Over the couple of years I have gone back and forth about becoming a vegetarian. When we were in college Jason and I committed to being at-home vegetarians, which meant we could eat meat when we were at restaurants but we didn’t buy meat when we were at home. This system worked out well for us because we never had to worry about dietary restrictions when we were with other people, but we were eating more sustainably.
My interest in vegetarianism is almost wholly due to sustainability. It’s not that I’m not interested in animal rights; I was actually a vegetarian for about a year in junior high for that reason alone. My interest in animal rights is just not my number one priority. For health reasons Jason and I have worked hard to cut highly processed foods out of our diet (although there is always more to be done) and have amped up the amount of fruits and vegetables we eat every day. I have also been working recently to cut out the amount of sugar I eat, which I’ve been mildly successful at.
Here are my concerns about becoming a vegetarian…
1. I do not like beans (excepts for chickpeas), mushrooms, or avocados.
2. I do like some soy meat replacements, but I do not think eating a large amount of soy is healthy or sustainable. Honestly, I think I could find more sustainable options in meat.
3. I do not want to up the amount of dairy I consume, especially since I painstakingly cut back on the amount of dairy I eat when I started losing weight (and it was hard, because a girl loves cheese).
4. I worry that because of the foods I dislike I will have a very difficult time eating out as a vegetarian, and consequently eat a lot of high-fat dishes like mac and cheese.
To sum this up, I do not want to sacrifice my health in order to cut out meat. I realize there are a lot of health benefits to cutting out meat, but if I’m making poor food choices and not eating enough calories (another big concern for me) then I do not think it’s a worthwhile decision.
Here are a few reasons I really feel I should become a vegetarian…
1. If I can eat meat-free in a healthy, sustainable way I think I will improve my overall health and well being, and possibly improve a health condition I have.
2. When I was eating less meat than I am now I remember thinking that fruits and vegetables were more flavorful and exciting. I remember when I realized that carrots actually tasted sweet, and it was incredible.
3. As our population grows more and more people are going to demand meat, which is going to take a huge toll on our environment. I would love to set an example for others by eating a vegetarian diet and showing a more sustainable way of life.
4. It’s just something I’ve always wanted to do, and I know I would not regret it if I did it right.
As you can see, my cons are fairly superficial and I think the only thing holding me back is fear. Jason would be 100% behind this decision, I think it’s worth noting, and would eat a vegetarian diet at home if that is what I decided I wanted to do.
I’d love to hear from vegetarians and meat eaters about your experience with vegetarian cooking, or about any resources you have! Currently my main resource is No-Meat Athlete.