (@hawkjen) but I am going to join you in eating vegan for the month of September. I am currently vegetarian and already eat a mostly vegan diet like you as well. I typically eat more dairy while I’m on vacation (i.e. dining out more often) and like you don’t really care for eggs. I still think it will be a challenge (well know it will be challenge, I tried this in April as well…) but I think that knowing someone else is going through the same thing and being able to read about it may help. I’m looking forward to it!
Ever since I became vegetarian, I have found cooking MORE enjoyable and easier for me to do. I feel like I’ve made a lot more creative, interesting meals that I am excited to make and eat. However, I agree with you about a lot of the other things you said. I think being vegetarian makes it very hard to dine out, but I find that a HUGE positive. I could write a lot more (and started to, before I realized this was getting redic) about the things I agree with you about, but just know I was nodding my head while reading this blog post. 😉
That’s what I did back in April and I’ve been vegan ever since. I was going to try it for six weeks while my husband was out of town but after two weeks I already knew I wasn’t going to go back. Good luck! Also, I agree to a certain extent about the going out to eat. Especially as a vegan, it is hard as a vegetarian but even harder as a vegan.
I’ve actually found that eating out has been somewhat of an adventure. I recently went to Lake Placid NY and had a very good vegetarian lasagna at one restaurant and egg plant parmesan at another. Tried Spice Angel Hair Toscana at a restaurant here in Cincinnati Saturday night. Yeah I can’t really go to fast food joints anymore but I also have no desire to.
As far as cooking goes I’ve really been enjoying experimenting with new recipies. I really like some of the books you’ve suggested like Veganomicon. I recently purchased a book called Vegan on the Cheap that has some great recipes in it.
I’ve also been thinking about taking the next step to becoming vegan. Most of what I cook for dinner and lunch are already vegan. My problem would be not eating eggs and ice cream. I haven’t tried vegan ice cream yet but have been curious. I tend to eat 3 eggs every morning for breakfast, mainly for the fact that they’re such a good source of protein, and they taste great.
Good luck with your next 30 days. I won’t be far behind.
P.S. I’n my last blog post, on the 8/21 I mentioned wanting to take the next step to becoming a Vegan
Try Purely Decadent ice cream, it’s so delicious. My husband still eats dairy and he loves the stuff.
I was a vegetarian since 1999 and turned vegan 3 months ago. I found there was a learning curve. Even though it is more difficult eating out, I also have found restaurants to be thoughtful and respectful. Good Luck with it!
If you think being a vegetarian sucks, try being a chicken, pig or cow on a factory farm.
Hey Matt, we love your site, but I have to say that I am disappointed in this post:(
I find it sad that the “No Meat Athlete” is discontent with not eating meat. BUT, I am really glad to hear you are trying the vegan thing. I think you just may truly find contentment in your diet after all. Since I have been vegan, I have no desire for the old meat/dairy diet that was killing me for years. Getting away from the cheese is a really good idea, and eventually you won’t even desire it anymore. Good Luck, we hope to see you adopt a “real” plant based diet. Aloha:)
I really appreciate you stating that being a vegetarian isn’t easy all the time. Just because there are things that suck about it doesn’t mean that you don’t like being one! It’s good to show both sides of the story so people don’t feel like they are alone.
Love the blog…I’ve been having fun going through all your old posts. Just wanted to say something regarding the cooking thing. Vegan cooking can be really fun and rewarding…I’ve found it to be more fun than “ordinary” cooking. My advice is to treat yourself to a few good Vegan cookbooks, go on a pantry shopping spree (Yes, it’s expensive in the beginning) and immerse yourself in making a whole bunch of recipes for a few months. You’ll have some successes and some failures but gradually you’ll develop a new repertoire of favourites and fancier things that you’d make for company. It’s also a good idea to do a bunch of cooking on Saturday or Sunday so that you have a few things in the fridge to use for easy lunches or to round out meals…cook a whole bunch of rice, make some hummus, make a salad dressing or a sauce to jazz things up, saute some tofu, chop a few veggies…you get the idea. I highly recommend Dreena Burton’s books. Her recipes are straightforward, delicious and don’t have exhaustive ingredient lists. Stock up on a few things and you’re set to make most of the things in her books. I find that her recipes are the most “kid friendly” too ( I have three). Veganomicon is a really good one too. I think the key is to reframe how you think about cooking…healthy and delicious food should take a bit of hands on time to prepare. Have fun and good luck!
Hi Matt, I applaud your efforts to try vegan for a month and I wish you much success! I enjoy cooking so much more now that I’m vegan and I feel good about what I’m putting into my body. And even though I live in the South and most chain restaurants suck, we are blessed with a few unique, veg-friendly places that have some amazing dishes! But there are still plenty of challenges for me…at the end of the day though, it’s totally worth it. Good luck!
Best wishes in your trial, Matt!
