Becoming Vegetarian: Slow and Steady

Photo credit: Alan C. / Flickr
Photo credit: Alan C. / Flickr

Vegetarianism has become increasingly popular over the past decades as more people realize the health benefits of the lifestyle. Vegetarianism helps save the planet. It can make more food available to the poor. It is healthier. It avoids killing animals. There are myriad reasons for becoming vegetarian.

Still, the most determined new converts may lapse if they do not approach vegetarianism with a structured plan. While reading Animal Farm has been known to push people to vegetarianism overnight, it is not likely to keep them there unless they are prepared for the life-altering changes they will need to make. These steps help with the process and make becoming vegetarian a lifestyle changing decision, not a passing fad.

1) Know what you’re getting into. Do you research before you think about vegetarianism. It will be best for you if you know exactly why you want to be a vegetarian. If you’ve just discovered your place in the animal rights movement, or if you’re ready to make the next step, educate yourself about the harm caused to cows, chickens, and other animals when they are raised and slaughtered for food. You should know the statistics as well as specific examples. It also is a good idea to speak with other vegetarians at this point in your journey. Find out why they’re vegetarian. Ask about the changes they had to make and about how others react to them. Feel free to ask about the hardest part of being vegetarian and what they’ve done when they faced obstacles. Understanding the research and talking to others helps in two ways. First, it can add to your resolve when you get started so that you can encourage yourself to keep going. Second, unless your parents engage in lifestyle choices outside the mainstream, they likely will question your decision. If becoming vegetarian seems out of character, your friends and family may question or even ridicule your decision. You need to be prepared to deal with these issues, and education is the best defense against their skepticism.

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