When I was 12-years-old, I defiantly declared that I would never eat meat again! This was despite my mother threatening “You’ll die if you don’t eat meat!” Today being a vegetarian is a huge part of my self identity and affects almost ever aspect of my life. These are my vegetarian commandments.
Thou Shall Not Convert Others
This is in red for a reason. Just don’t do it. Don’t even try. People come to different lifestyles for various reasons, but no one should be guilted into making a huge life change about what they choose or don’t choose to put into their bodies. If you ever get the inkling to convert someone, just think about all the times someone called you stupid for being a vegetarian. (If this hasn’t happened to you, your time is coming!)
Avoid Arguing About Dietary Choices
Whenever I first tell someone I’m a vegetarian more often than not, they respond by laying out all the reasons why they love to eat meat. Frankly, I could care less about about why you love bacon or how good a burger is when cooked over the grill. The best response to this reaction is just to nod politely and say, “That’s great for you.”
Reserve the Right to Change Your Mind
I have a confession: I’d be lying if I said I’ve been a vegetarian for a solid 13 years. In that span there were three years where I ate meat for various reasons ranging from health concerns to I just wanted to. Remember, this is your life and you should be able to eat what you want. If being a vegetarian isn’t working for you, don’t do it.
Consume Oddly Named Foods
Tempeh. Tofu. Seitan. Quinoa. They’re all packed with your protein. Learn to cook ‘em at least five different ways.
Mind Your Health
You may not die from not eating meat, but you might get very sick. From age 19 to 21, I was sick every month because I knew very little about nutrition. Talk to a nutritionist. Monitor your food intake not for calories, but for vitamins and protein.
Don’t Expect Everyone to Remember Your Dietary Restrictions
To this day, my dad still asks me, “Do you want a hamburger, Court?” every time he’s grilling out. Realize that not everyone will always remember that you’re a vegetarian, and it’s not because they don’t respect you, but because they have so many other things to remember! Keep this commandement in mind especially if you’re going to any parties, and remember to make sure the host knows you’re a vegetarian.
Resign Thyself to Limited Restaurant Options
Unless you’re in a major metropolitan area, eating out can seriously suck when you only have three options from the menu and two of them are salads. Do your research ahead of time so you can either suggest an alternate restaurant or at least know what your lack of options will be. Try hard not to complain because no one likes a complainer on a night out.
If You’re Not a Vegetarian, Don’t Claim to Be One
Eat fish on Fridays? Eat chicken once in awhile? Give meat up for Lent but eat it every other day of the year? Friends, if you answered yes to any of these questions then you are not a vegetarian. Yes, I’m one of those vegetarians who will dimiss you and give you a hard time if you claim to be a vegetarian but eat meat. Unless you’ve totally cut meat out of your diet, you are not a vegetarian.
Are You a Vegetarian? Share Your Insight!
Are you a vegetarian? Have you ever been one? Would you give it a try? Share your thoughts by commenting.