I can definitely empathize on #3 and #4. Convenience has been and will continue to be a hurdle. Especially if you want to be nutritionally sound. And being forced to cook more often than in the past can get old.
My remedy that works for me to combat such issues to avoid lapses or regression, is to occasionally give in to the myriad of packaged vegan foods available. Although I’d much prefer a homemade casserole that requires a couple of hours of cooking time, it’s just not feasible every night. Therefore a sandwich with Gardein chick’in and Daiya or Tofutti cheese will have to do. This makes it akin to making that simple cold cut turkey sandwich when I was a meat eater.
I certainly think subscribing to vegan packaged food items for convenience sakes and a break from cooking food from scratch, provides an adequate break from the normal routine. Furthermore, I realize, at the same time I’m supporting products and companies that will ultimately help the greater population transition to a vegan lifestyle.
Good luck, again!
Love this post, Matt. I’ve been vegetarian for 7 months now and I definitely have run into most of the issues you’ve listed. Mostly the part about people think I’m judging them – which is SO not the case. I’m working on letting the digs roll off my back. 🙂 Bravo for writing this. Love it!
You forgot the most annoying question ever: “So where do you get your protein?” If I had a nickel for everytime I had to explain that one 😉
My husband and I did a month long vegan experiment last January–it went really well (but I didn’t convert to a full vegan). Good luck!!
Ha – I find that I can get plenty bloated from vegetarian food as well, so you’ve got that on me! But in truth, I’m not sure that any of these things “suck” exactly (though that’s mostly a semantic problem I guess). If you’re not veg, maybe you are a picky eater. If you’re not picky, you’re allergic to dairy, or something, and so on. Eaters without any restrictions are few and far between, and I think I’m lucky to chow down on such an incredible variety of vegetables and tempeh and spices that the meat-and-potatoes crowd wouldn’t even consider.
That said, I feel you completely on number one – it’s a pretty mega drawback. I’ve always been veg, but I don’t know how that would continue were I ever to move abroad.
Hmm I can see where your coming from with most of this and visiting new places you might not be able to get the “authentic” version, but anytime we travel we love checking out happycow/forums/blogs/ect. for the best veg*n restaurants in that area where you can usually try some local veg versions of whatever theyre famous for. As for steak houses, if they are nice they usually have at least a few veg options and have some of the best salads of any restaurants. You can check theyre wine list before hand to make sure its veg as well to get the full experience as well.
It is true you can easily fall into the trap of eating junk food (and lots of it) while out because that’s all there is to fill up on but as long as you plan a bit before hand and make yourself some snacks there not much to worry about. As for the cooking that’s shame you feel like that because in my opinion being veg*n opens so many doors when making food especially as you venture into the vegan month of September. Trying to make food as tasteful as if not better than the original without the use of animal ingredients is very fulfilling especially when others try them and would never think twice about the ingredients. Hope you the best on the vegan month, Im interested how you like it.
Matt — thank you for this post!! I appreciate the complete honesty AND the fact that you ended each negative thing with a positive note. I didn’t read this as giving negative publicity or bashing vegetarianism at all…it’s just giving awareness to some of the challenges you’ve had with the diet (challenges many of us can relate to!!).
I have been a vegetarian for most of my life now and have no desire to go back to eating meat. But that doesn’t mean it’s always a “bed of roses.” Sometimes there ARE things that are harder once you’re a vegetarian and I think it’s SO important to talk about these things (especially to people who are considering it) rather than to sugar-coat it. I especially resonate with number 3, 5, and 7. You can’t always control WHERE you go out to eat (whether you’re traveling or meeting friends or whatever) and sometimes the non-meat options are pretty limited. A heavy pasta with cream sauce or a dinner of junk food isn’t healthier just because it contains no meat. And the same goes for eating at friends’ houses. Many of my friends are very supportive, but that doesn’t change the fact that I feel BAD asking them to cook something different for me, and often have to fashion a meal out of side-dishes.
Anyway, I think it’s important to accept and appreciate ALL aspects of any lifestyle choice. Sometimes I have bad runs or don’t feel like doing a particular workout…does that mean that I want to give up running?? Or that I’m not a “real” runner because I’m not 100% positive about it all the time? I certainly don’t think so. I love the benefits of running and it has become an important part of my life. And the same goes for vegetarianism.
I can basically agree with all of the things that suck, except for number 4. Cooking has only gotten better for me since I went vegan! Being vegan has forced me to get more creative in the kitchen and try new things that I never would have before. I’m sure if I was still eating meat I would have never ventured into making my own seitan, quinoa, and other vegan protein dishes. And since eating out basically sucks, I have to rely on my own cooking most of the time. I hope trying out veganism gives you some kitchen inspiration! 🙂
#1 was the biggest issue keeping me from committing to lifetime vegetarianism.
Love that you admit what you see as downsides. I think so few people will do that, and that’s maybe in part why #7 crops up?
