Go Veggie With Style This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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I am a vegetarian. Many people are quick to stereotype vegetarianism as bizarre behavior, appropriate for those on another planet. I treasure our Earth, and since we only have one, we should protect it and the wildlife that populates it. But that’s only one reason to be a vegetarian.

Vegetarians may live longer, healthier lives. There is a ­correlation between red meat consumption and diseases ­including osteoporosis, kidney stones, gall stones, ­diabetes, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, gum disease, and even acne. From an economic standpoint, it requires less land, money, and energy to produce foods for a vegetarian diet. While there are many benefits to being a vegetarian, only a handful of those who attempt to adopt this lifestyle succeed.

The most important quality is dedication. We are surrounded by meat. It would be easy to forgo vegetarianism at any moment and devour a steak. This is why vegetarians must be staunch and zealous.

Creativity is almost as important as commitment. It’s easy to tire of eating nothing but ­salad. But with a little creativity and some soy products, almost any meal can become vege­tarian-friendly. Many ethnic cuisines also offer abundant flavorful options. Studying these cultures is an excellent way to generate new ideas. Another is to go to a restaurant that specializes in vegetarian food. This can spark a plethora of creative ideas.

Since creativity is a necessary attribute, it is no coincidence that many vegetarians work in creative fields. Many brilliant individuals were vegetarians, including Socrates, Leonardo da Vinci, and Albert Einstein. Some current famous vegetarians are Madonna, Paul McCartney, ­Natalie Portman, Pink, and Milo Ventimiglia.

Not everyone wants to be a vegetarian. Accepting this is part of being a vegetarian with style. Forcing your beliefs on others, by subjecting them to long lectures on the nutritional benefits of not eating meat or shoving PETA fliers in their faces, is disrespectful. Stylish vegetarians should also be able to gracefully decline a meaty dish without offending their hosts. Another differentiating quality between the stylish and the un-stylish vegetarian is the ability to stick with it. The latter group can typically be overheard saying things like “I’m a vegetarian – I just eat chicken,” or “I haven’t eaten meat in ten days. I’m a vegetarian.”

Being educated is also important. Do your ­research about different types of vegetarians, and learn as much nutritional information as possible. Your goal as a stylish vegetarian is to be healthy, not trendy. Don’t become a vegetarian solely ­because a celebrity says it’s cool. People who do rarely stick with it for long.

Being a successful vegetarian has been easy for me – I’ve been one since I was born. My family is vegetarian, so no meat is available in my house. However, constantly being surrounded by others who eat meat, and sometimes those who are not accepting of vegetarianism, can be a challenge. To be successful, I’ve relied on personal traits like flexibility, since I’m often in situations where the food choices aren’t ideal.

A common mistake is quitting before your body has adjusted to the transition. It can be difficult to stay committed in the beginning because of temptation. How­ever, this fades over time.

Another common mistake is quitting because you’ve been misinformed about the ­nutritional wisdom of being a vegetarian. That’s why it is vital to be educated. Countless people will tell you that it’s impossible to obtain the nutrients and protein your body requires without meat, but they are incorrect. People actually need only 44 to 55 grams of protein a day, and that is easily found in a vegetarian diet. Many meat eaters are consuming triple that amount, which is not beneficial; on the contrary, it has been linked with Alz­heimer’s disease. Vegetables can also supply all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your body needs. However, if you’re still not convinced, you can take a multivitamin.

A society in which people have the constitutional right to live freely is well suited for vegetarians. If you need further convincing, read Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. In a style comparable to Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, Schlosser passionately exposes the dangers of eating meat. For great recipes, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman has got you covered.

Vegetarianism is an important cause that more people should support. PETA estimates that every vegetarian saves over a hundred animals a year. Not only is being a vegetarian healthy, but it also has a positive impact on the world.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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james14 said...
Mar. 22, 2012 at 2:16 pm
i am also a vegetarian!!!! i tried it for lent, but i think im gonna keep doing it for the rest of my life! great article btw!
abbyb13 said...
Jan. 31, 2012 at 3:21 pm
Being a vegetarian myself, I loved this article. I do agree that the beginning is the hardest, and it is difficult to stay committed and true to what you believe in. However, it does get better, and the temptation entirely wears away. Sometimes, it is awkward to decline meat if someone prepares it for you, but it was very good to see someone in the same boat as me. Great article!
TheGirlWhoAteTheWorld replied...
Jul. 23, 2012 at 4:18 pm
I agree with you 100%!
rainbowbutterfly said...
Jan. 31, 2012 at 11:10 am
I'm trying to become a vegetarian but its hard on me since my dad eats a ton of meat i read some things about what some people do to animals its very sad :(
Clinton_C. replied...
Apr. 14, 2015 at 11:39 am
Yes there are the select few out there who abuse animals but there are so many others who adore animals but arent vegetarian so if you decide you dont want to become a vegetarian just out of the blue someday dont judge your self us here at teenink understand :D
Mtizzle said...
Jan. 13, 2012 at 1:57 pm
I glad that you are trying to educate people to the pros of your lifestyle but humans are omnivores we eat both plants and meat but im glad that you are taking a mature approach to this topic i do believe eating more vegetables can be healthier but we all need meat sometimes becuse that is what nature intended us to be. but overall it was well written and mature good job
swcricket98 said...
Dec. 10, 2011 at 9:20 pm

