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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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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....
DreamyNightmareThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. 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 :)
Ashley_Tucker said...
May 10, 2011 at 1:16 pm
Great article! I've been lightly considering going vegetarian for a while and I think I will give it a try!
perrylovedairycows replied...
Jun. 15, 2011 at 1:25 pm
that sounds like i want to do that too and i was thinking about it too. i hope you are going to to that.
Ahbreejerae said...
May 9, 2011 at 11:53 am
Vegetarian for 5 years and going strong <3
contemplaterThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Apr. 7, 2011 at 4:15 pm
Real nice article, though I dont think it would change the world. Other than that, I agree with you.
FreeThinking13 said...
Mar. 29, 2011 at 2:48 pm
more power to being vegetarian, I myself am not but only because I have alot of issues with having low protein and iron. living off of peanut butter can only get yourself so far. I refuse to eat prepackaged meat and i try to stay away from it for as much as my health can allow. i live out in the country and my family has a garden and goes hunting rather than going to the local store where the food comes who knows where. I liked the article, good job.
JenniferValentine said...
Mar. 14, 2011 at 3:01 pm
I am a vegetarian.  It bothers me how meat packing factories treat the animals.  This article definately shed some light on the subject of meat versus vegetarian.
DiamondStar said...
Jan. 19, 2011 at 4:44 pm
I am a vegan. Does that sound totally alien? Well, it's not. It's one of the best choices I've made in my life! Anyway, good article, by the way!
gaby23 replied...
Jan. 20, 2011 at 9:33 pm

I'm vegan too and quite frankly it feels amazing

and isn't hard at all

I am all for saving our planet, we should be careful, if things continue we are all going to die in 2012

DiamondStar replied...
Jan. 21, 2011 at 7:34 am
Yay, a fellow vegan! That's great. Nobody else in my class understands veganism. I wish they would do a bit of research and learn about vegans, at the very least.
gaby23 replied...
Jan. 22, 2011 at 4:49 pm

people always look at me as if i'm sick and like....why on earth are you depriving yourself.

Also go to youtube and watch meet your meat. I cried my eyes out and I am so happy I chose not to partake in this cruel society that kills animals in

Jules replied...
Mar. 2, 2011 at 7:39 am
I'm vegan too! I was actually wondering if th e author was vegan or vegeterian because there is a difference between the two. Way to go you guys I'm so excited!
PleaseBeVegan replied...
May 15, 2011 at 12:23 am
Oh my gosh me too! There is just every reason to be vegan, especially now with climate change being such an urgent issue. But more and more people are adopting the healthy compassionate plant based diet so hopefully we'll save our beautiful planet!
TheKing This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 15, 2011 at 11:43 pm
Today, when I took a look at a chicken cooking in my oven, I considered for the tiniest, most brief fraction of a second to go vegetation. Then I thought "but it tastes so darn good!" And laughed at myself for even considering the notion
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