I stopped buying meat to cook at home when I was living alone. I think you’ll come around to enjoying vegetarian cooking. The only thing I occasionally wish for is some bacon to jazz up a dish. Send me an email and I’ll give you a couple of my absolute fave recipes which also happen to be vegetarian (full disclosure: I eat meat right now, but I still only rarely cook meat at home).
#1 is the most challenging/irritating but it all comes back to making the choice. Are the benefits worth the sacrifice?
For me the answer is – Absolutely yes, and whenever I question that, I visit a local farm and take pictures of the cows and pigs. I know it sounds silly, but it really reinforces my decision to eat like this.
For #7 – I don’t think people care as much as you think. Case in point: my entire family (husband, child, parents, sister) and 99% of my friends all eat meat.
I find I disagree with a few of these points, although I question the degree to which they’re a problem as a vegetarian. Try being vegan and dealing with the local delicacies! Sometimes it’s more a problem with language barriers or misunderstandings where people don’t know what veganism is.
Compared to how unhealthy most meat & dairy based food is, filling up on junk once in awhile instead of starving is better than filling up on junk all the time. Most meat is so pumped full of hormones and antibiotics that the risks far outweigh the benefits.
Social situations can be awkward, so I think it’s reasonable to give a heads up in advance rather than dealing with offending them AFTER they’ve gone to the trouble of making you food that you can’t eat. If they really are your friends, as you said, they should be OK with it. If it’s a problem, invite them over and cook them food that everyone can eat. Problem solved.
I see you’re in Maryland – make a trip down to Richmond and see just how good eating dinner out can be!
As far as things being ‘not vegetarian’ when they seem like they should be, a little food for thought… For milk, eggs, and other animal products, there are local sources for those things where the animals ARE treated humanely. But I don’t know anyone who’s so concerned with it that they only, exclusively support those sources and don’t ever indulge at a restaurant or at a friend’s house. Respect to those who do, of course.
For large-scale operations, cows and chickens which produce dairy and eggs have significantly shorter lifespans than they would under normal conditions, and ultimately give their lives in the name of mass production. So I consider eggs/dairy/cheese to be flesh-foods also, thus not vegetarian unless you’re getting them from trust-worthy sources (IE local farms where you can SEE the animals and know they’re being treated well).
Keep in mind, dear Matt, that month #1 in veganism is probably the suckiest one. This is the month in which you realize just how much you can no longer eat. You spend your time explaining yourself to people, and looking longingly at what used to be an option on the menu. I will never, ever deny that cheesecake was one of life’s greatest pleasures. Was.
Vegetarianism is a cinch. Every restaurant has a cheese/egg/butter soaked vegetarian option. For heavens sakes, you can even eat at Cracker Barrel!
It’s months 2 and 3 that you really start to get used to it – AND realize just how much more energy you have.
I think you should try 6 months. You always seemed to be a man up for a real challenge 😉
That is sad that you don’t enjoy cooking anymore. For me, it was the opposite. I hardly cooked before I became veg. because there were so many places to eat out or easy prep meals to buy. Now, I want to know what goes into my food so I have to do it on my own, so I actually cook more and I really enjoy it. I like looking up new recipes and trying new dishes. It has become easier and cheaper to cook myself than to try to buy a prepared meal outside.
Matt, I second the “Purely Decadent” recommendation. I haven’t been able to eat dairy for years because of an allergy. These guys do mint chocolate chip and a peanut butter fudge thing that taste phenomenal. They also have coconut milk versions – actually, if you like coconut milk, it can become a godsend as a vegan. It replaces the creams of any South Asian dish, not to mention nearly everything at Thai and Sri Lankan restaurants is made with the stuff (including mango sticky rice with coconut milk, and any homemade ice creams these guys make).
If you find soy ice cream to be an adjustment, you can top it off with these, the only 100% dairy-free versions of chocolate sauce I can find:
(I think they might be able to ship you some if it isn’t in your local organic store?)
Other things you should get your hands ASAP for this month of veganism:
– If you want to make pizza — the only vegan cheese I have ever found that properly melts and is truly vegan (no casein)
– Tofutti cream cheese
I *highly* recommend herb and chive if you can find it — it’s a slight addiction of mine
– replacing milk is probably the most difficult. In addition to trying a million different kinds of soy milks, I have decided that VitaSoy is probably my favorite (esp the chocolate flavored one). I prefer Trader Joe’s rice milk (original flavor but a bit sweet) or Pacific foods (http://www.pacificfoods.com/) almond milk in my cereal. And their hazelnut milk is amazingly good heated up in the microwave…….
I’m detecting a weak moment here. Don’t cave in dude. You have what it takes to stick with it. If you give it enough time you will not crave meat any longer. It’s been over 25 years since I’m eaten any form of beef, pig or fowl and I can no longer remember the taste. Be strong like you were in your 50-miler. “Train the mind and the body will follow.”
