As a fairly new member of the vegetarian community, I have already been asked, so many times, about my recent decision to switch over. Thus, I've compiled a list of questions that I have been frequently asked, and have answered them honestly and openly, from the bottom of my heart, to give others a bit of insight on this choice.
1. How do you get your protein?
Eggs, spinach, pinto beans, red beans, black beans, edamame, soy milk, Greek yogurt, tofu, nuts, oats, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, peanut butter, chickpeas…the list goes on and on.
2. Do you eat any meat?
For me personally, I haven't been eating any meat at all. However, vegetarianism is measured on an extremely wide scale. Pescatarians don't eat meat, but will eat fish. Vegans don't eat any animal products whatsoever. Lacto-vegetarians won't eat any type of meat, fish, or eggs, but will eat dairy products. There's even the flexitarian who has a mostly plant-based diet, with the occasional meat product included here and there.
3. What DO you eat?
Similar to the answer for what kinds of proteins I get: I eat a lot of good stuff. Becoming a vegetarian has not made me suddenly restricted to only eating salads three times a day. Although, I do love a good salad.
4. Don't you miss hamburgers?
Absolutely. Hamburgers used to be one of my all-time favorite foods. However, veggie burgers are a close second. And, the longer I go without having a hamburger, the less I miss it. Vegetarian meals are quite yummy too.
5. This is a temporary thing, right?
Quite possibly! Again, all of these questions are completely subjective depending on who you're asking, but for me, I'm not sure how long I'll be a vegetarian. However, if our planet's health does not improve anytime soon, I can assure you that I will remain meat-free. I'm not choosing to do this to be difficult or an inconvenience to anyone, I'm choosing to do this to make a difference and pursue a positive change.
6. Was the diet change hard to do?
It can be! This has been something that I've been wanting to do for a while now, so when the day came that I decided to try out a vegetarian diet, I didn't just cut out all meat completely. I did it super gradually, after doing a ton of research. By limiting my meat intake slowly, the process came a lot easier than I thought it would.
7. Aren't you harming your body this way?
Like I said in the previous answer, I did a LOT of research before diving into this lifestyle. You definitely do not want to deprive your body of the necessary nutrients that it needs by accidentally cutting out proteins or good fats. Thus, after doing my research, I made sure I was getting everything that I needed. Contrary to the question, I feel like I eat a lot healthier now. Since I am on the lookout to make sure I get enough protein, I've been eating eggs for breakfast almost every day, instead of sugary cereals, pancakes, or cinnamon buns. I also have easily replaced hamburgers and hotdogs with tofu and veggie wraps, and just overall feel really good in my own body now.
8. Why'd you choose to become a vegetarian?
This is one of the most common questions I get asked, sometimes with an offensive tone and sometimes out of pure curiosity. For me, I stopped eating meat because quite frankly it's just better for the environment. Every small action counts, and if me eating no meat means that the earth stays around for a few years longer, that's a tradeoff I'm very willing to take. However, there are a plethora of reasons for why people stop. Some do it for dieting reasons, since a lot of "bad fats" are found in red meats, while some do it purely for ethical/moral reasons. There are also some that just simply "felt like it." Whatever the reason, so be it. Just try to support others' decisions and keep on keepin' on.