Tips for Aspiring Vegetarians

(cover image: “Foghorn” curried veggie wrap from Roti Rolls @ Charleston, SC)

Olivia Short ’17

I have a weird, “it’s complicated” relationship with vegetarianism. We’ve been on and off for about 4 years, mostly because of my own laziness. This apparently makes me a “flexitarian,” and I don’t really know how I feel about that word.

But this means I know all the technical tips– the ones that can be intimidating for aspiring vegetarians. Let’s jump right in:

  1. Know your nutrition. At first, it can be tempting to eat nothing but bread and mac n cheese, because, c’mon, they’re vegetarian. But the all-carb lifestyle isn’t healthy, and you’ll feel exhausted. Plan some type of protein with every meal or snack– nuts, eggs, dairy, and beans are your best bet.
  1. Plan ahead before eating out. This may sound like a chore, but it’s easier than ever nowadays. Restaurants are adapting to the higher demand for veg dishes, and almost every menu is readily available online.
  1. Try world cuisine. The best vegetarian recipes come from cultures that have little relied on meat for centuries. You have an excuse to eat exclusively Indian food now! How great is that?
  1. Learn to cook at least a little bit. Vegetarian frozen dinners are, in general, overpriced and not that good. It’s much cheaper to cook your own meals and freeze leftovers. You don’t need to choose super-complicated recipes– sometimes the easiest rice and bean dishes can be your saving grace. (Some recommendations: 1, 2, 3, 4)
  1. Decide how you feel about eating fish. This really is a point not all vegetarians agree on– some religions and cultures don’t deem fish an actual meat. Decide for yourself whether or not you want to live every day like a Lenten Friday.
  1. Have fun with it!! People tend to act like vegetarianism is some kind of bleak jail sentence. But surprisingly, vegetarians are still able to live fulfilling lives. As long as you’re happy with your decision to go veg, I think you’ll find it rewarding. Eat your rabbit food proudly :-)!!

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