While I am in the “got into cooking” camp, I can relate to everything else. Number 2 is something Husband and I have been talking about a lot lately. It makes me really jealous of West Coasters with their vegan eateries on every block. Number 7 is the worst though– It’s such a bummer when someone finds out we’re vegan and then gets a defensive “Don’t try to convert me” look.
Take a trip to Austin, we are very veggie friendly here and there are a lot of great restaurants to try that are vegetarian, vegan and even raw that are excellent. Even the non veggie restaurants always have some great options. I definitely feel spoiled here 🙂
Good luck on your vegan journey. I agree with most of what you said. However, I love cooking now more than ever. When I ate meat it seemed like I cooked the same 5 or 6 meals all the time. Now I cook so many different things and they are so much more colorful and certainly more nutritious.
I have one to add- a rumbly and bloated stomach and many trips to the bathroom. Ever since I started eating semi-vegan and completely vegetarian, I really struggle with stomach issues. I think it’s from all the fiber, since most of my protein sources contain a ton of it. Any one else have this issue or any suggestionz?Thanks!
Finding your blog and especially this post comes at a perfect time in my life. I went vegan just 2 days ago after watching reports on that egg farm in Iowa (the one traced to the tainted eggs). I was horrified at the conditions. And once I started doing a little research on chicken farms, that led to information on cows and pigs etc. The way they are treated makes me so sad and angry. I can’t believe I have lived almost 50 years with my head in the sand. And I couldn’t even watch all the videos because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to sleep without having nightmares about it. What I saw was bad enough.
I never have eaten a lot of red meat, but I wasn’t exactly a vegetarian either so you could say I’ve gone cold turkey. I will definitely join you in your month of veganism. I am looking forward it.
Two blogs you HAVE to read are http://peasandthankyou.com/ (Today Sarah has an AMAZING looking “cheeseburger”) and Angela’s blog http://ohsheglows.com/
Both are vegans and have awesome recipes.
I am off to explore the rest of your site. Love it so far!
Lacto-veg 8 years, vegan 3.
The food part for me is a synch! The part I don’t like is the crossed wires in family situations – the relatives think I’m from Mars or something.
The day I knew I had it conquered was the day I calmly explained to my Great Aunt over a steak dinner that eating meat was almost cannibalism to me. She didn’t take offence and I didn’t feel embarrassed or righteous. Victory!
After that, I just let go. Expect people to get weird and forgive them.
Dude- congrats on trying out vegan. It’s not going “further,” just further from the “norm,” which could just be a brilliant, brilliant thing, considering.
First, I love your website and have been sharing it w/ my vegan husband who also loves it so thank you!
I have always eaten the WORST diet imaginable until a few years ago, my husband’s vegan example (not lecturing) gradually influenced my food choices. This past year during Lent (hey, if 1/5 of the world is suffering, I can too!) I decided to go strict vegan. Mind you, I was only vegetarian once during a different Lent (6 wks long and I hated it).
Well, it was miserable to say the least. The first 3 weeks are torture, but after that it gets MUCH easier! I held steady and finished out the 6 weeks, then I ate a homemade fried chicken & 5 cheese pasta for Easter Sunday and felt so horrible I continued to be vegan for another 4 weeks. Since then I have made a decision to eat vegan for almost every meal (about 95% of all my meals). When I want a cheese steak, pizza or egg sandwich or any other “crappy” food, I make myself wait 2 weeks. If I still want it, which is almost never, I eat it. But when I finally eat it, it doesn’t even taste that good so I don’t eat that item again. 🙂
The pros for being vegan (since you know the cons): more energy, less fat in the diet, poop w/ regularity (not as much of a problem for guys, I know), less swelling while being active, less mood swings (another girl thing), weight loss, clearer mind. I have ALWAYS enjoyed cooking & baking, but I know what you mean about it being different not cooking meat. When you go vegan, it’s super fun to learn about flax seeds replacing eggs in baking and trying almond, rice, hemp, & oat milks. Try cashew cream to replace cream in sauces & nutritional yeast helps w/ a cheesy flavor. I know I’m not even 100% vegetarian, but I hope this helps.
That’s a shame you don’t enjoy cooking anymore. I’m a vegan chef and it’s pretty much my dream job!
You forgot… no more marshmallows.
Great vegan book “Now Vegan!” by Linda Stoner. Hubby is a keen meat eater but really likes the food in this book, and you don’t get a better recommendation than that… Even my frighteningly fussy children eat and like food from this book.
What I like about it is that none of the food tastes like there is anything missing. It looks and tastes so fantastic you don’t even notice it is vegan!
Interesting post! As somebody who was vegetarian for more than 10 years, I can relate to many of these. If you’re really bothered by this, stop being a vegetarian fundamentalist. I’m following a 90% vegetarian diet now, and get to try local delicacies, eat out, dine with friends without a hassle, etc. … and still get all the benefits of being a veggie.