I live in a small county town and my mom, although she is not a vegetarian, is a veterinarian and is huge on animal rights. She will only buy local, free range, organic chicken, beef, and my dad hunts our deer.

I eat meat, but I am not unhealthy or against animal rights. I just feel that there is a natural food chain in the world - as there has always been - that is neither wrong nor inhumane.

Aspiringauhor said...
Dec. 5, 2011 at 7:13 pm
I think being a vegetarian is really great and it's great that you are one, but I have just one question. In the first paragraph, you talk about how being a vegetarian preserves the environment... If you're eating all the plants, won't that not preserve the environment? Do forgive me for being ridiculously undereducated on this issue, I must sound completely ignorant. But if you or some other vegetarian could explain that to me, I'd be ever so grateful. :)
gingerbabe44 said...
Dec. 2, 2011 at 4:21 pm
I totaly agree with you article and I can relate to everything you say because I am a vegetarian too! Thats great that you have been a vegatarian since birth, I have only been one for around 4years. I decided to be a vegetarian because I couldnt stand knowing that I was eating those adorable moo moos♥ Anyways, I love your article!
ConstanceContraire replied...
Mar. 19, 2012 at 5:47 pm
If you started being a vegetarian since you we born and you have been one for 4 years wouldnt that mean that your 4 years old?
TheGirlWhoAteTheWorld replied...
Jul. 23, 2012 at 4:21 pm

She was saying that she was glad the author was a vegetarian since birth - she isn't. 



ConstanceContraire replied...
Jul. 23, 2012 at 4:49 pm

oh thanks for clearing that up for me should have realized that earlier :P


Nick5 said...
Nov. 23, 2011 at 3:04 pm
Your article and topic were easily expressed by the way you wrote, but I had a small problem with the "protect [earth] and the wildlife that populates it" part. You see, I am a hunter, and it is a proven statistic that there are more hunters in the U.S. than ever before, and your article states that humans are mindless zombies that kill all wildlife in their path--and maybe that is an exaggeration--but there are more deer and other wild game in the U.S. than before the settlers came--the se... (more »)
Imperfectlife said...
Nov. 17, 2011 at 6:57 pm
I am not a veggan, but I love animals deeply-and not sure I should go veggan. That is because I simply love the taste of meat. However, I do agree with your views that people should go veggie, I just don't have the "fading desire things". I am unable to lose desire of to want to eat meat and other things. Besides all that, I love your article in total.
madeline.rass replied...
Dec. 17, 2013 at 8:22 pm
I agree 100%. Even the sight of meat makes me want to vomit sometimes. I wouldn't be able to eat it if I tried and I've only been vegetarian for a little over a month. It would've been 3 months, but my dad made me eat salmon a little while ago. It tasted like cardboard.
Pumpkinscout said...
Sept. 12, 2011 at 7:10 pm
Great job! You presented your case beautifully, and with respect to other people. I love it. I think you just inspired me...I want to be vegetarian someday!
Janeyy said...
Aug. 25, 2011 at 9:00 pm
Yay! I'm vegan too. I have been pretty much my whole life... and it feels awesome :) 
JusticeLiberty said...
Aug. 21, 2011 at 12:07 pm
I am vegetarian too! I think it's a healthy PERSONAL choice! But I agree with Emmyluwho who says that animals were put here for a reason and people should still eat meat occassionally.
Emmyluwho said...
Aug. 12, 2011 at 9:12 pm
I understand your views, and I have no problem with vegetarians, but I don't think the whole world should go veggie. Personally,  I believe animals were put here for a purpose. They have been hunted and eaten for centuries, as I think they were intended to be. I'm not here to offend anybody! If you disagree, thats fine....
DreamyNightmare said...
Jun. 17, 2011 at 10:16 pm
Really great article. I have also considered going vegetarian, but my addiction to meat consumption is to strong. Though I don't believe everyone should be a vegetarian, I do agree there should be vegetarians. If everyone were one, animals would over populate and all the leafy greens and foods they eat would be shared us. So there should be an equal balance. I love vegetarians, they're amazing and I love the effort they put into it :)
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