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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!

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 »)
dragonbiscuits This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jan. 21, 2010 at 4:27 pm
Yes Yes Yes! I love how you put that! I feel the same! Go vegetarians! XD
Anne P. replied...
Mar. 20, 2010 at 9:50 am
true, but remember that if we treat them kindly and carefully, they would go through as much. Animals will eventually die of old age, and it would be more painful for them to survive.
Anne P. replied...
Mar. 20, 2010 at 9:51 am
oops, sorry. I meant to so "they would not go through as much..."
BlueRain replied...
Jun. 22, 2010 at 1:19 pm

Animals eat other animals every day. Have you noticed that humans don't consume any meat eatin animals? We only consume herbivores such as pigs and cows. That only proves that we are follow a food chain.

I completely, completely agree. The conditions of animals should be better. Way better. But eating them is not a crime in itself. Wolves/bears/lions eat other animals. Are you going to judge them for following what they were born with? They surivive this way, it is needed to keep the e... (more »)

storywritinggirlThis 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...
Nov. 27, 2009 at 2:42 pm
I am the only one in my house who doesn't eat meat. Although, I don't eat a ton of veggies, so i get tired of eating the same things over and over, but I'm trying to find new recipes. I don't TRY to make people vegetarian, but i try to make them understand why i am. All my friends eat meat, and so do my parents. yes, it's hard, and I hate going into barbecue places, but I can handle it. Thanks for the great article!
Majika said...
Oct. 15, 2009 at 8:06 pm
-claps- That's a great article! ^^; I've been a vegetarian all my life, but my dad isn't. I also run into awkward situations sometimes. I really encourage people who are veggie to stay that way, and sometimes I put the facts in front of people who aren't, but I don't force XD That's mean, they should decide for themselves though once they know the truth, because in most cases it's hidden >.<
windblossom said...
Oct. 3, 2009 at 7:49 am
Well my family has been vegetarian for generations!! Many families in India are that way even now1 great article though!!:)
earthgil said...
Jul. 21, 2009 at 3:15 am
I was a vegetarian for at least seven months, and i LOVED it!! some of my BF's have been raised vegetarians so that was helpful. but i made probably the biggest mistake for a veg. I had turkey for thanksgiving. I thought it was going to be just that once, but it went downhill from there. Great artical!! I am going to be a veg again. Thanks!!
Jesyca said...
May 17, 2009 at 3:14 am
You're awesome. Vegetarians kick ass.
Kathy:] said...
Mar. 3, 2009 at 4:03 am
My Grandma Used To Have A Cow.
She Loved That Cow.
She Never Thought Of Eating It.
It Was Her Best Friend.
I Just Thought I Would Share.
sanra said...
Feb. 28, 2009 at 9:11 pm
You know, if you look at it this way, it makes it look like the relationship between "vempire and human", but only we are the bad guy. I got to admit, i can't be without meat. i can't even imagine so! but if i were to be a vegeterian, it wouldn't be to save the planet( no ofence) but for the animals rights.
TxDragon replied...
Apr. 12, 2010 at 4:20 pm
animals have no rights. they are animals
rainbowcccc said...
Jan. 30, 2009 at 3:07 am
I disagree with people saying that they were given to us to eat. They were given to us to enjoy. And animals need chances. I bet if animals were the dominant kind they would eat us too, I don't think we would like it.
storywritinggirlThis 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. replied...
Nov. 27, 2009 at 2:44 pm
very true.
Keepusfree13 replied...
Jan. 25, 2010 at 8:14 pm
but they are not the dominant kind. There is a reason that cows eat grass all day while humans invent air conditioning, ipods, and such.
ElisabethElizzLiz replied...
Apr. 11, 2010 at 11:07 am
but many of those inventions, such as cars and factories are ruining the world, economically.
TxDragon replied...
Apr. 12, 2010 at 4:03 pm
Okay, I've heard how they're ruining the world environmentally, but never that air conditioning, ipods, and other stuff are ruining the world economically. 
Rainbow-Monkey said...
Jan. 26, 2009 at 8:12 pm
Great job! And for me a new insight as to the choices I make everyday. You know I like how you put about everything and that you stand on how you think it should be. This article has probably changed and maybe not changed the opions of other, but it has efected and changed the way I think now. Thanks! XD
veggiepizza said...
Jan. 25, 2009 at 7:41 pm
im vegetarian and i think this article is great! thumbs up for all vegetarians.
eating meat is cruel and doesnt put ourselves above cannibalism. we are all equal on this planet. god didnt put animals on earth for our food
CBishop replied...
Jan. 12, 2010 at 6:44 pm
When's the last time that you took a bite into a nice, juicy steak???
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