#8. Every single time you tell somebody you are a vegetarian, without fail, they will start arguing with you. “God made animals for us to eat!”, “They’re just cows!”, “Look at our canine teeth- they’re meant for meat!”. It kind of sort of makes me want to punch them in the face. I agree with you that people really feel like I am going to try to convert them and get defensive- I mean come on! And I’ve also always felt that whenever I tell people that I’m a vegetarian, I am saying it in a way that is superior or something even when I just try to sound genuine. I just don’t like the word vegetarian, I prefer to tell people I just don’t eat meat.
It is interesting to read all of your comments. I became a vegetarian in 1964 when people looked at you weird when you said that you didn’t eat meat. American was “real meat and potatoes” then. Now, I agree it can be tough at times but most restaurants have at least something that can be called vegetarian, although not always vegan. But I’ve noticed that vegan is getting more and more popular as well. I’ve only recently started running and did 4 5Ks this summer. In two of them I was first for my age group.
What convinced me to be vegetarian back then? The life spans of the biblical patriarchs. After they were given permission to eat meat, their life spans rapidly decreased. Check it out sometime.
I’ve been a vegan for about 4 months, and just started training for my first Marathon (sacramento, December 5th). Gotta love how I feel.
Though I do admit, I slipped up for the second time tonight and ate some cheese. Ah, welcome back glorious IBS.
I’ve been vegetarian since late last December and thought I might go all the way to vegan, but then I found out I have issues with soy. (I am super sensitive to all things soy; it hurts me!!) So many of the vegan alternative foods revolve around soy that I’ve given up; vegetarian is as far as I’m willing to go. I don’t eat a lot of dairy (and I always buy veg cheese, no animal rennet) and very few eggs, but they do round out my diet for at least a few meals every week. I wish you the best with your month long foray into veganism! I hope it’s a successful experiment.
You should look into other alternatives, i.e. rice milk, almond milk, coconut, nutritional yeast (my favorite). I’m not allergic to soy but I try not to make it my main source of protein/animal fat alternative.
Interesting perspective. After being vegetarian for over 15 years, meat does not appeal to me at all, so I’d never be sad about missing out on local meats or a steak dinner. I don’t find that eating out is lame at all. I have branched out and tried new cuisines that I might never have tried if I had been stuck on the same old pizza and burgers. I am not sure where you live but around here there is tons of vegetarian food. We never go hungry. I’ve eaten plenty of meals at people’s houses and no one ever really seems to mind making it vegetarian. If they do, what kind of friend are they? I hope over time you will stop longing for these experiences because a meatless life is to be enjoyed and is in fact superior to a carnivorous one.
Great post! I would like to cut back on my dairy, but I’m not ready to be vegan, even for a month!
I especially agree with the eating junk thing. That happens so much when I visit my parents and they have chicken wings + steak tips for dinner and crackers for me! Um, that’s not a meal!
I think if you let the restaurants know of your needs with a smile they will be more than happy to help! Good luck with the challenge- this may turn into a lifestyle change 😉
Eating at a friends house – I always feel like I’m a freak! or going out to dinner w/ people and asking the waiter to tweak a meal for me.. awkward.
About five months ago I stopped eating any meat other than poultry and seafood. I must say I feel much better since the change and since have considered trying vegetarianism (even if only for a week or so, just to see how it goes). You’ve provided a lot of insight for me, and now I want even more to try it. Thanks for the info. Good luck with your month as a vegan!
Nice to see a proud vegetarian admit that there are some times when it sucks. Once in awhile the smell of bacon gets me too haha. Good luck with the month of being vegan. Can’t wait to read more about it.
hiya! I watched Earthlings the other day after seeing it on your sight. I decided to go vegan the next day. Not as sudden as it sounds, I’d been thinking very seriously about it for a while now. I think I was looking for something to really shake me up, and it did! It’s so hard not to want to share it with everyone, and I’m worried that my friends will start to think I’m preachy. One bummer that you forgot to mention is how lonely it can feel when you realize your friends may not share the same enthusiasm for healthy eating and compassion for animals with you. It’s so good to have the blog community to turn to when I need a reminder that there are many many people with the same values! Thanks for the great blog 🙂
Yes, it can be a bit lonely, but don’t expect everyone to agree with you. If you are going to an “event”
take something special along so that at least if all else fails you’ll have something to eat! Often I have done that, and everyone wanted to taste it (oh it’s vegetarian!) so I still ended up with not much to eat! After while you’ll get used to it and it will be fine. Be sure to do a healthy diet, though. You need to be sure to balance the protein (not really difficult–but there IS such a thing as not enough protein–although most Americans get way too much). Beans and brown rice make an excellent complete protein, beans and brown bread as well. All the legumes are good protein sources. Tofu is great and can be combined in many ways. I even make tofu mayo–but it doesn’t keep so long in the fridge as the regular mayo. It is easy to get all kinds of recipes now–jut google the name of what you want to make + recipe!
