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!

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...
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 »)
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 »)

storywritinggirl 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!!:)
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