Five Tips for Vegetarian Success.

Via on Mar 25, 2012

How to live a flesh-free life:

1. Have a strong rationale for ditching meat.

To truly make the change to a flesh-free diet you have to have a reason that keeps you meatless when you salivate over a remembered flavor or when you’re feeling too lazy to think outside the box of meat.

My personal rationale is emotional (and laughably schmaltzy). The little spark my dog’s eyes and her clear preferences have convinced me that she has little doggie ideas. And I’ve decided that if my Sophie has notions and a personality, why wouldn’t a cow as well? I can’t eat things that think.

2. Don’t be an assh*le vegetarian.

Sanctimonious herbivores really eff things up for the rest of us. They’ve induced some meat-eaters to be wary of vegetarians, assuming that we’re out to convert ‘em. And nobody likes the dietary proselytizer.

My policy is this: To each her own. Eat meat if you want. Just don’t get your knickers in a knot when I politely refuse your proffered slab of grilled carcass.

3. Be patient with the carnivorous public.

A ridiculously common but absolute bullsh*t understanding about life without meat is that protein is suddenly hard to come by. But protein’s all over the place—grains, nuts, lentils, soy, and—for those not vegan—eggs and some dairy. Yes, the first few months of a meat-free existence are more mealtime intensive, but isn’t it always a bit exhausting when you’re breaking habits to form new ones?

When confronted by someone claiming that vegetarianism is unhealthy, mumbling about iron and B vitamins, I see a couple viable optoins. Option one—use lab work to prove that they’re wrong. I had my physician do a full blood panel to check my levels of, well, everything. It was sufficient evidence that I, an ovo-lacto vegetarian, am wholly healthy. (It’s my opinion that one ought to do this even if they’re not a vegetarian.) If it turns out that your lab work says that things aren’t so good within your inner goings-on, there’s your chance to systematically fix things. Option two—just walk away. The likelihood of these people being swayed from their meat-need convictions is essentially nil.

4. Make it clear to your peeps that this choice of yours is yours and you take responsibility for it.

When going out with friends it may happen that they turn to you, sometimes in an accusatory fashion, and say, “Well, you’re the one with the special eating issues. You choose where we’re going.” Vegetarianism isn’t a diagnosis. Make it clear that you don’t have issues. You just don’t eat meat and there’s not a restaurant menu out there that you can’t make fit your needs.

Heirloom tomatoes
Photo: Ashley Thalman

Every menu will have variations on pasta, potatoes, rice, and/or vegetables. So, yeah, you may be in for a starchy dinner, but if you go to a group meal with knowing that you can prepare accordingly (and I’d argue that the point of eating out with people is the people, and food is just a bonus).

5. Learn where meat might be hiding.

Beef or chicken broths in soups. Bacon fat in cornbread. Lard in Mexican food. Anchovies in Worcestershire sauce. Fish stock in miso soup. Don’t be shy about inquiring after ingredients. Remember that your vegetarianism isn’t an embarrassing affliction. You made this choice—own it.

Some carnivores think it’s funny to see if they can trick you into eating meat. Those people are douchebags. Make clear that you aren’t amused, and then, because it’s deserved, unplug their fridge or, at the very least, short-sheet their bed.

Author has been given permission to use photos from: Ashley Thalman Photography.

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Editor: Kate Bartolotta.

About Megan Romo

Megan Romo gave up a few weeks into yoga teacher training when she realized that she’s too selfish to focus on anyone else’s practice but her own. She’s not ashamed of that anymore. Instead she likes to call it a honed self awareness born of years on the mat. Follow Megan’s little he-cheated-and-left-our-10-year-marriage healing journey and other things that are sometimes interesting and dramatic but sometimes just normal person stuff on her blog remarksfromsparks.com.

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14 Responses to “Five Tips for Vegetarian Success.”

  1. elcarg says:

    There is a rush to the vegetarian lifestyle. Thanks for sharing your perspective. It fits with where many of us are.

    • Megan Romo meganromo says:

      Thanks, elcarg. I initially came up with these as a response from my sister who was inquiring about making the change. I think going about it mindfully, with a plan, is the best way for success.

  2. guest says:

    thanks, that's a nice post. I wouldn't consider your argument for not eating meat (the idea that animals may have thoughts) a good argument at all but whatever floats your boat. I became a vegetarian because I can't stand the way meat is usually produced (how animals are kept, grown and killed). I would eat meat if I could afford meat from humanely grown meat . I don't care if animals can think or not, I think we should avoid suffering of other living things as far as possible (species-appropriate upbringing, quick kill close to location etc)

  3. catnipkiss says:

    I am making this change, for similar reasons (I love animals and I don't want to eat them!) after having a spiritaul experience with a red cow on the road in Tarifa – we looked into each others eyes and I was changed…… (and I know how goofy that sounds!!) I have not found it to be very difficult, although it will be easier when I am home and not traveling, I am sure. I have found that people are really eager to make something that will suit my eating style (as I am often eating other people's cooking) and I am really looking forward to getting home to the US and stocking my own fridge and trying out recipes, etc. Thanks for the article!! – Alexa M.

    • Megan Romo meganromo says:

      Thanks, Alexa. I don't think it sounds goofy, but I do know that it does to other people! Animals are more than meals. Much more. I'm glad to have found a kindred spirit. Good luck in you changes. It is a little, like I said, more mealtime intensive at the beginning, but it's worth it to feel good about leaving animals to live!

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