It does take some planning in the beginning. Be careful not to overdo on the sweets. It is easy to rationalize that they are vegetarian!!! Plenty of fresh veggies and fruits and you are on your way!
I raised two children vegetarian and now my daughter is raising her children (my grandchildren) vegetarian. It is a lifestyle choice and gets easier once you are used to it. I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by at least some friends that are vegetarian.
THIS IS WHY PEOPLE KILL ANIMALS BECAUSE OF PEOPLE LIKE YOU … TELL THAT TO THOSE POOR ANIMALS THAT ARE BEING SLAUGHTER EACH DAY … THERE IS NO WORSE EXAMPLE OF HUMAN BEING THAN THOSE WHO TREAT ANIMALS LIKE THAT .. Better yet!!!! let’s stop eating animals, let’s stop the slaughter of those poor animals… GO VEGETARIAN 🙂 THERE IS OTHER SORTS OF FOOD STOP BEING SO SELFISH …ENOUGH!!!
Aw, I think its sad that you don’t enjoy cooking as much!
For me, it was vice versa- I didn’t cook that much before I went veg, but now its samosas, curries, casseroles, grilled kebabs, smoothies, waffles, tempeh bacon- whenever i have the time, of course 🙂
Sorry about this long and personal boring story.I dont really wish anyone to read this essay its just a way for me to vent my feelings!!!
i come from India where vegetarianism is the NORM in a majority of the states and meat-eaters are generally out of view. I originate from one of the exclusive non-vegetarian communities among Hindus. We do exist in large numbers but all my life i ve grown up in regions where vegetarians dominated. That has influenced my food habits and even when i was a meat-eater, I would relish it mostly once in a week or rarer. 95% of the time, I would stick to the same food as vegetarins surrounding me did.
Only one person in my current circle of friends and contacts eats meat (apart from the ex-me, a recent vegetarian convert). Most people I know have never relished the joys of non-vegetarian fare for their whole lives – they consider it something abnormal, not to mention sinful due to the all-pervasive influence of Hinduism!!!
Its not like the vegetarians have a problem with meat-eaters (or ex-meaters like me) as people but their strict dietary principles can cause a lot of annoyance for those who relish tasty chicken, mutton and fish. As you know Indian food has quite a lot of culiniary diversity when it comes to non-vegetarian fare.
However, vegetarians in India can be real fanatics. They want to make you feel guilty for eating meat. Its not like they love animals or birds – its just they consider themselves superior to you! Vegetarians in India put up segregated residential areas where they do not allow non-vegetarian renters or home-owners. At the school cafeteria or dining halls, the vegetarians wont sit next to you if youre having meat on the table. Being an ex-non-vegetarian, I had endured years of abuse and bigotry from vegetarians. They always tried to influence what I could eat, or what I could not.
As a sign of rebellion, as soon as I sprung on my own feet, earning money, I decided to middle finger these vegetarians. I became a militant non-vegetarian and would deliberately annoy these vegetarians with discussions on meat. I experimented with pork (which is not very common in Indian cuisine) and started enjoying the taste of swine flesh. I also doubled or tripled my intake of mutton, chicken, turkeys, prawn, lobster – I just didnt try beef for my own religious taboo. However, I would have done that too – just if I had the opportunity to piss off a few vegetarians!
Howver, 3-4 years of being a voracious carnivore means I had abused my body a lot. I gained 50 pounds extra weight, had to constantly empty my bowels to take a shite as I really used to shit a hell lot when eating all that rich, tasty meat! I always felt lethargic and depressed even though I wasnt really eating as much meat as Americans do!
Things came to a head when I developed knee problems at age 28 – I had severe recurring pains in my knee. The doctor told me it had everything to do with my excess weight. That comment stung me for days at end! My “pro-meat” lifestyle was wrong, and doing me endless damage.
Soon, I saw the source of the problem. It wasnt the meat per se, but the gluttony that it was encouraging. No doubt non-vegetarian fare is much more delicious than vegetarian fare. But, a look into my surroundings confirmed my worst anxieties – I took a critical and observed that the vegetarians living near me enjoyed much better health than I did. They were usually leaner, the right shape, shit only once a day and seemed to enjoy their lives better. I also did a statistical research on this subject to find vegetatrian communities in India also tend to be the RICHEST communities. I suddenly started associating the same vegetarians who I middle fingered in the past with success, and wealth. I wanted to be like them – the aspiration was that immediate.
Over the last six months I ve been vegetarian. It has profoundly healed my body and mind. I have lost 25 pounds (still on target for another 25 to regain my lost shape). My knee problems have disappeared. I also feel more active, energetic and the feeling that I’m not killing animals does feel good. Although, I still believe eating meat in moderation is good. I still eat eggs and dairy. So, I m more of a lacto ovo vegetarian.
