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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This article has 157 comments. Post your own now!

Rosa223 said...
Jun. 25, 2010 at 4:57 pm
I loved your article -- but if everyone in this planet goes veggie, then the animal population will over-populate, and the animals need food. The food leaves, and pretty soon the animals will die either way. If this offends you, I'm sorry, but it's actually good some people are not vegetarians - like me, and that some are so that the animal populations will not over-populate. However, there are some species that are becoming extinct and I'm sorry about that. And also, I've tried to go veggie but... (more »)
GraemeV replied...
Oct. 3, 2010 at 2:01 am

Wow that's awesome!

Nah I think everyone has the willpower to do so! You just have to find it and really stick with it!

Rosa21 replied...
Oct. 6, 2010 at 11:11 pm
Thanks for the uplifting comment! I didn't think I had much willpower. :( But thanks for the encouragement! :))))))))))
BlueRain said...
Jun. 22, 2010 at 1:07 pm


I do not see how it is cannibalism. Cannibalism is when you consume your own species.

I agree, God did not give us animals to eat. But He created nature in a way that animals must consume other animals to remain in the food chain, because everything is connected. We are part of the food chain. He didn't create animals for us, but He did create us to follow nature's course in the web of life.

Wolves/lions are examples are carnivores. They must eat anim... (more »)

Eman_Neercs This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 28, 2010 at 10:43 am
I must say I agree with you. If we are indeed equal to animals, why should other animals be exempt from this rule of vegetarianism? Are you gonna say, "Hey Mr. Lion, stop eating that zebra! Bad kitty!" And what about flowers and fruits and bugs that you step on? The fact is, no matter how vegetarian you live, you're always killing something. Also I think you are right about the meat packing plants. They're probably not as healthy as they could be. But then again, some veggies are sprayed with pe... (more »)
BlueRain said...
Jun. 22, 2010 at 1:01 pm

The only probably that many meat consuming humans have today is where they get their meat. That is probably the only issue. They are unknowingly buying their pork/chicken/beef etc. from the wrong places, such as where the animals are abused and overbred. My family doesn't buy meat from the supermarkets; we know where it comes from. Any popular supermarket you go to has a very large potential to have meat products from these types of places.

We get our meat from a dairy farm nearby, whi... (more »)

BlueRain said...
Jun. 22, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Whether you are vegetarian, meat-eater or "omnivore", all are fine lifestyles. They all occur in nature with every species, so I don't see why vegans/vegetarians are hounded so much. I respect all of them.

The only thing I don't understand is when some vegetarians I've met are so aggressive toward meat eaters. They are repulsed by the idea of eating animals because they love them and think it's wrong. But this mindset is a little confusing. If you respect animals, t... (more »)

Kisip-Typical-islander said...
Jun. 16, 2010 at 2:43 am
This is a huge eye-opener for me. I am not alien from the topic of vegetarianism but then again I have done no in-depth research like ones provided in this piece. I have never thought much about it, but you have done a great job in enlightening me on this topic.
VeggiePlanet :) said...
Jun. 12, 2010 at 10:49 am

I agree that being a vegetarian is good for you. I think you did a really great job of writing this. But you left out how you should ease into it. It's not really safe for people who have spent all their life eating meat to just stop. I was born a vegetarian, but I know some friends who tried too fast and were pretty sick.

Overall, though, I'm glad you wrote this.

TxDragon said...
Apr. 12, 2010 at 4:10 pm
I have nothing against vegetarians, but I would like to point out why choosing to eat meat is not a bad thing.  Humans are omnivores, which means we eat meat and veggies.  That makes sense when you think about survival.  Some vegetables, like avocados, have lots of calories to sustain us, but others not so much.  They are full of nutrients we need, but we were designed to need more than the mere 20 calories per head of lettuce.  Meat also gives us protein and some meats ... (more »)
savetheanimals101 said...
Mar. 30, 2010 at 5:14 pm
Im a 13-year old vegan ,live with my parents and has a pretty normal life. I like your article -Great job spreading the word. still you might want to try going vegan for real. It feels better...trust me. :D
Anne P. said...
Mar. 20, 2010 at 9:49 am
I find this a very good article. You give your opinion and support it with some facts.
However, you stated that "many brilliant individuals were vegetarian..." A person's eating habits do not interfere with their creativity and uniqueness. Whether you eat meat or not, you can still be intelligent.
Despite the fact that I truly believe that Americans consume too much meat, having the whole population turning vegetarian has its downsides. For example, imagine what would ... (more »)
savetheanimals101 replied...
Mar. 30, 2010 at 5:10 pm

Hey, Im vegan. Animals are breed by humans if the entire world went vegeterian (which is a really unrealistic thought) animals would die but then there wouldnt be a need for any of this animals to be born into a cruel world. Farmers :theres growing crops which would bring A LOT of money.There's no need to take care of humans yet many will agree that all human being deserves to be treated with respect.  

Slavery "ended " long time ago yet many people even in the USA are treate... (more »)

TxDragon replied...
Apr. 12, 2010 at 4:16 pm
I think you are wrong to imply that being a vegan has anything to do with your brain.  If you think about it, some of the most clever, logical, stealthy, and all around intelligent animals in the world are the meat eating predators who have to hunt down and catch their dinner.  The vegan animals (grass eating cows, rabbits, deer) only know how to flee from danger.  Also, can you give me an example of how workers in the meat industry die because "the company doesn't really seem to ... (more »)
kadyladystone This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 9, 2010 at 7:40 pm
I applaud you for this well-written article as well. I just may consider going vegetarian for a number of the same reasons you listed. :)
naturelover123 said...
Mar. 8, 2010 at 8:32 pm
I like this article...very well written with tons of facts. I like how it shows that vegetarianism can be creative and fun instead of boring, and how it doesn't insult those who aren't vegetarian.
magic-esi This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 26, 2010 at 7:25 am
I've been a vegetarian since I was 11. I don't know why people think vegetarians have weird issues or something, but we don't sit around nibbling on lettuce at a barbecue. There are tons of vegetarian foods that are ten times better than meat. Besides, being a vegetarian is great at dinner parties- if someone cooked some grotesque meat food, and you weren't a vegetarian, they'd force you to 'just try it'. But as a vegetarian, you can say, 'Oh, sorry, I... (more »)
caitlin.calamity said...
Feb. 18, 2010 at 10:59 pm
I would love to be a vegetarian, but my dad will not allow it. He says I'm not an adult yet and he owns me until I am 18 and out of the house. I am 17 years old. Thankfully I'm moving to my mom's soon. Hopefully she'll allow me to make some of my own life decisions. The only decision of mine that my dad really agrees with is my decision of abstinence and to be straight edge.
laneyj123 said...
Jan. 26, 2010 at 3:38 pm
i just became a veg after hearing about wat they do to get meat i agree with u ppl do treat u wierd at first and than they get used to it and realize ur the same
agsmiley888 replied...
Feb. 22, 2010 at 10:11 pm
ahhh i envy u siriously
i tried to i only lasted a month without meat, i would have gone farther but my parents couldn't affrod to buy different food for me so i gave up on it, wish i had ur momentum siiously
ElisabethElizzLiz replied...
Apr. 11, 2010 at 11:03 am
I've been vegitarian for 4 months now. You don't have to spend money on other vegitarian foods like tofu and boca or morningstar. You can just eat all the foods you'd normally eat, but just cut out the meat. I do occasionally buy morningstar and boca foods, but those aren't too expensive compared to the real things.
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