If you’ve been living under a rock and have no idea what a vegetarian diet is, then listen up: vegetarians eat everything except meat. Now, a vegetarian diet varies person to person: some vegetarians do not want to eat eggs, some vegetarians eat seafood (also known as pescetarianism), but none of them eat meat.

Fun fact: yes!!! You can live off of not eating meat!

Yes, you also get enough protein to live a healthy life as a vegetarian. Although many people believe you need mass amounts of protein to live and function every day, the truth is that you need .36 grams of protein for every pound you weigh, so if you weigh 150 pounds you need about 54 grams of protein a day. Which, surprise, isn’t that much. Vegetarians can get protein from beans, milk, eggs, cheese, lentils, peanut butter, almond milk, chickpeas, green beans, and even some lettuces! With plenty of options for protein that don’t require meat, you can see that it is fairly easy to get the daily recommendation of protein just from non-meat products.

A vegetarian diet can also be healthier than a meat-based diet. A vegetarian diet can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and other chronic illness such as cancer, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension. Studies have also shown that a vegetarian diet can help people lose weight in a short term and long term time period.

Yes, you can also get all of your vitamins on a vegetarian diet! Many vegetarians do take a B12 or iron supplement, but it is possible to get all the necessary vitamins from a plant-based diet.

And no, we aren’t completely designed to eat meat like a carnivore. Our bodies cannot handle uncooked meat like a normal carnivore can, and our teeth and jawbones are not created to attack and kill animals like our carnivorous friends are. Gorillas and primates eat a vegetarian diet!

And although you may think that one person not eating meat doesn’t change the world, you are wrong. The average person eats 11 entire cows, 27 pigs, 2,400 chickens, 80 turkeys, and 4,500 fish in a lifetime. Imagine being able to save that many animals! Well, you can – simply by not eating meat.

Eating a vegetarian diet also helps avoid many dangerous things in the food industry – from the possibility of eating raw meat and the diseases coming from that to the excessive amounts of sodium nitrate in lunchmeats to the antibiotics and hormones in some of the animals. It’s a win-win situation!

A vegetarian diet can and is for everyone. Many professional athletes are vegans or vegetarians, proving you can have an active lifestyle without eating meat. Every restaurant I have been to has had some type of vegetarian dish – even steak houses! I have found that vegetarian meals are cheaper than non-vegetarian meals, and can be just as tasty if not tastier than meat meals. Once you get into the habit of avoiding meat, you don’t even have to think about it – it becomes part of your everyday lifestyle. So, don’t be afraid to stop eating meat. You may love it as much as I do!