Unlike before, I also feel more accepted in vegetatarian surroundings. Earlier, I used to mock their dietary habits, now I’m one of them. So, I’m no longer a pariah at the table.
Matt – that is interesting! I found just the opposite about cooking when switching to vegetarian. Maybe being vegan forces me to explore more foods, but I find it very rewarding, especially when I get the thumbs-up from omnivores. I also enjoy going out to eat and I found that going vegan introduced me to several foods I wouldn’t have tried in the past, such as Ethiopian food. If you haven’t discovered happycow.net, you should give it a try. They list veg*n restaurants all around the world.
Love this post. I feel SO JUDGED by what I CHOOSE to eat. I’m sure you know what kind of comments I am talking about. I always worry when going to a company event (I work for a farming organization) that people will question what is on my plate or why I give the waiter a “vegetarian” card. I don’t judge you–so don’t judge me. People make me feel really bad because I choose not to eat meat. They treat me like I’m weird, criticize. It makes me feel horrible. It makes me wonder if I should just go back to eating turkey or chicken–but I don’t really want to do that. I miss turkey sandwiches (especially Turkey Tom subs from Jimmy John’s) but otherwise I don’t miss meat at all. I increasingly ate less of it, hence becoming fully no-meat. Anyway, thanks. I find your blog just the support I need. 🙂 I may send people the link to this article when they want to judge!
Do your best to ignore their comments. Be sure not to just not eat meat, but really eat healthy food and you’ll out live them anyway. All the people that made fun of me for not eating meat are dead already. I became vegetarian in the 60’s when people really thought vegetarians were weird. We thought it was GREAT when the airlines started offering a vegetarian option (now they don’t feed you at all!!!) There were no veggie options in restaurants either. It was either “meat it or leave it!” When we traveled we usually took food with us.
Did you see the “meatatarian” commercial from Wendy’s awhile ago? I thought it was hilarious–guess they feel threatened!
Sometimes one can think of a cute, inoffensive comment that helps. I can’t think of one off the top of my head at the moment.
One I use for alcohol (I don’t drink either) is: “Some people have lots of brain cells so they don’t have to worry. I only have a few so I have to save what I have!” That usually gets a chuckle and we go on to discussing other things.
Don’t worry. Just be a happy vegetarian.
I just read your part on being vegan for a month I really hope you do not think eggs are part of dairy. They come from a chicken which makes them poultry. A lot of people mix this up for some reason.
To does that feel like it’s impossible to stop eating meat, maybe this will help you. http://www.mercyforanimals.org/veal/
Sorry about that ! To thoes who feel like it’s impossible to stop eating meat maybe this will help you.
I totally disagree with you on #4. Vegetarian and Vegan cooking has been a blast for me!! Much more fun than preparing a lame-ass chicken breast and some steamed vegetables.
go the Vegan!! i woke up one day (about 6 months ago) and decided i wanted to change the world starting with myself and so went vegan (wasn’t previously a vegetarian) and am so happy in myself knowing i am making a change. its also so much healthier.
Sometimes it can be frustrating, but stick with it. There are lots of websites with good vegetarian recipes. Remember whole grains, a few nuts, little or no fat (which can be difficult in restaurants!) and plenty of veggies and fresh fruit. Not all of this at the same meal of course! An inexpensive way to have fresh vegetables is to sprout seeds. Use special seeds for sprouting, NOT gardening ones. Enough advice. Have fun, be healthy!
It cracks me up every time I hear vegans/vegetarians think themselves more healthy than a meat eater OMG it’s funny. It’s not even remotely true, eating meat is as healthy as can be. VV’s eat plants that have been killed, butchered and yes plants do suffer, but if it’s an animal then it’s some how different ? LMAO I know a lot of meat eaters who are age 90+ and a lot of VV’s who kicked the bucket at 50.
Wow. Plants suffer. I have heard it all. You are living in a dream world. Sure some meat eaters don’t get sick, but stick to science and it clearly states that a low-fat diet is less likely to cause heart disease or cancer. Try reading the China Study and you will see facts on this issue, not just “stories”.
yep, number 7 for sure…… and what really pisses me off is that most people try to, like, prove you wrong about being vegan (like, man, you don t eat meat, but you smoke cigarettes, whats the point?) instead of just respecting your choice, whever they agree or not.. it is very difficult to be a vegan in Europe (in France, people look at you like you lost your mind), but its true that theres more places for vegans and vegetarians now than a few years ago……….
cool blog anyway, very encouraging
You might want to read The China Study by Colin T. Campbell. It is a very scientific longitudinal study. Campbell was like you, he believed that not only was meat eating healthy, but that it was the answer to the world’s health problems. It is a rather pricey book, you might want to get it from the library. He also has a video, “Forks over Knives.” If you don’t have time to read the book. (But the book’s better!)
