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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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This article has 144 comments. Post your own now!

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.
agsmiley888 replied...
Apr. 11, 2010 at 12:47 pm
 yeh im trying it again, giving it another try so far i have made a month and a half.  Yey and thanks for the advice
J. Rae replied...
Aug. 21, 2010 at 12:08 pm
I was considering going vegetarian, I'm not a big fan of meat anyways, but I couldn't because I have five other people in my family and my parents wouldn't be able to cook just for me. I understand that is would be too hard to make food just for me when I have the rest of my family, so I am content to wait until I go to college to try being a vegetarian.
sadimcm said...
Jan. 21, 2010 at 12:42 pm
Im the only veg in my family I love it.... I am feeling happer all the time than befor i was veg!!!
manders101 said...
Jan. 20, 2010 at 4:33 pm
everyone in my family is a MAJOR carnivore but me, just i, am a vegetarian! ive been one for 3 yrs and im proud of it!:D i love this paper! its so true! keep it up ;D
cooked said...
Jan. 16, 2010 at 7:53 pm
Unfortunately, if everyone in the world were a vegetarian there would not be enough food for the world to survive. While it is a "noble" cause like eating only organic foods, it is not realistic for the entire population to adopt this lifestyle. The average American eats about 200 lbs of meat a year, multiple that by the number of people in the United States of about 304,059,724 according to the US Census Bureau that's about 60,811,944,800 lbs of meat. And that's give or tak... (more »)
magic-esi This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Feb. 26, 2010 at 7:27 am
Sure, that's true, but I think that if you don't like meat but you do like animals you are entitled to be a vegetarian.
Rebecca R. replied...
Apr. 11, 2010 at 7:59 pm
I agree that the conditions can be humane and are still improving,  the  author specifically said not to force the lifestyle on other people. Plus, it's said there are health benefits to being vegetarian such as more energy and no risk of getting certain illnesses suuch as E.coli.
goldendove said...
Jan. 9, 2010 at 7:00 pm
I'm a vegetarian andd this is a good article. and its true! poor little animals....people eating them......
CBishop replied...
Jan. 12, 2010 at 6:41 pm
God put animals on the face of the earth for us to eat.
dragonbiscuits This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jan. 21, 2010 at 4:25 pm
Not to be kept in terrible conditions, abused, and killed inhumanely.
DayofRain50 replied...
Apr. 1, 2010 at 6:07 pm
I really hate it when people say animals were put on earth only for human consumption. I am not a vegetarian, but I do feel conditions in which animals are kept should be more humane. Also, animals were put on earth long before humans.
Eman_Neercs This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 28, 2010 at 10:56 am
@DayofRain50- it depends on what you believe in. I do believe that God gave us power over animals but that we should exercise as much humaneness as possible in killing them. Besides if we're not supposed to eat animals then what IS their purpose?
Rain-Bow said...
Dec. 4, 2009 at 5:20 pm
yay... i Love This. Im a vegetarian. I hate animal cruelty. Poor animals go thru alot of pain for others to be happy. I hope that all vegetarians make that great impact someday. I talk to my friends about the way those poor animals suffer, but i wont force them to become vegetarians. ANIMALS ARN'T OURS TO EAT...WEAR...EXPERIMENT ON... they have the right to live just like us. I live in a house full of meat-eaters. its really hard. But the temptation does fade. Keep Vegetarianism<3 Going.... (more »)
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