I love meat!! I’m a triathlete and have been on a health kick for most of my adult life and as I’m reading through your website, at first with the intention of just picking up some advice for training, but as I get more into it and try more things, I’ve discovered that this vegetarian thing might be for me! I have never done it, never even thought about it but all of the sudden I’ve been meat free for two weeks! I know a small amount of time in the grand scheme of things, but I have to say that I feel so amazing! So much energy, better sleep, better mood (no bloating!) I have a triathlon this weekend and am so excited to see how I feel now that I have been meat free and using a ton of your pre and post workout ideas! Thank you so much for your inspiration!!
Have a wonderful triathlon. I hope you do very well. I hope you use
mostly whole grains and fresh fruits f for carbs.
Well, Misty, how was the triathlon?
What a great article. Especially 1, 3, 5 and 7. ha ha. Well, I guess I don’t think being a vegetarian sucks, because I am not a true vegetarian. While I crave fresh fruits and vegetables, and food without preservatives and chemicals, I am not above eating something dubious because it is convenient at that time. So being 95% vegetarian makes being “vegetarian” always fun.
About twice a month, when I am not cooking vegetarian and vegan dishes for my husband and I because he is away on business, I might make fish tacos or a soup or curry with some chicken in it. This rarely happens ofcourse, maybe once or twice a month, but its enough because other than those times, I usually don’t crave to eat meat. Diehard vegetarians and vegans, I respect you for dealing with the drawbacks. At first, I would wait it out being hungry like my husband, but forget that man, I would eat a soup without meat even though the broth was made with meat. It is not that serious for me.
If you temporarily go veggie as a teenager, like I did, and people ask why you ‘gave up’ (that has happened to me), you simply have to tell to tell them that you didn’t exactly ‘give up’, but sort of got bullied into it, because of when you’re sick to death of all the nauseating fast food and sweets and want to eat naturally for a while, but people don’t understand.
Thanks for your article! I’ve been vegetarian for 2 years now, and I sometimes have weak points where I just want some hot wings :p. There really aren’t many vegetarians where I live so I feel alone with it at times, as I have no one to relate to and meat eaters just wouldn’t understand. Anyways, it’s so nice to know someone else feels this way too at times!! I love how you turned everything into a positive because it IS such a positive thing to be vegetarian/vegan 🙂
Hi! I don’t agree with all of them. I think just with the last one, that’s totally true! And maybe the first one because I love traveling and it’s hard to find vegan traditional food of the country you go, but it’s not impossible. I’m from Peru and the food here is amazing so what I do is ask for a vegan substitute. For example, there is a dish called “Lomo saltado” which is with beef so I just asked them not to put beef and to put vegetables instead and it’s the same awesome taste of the sauce. Also “Tallarines verdes” which normally comes with meat, I ask not to put it and I can still try the flavor of the green sauce. The same with anything else. Yesterday I made “ceviche” which normally is with raw fish, but I put mango instead and everyone loved it! So, yes, you can try! The other things you said are not really bad. I love cooking vegan 🙂 Specially desserts and makes me happier knowing that I’m not hurting animals.
I agree. I do however will add that I also enjoy being a vegetarian. I “accidentally” ate somethings with meat broth and got sick. As I am eating my food now, I cannot see ever going back to eating meat. I feel a lot better since being a vegetarian… and my state of mind, amazing :). Keep at it! Also, I am a vegetarian that does Crossfit and lots of mud runs and activities.
You said ” I can try anything for a month” and I am sure anyone can if they have some incentive ( or disincentive not to..).
As to recreating the steak dinner experience, if you went vegan as you threatened you will doubtless not have that problem anymore. Superior to the taste of food is the significance attached to it, easily demonstrated by the fact that if you were told during a meal that you were actually eating your dog, you would instantly stop eating and probably vomit.
What we associate with a food is far more powerful than the taste.
That association could be the knowledge that a certain food will deny you good health, or long life or it may represent obesity or the needless suffering in life and the premature death of an innocent animal. If you favourite vegetable was carrots and a disease befell the entire carrot population, you would see a carrot and think sickness, maybe death and the thought of eating one would be abhorrent.
So top of the list in for some people can instantly go to the bottom and out of sight.
Vegan is the go 🙂
Of course they do.
You should know too, that the earth is flat, fairies live at the bottom of my garden and Alice in Wonderland lives next door to me. 🙂
I’m an athlete and in high school and for a while now I’ve been wanting to try going vegetarian. I finally told my parents and they said good luck and I would like to try it for a month and see how I do. If all goes well I’ll stick with it. Do you have any advise?
(Where’s the beef?….)
No offence, but dairy is way worse for your health and animals than eating meat. I think people should cut dairy before meat if they need to cut one or the other.
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