I have been vegetarian since high school (I am 24 now), and I wanted to share the answers to the most common questions I receive.
Why did I become vegetarian?
In junior high I stopped eating pork and beef because I did not like the taste anymore and I stopped eating seafood since I did not eat much of it anyways, so the only meat I ate was chicken and turkey. In high school I completely stopped eating all meat because I started following Buddhist philosophy and I did not want to be the reason an animal was killed.
How supportive were my parents?
My parents are not vegetarian, but they were really supportive. While I was living at home they would eat the vegetarian dinners I made and we would go to vegetarian restaurants in Austin when they came to visit me while I was in college.
Do I eat fish? What about eggs?
I never liked fish as a kid, so I do not eat it now. If I did eat fish I would also not be vegetarian and instead I would be pescetarian. I do eat eggs, dairy products, and honey, so I am not vegan either.
Do I miss eating meat?
Nope because I have plenty of alternatives and I have been vegetarian for so long. At first I missed eating chicken, but then I found veggie chicken nuggets and I was fine after that.
What do I eat?
Some people have the misconception that vegetarians eat only plants, but here is what I generally eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner:
Breakfast: buns with cheese and jam. Occasionally English breakfast with eggs, baked beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, toast and vegetarian sausage. Sometimes skyr and muesli
Lunch: rugbrød with vegetarian pålaeg, egg salad, or humus. Often times leftovers from dinner. Occasionally salad.
Dinner: I cook almost every night, and I can make pretty much anything vegetarian. I will have pasta with veggies. Burgers with sweet potato or mushrooms. Hot dogs with vegetarian sausages. Tacos with beans and veggies or vegetarian ground beef. Spinach lasagna. Potato and leek soup. Tomato soup. Chili with beans and rice. Curry with tofu or vegetarian chicken. Pizza with veggies. Bean and cheese enchiladas or quesadillas, etc.
Why do I eat meat substitutes?
Sometimes it is easier to use meat substitutes in a dish than trying to find a vegetable alternative. It is also convenient at times for example rugbrød (type of rye bread) is a common lunch here, which is normally eaten with pålaeg (meat slices) so companies made vegetarian pålaeg for the bread.
Is it difficult eating out?
Not really. I am limited on options at most restaurants, but there will be at least 1 vegetarian option (generally a pasta dish). I have also been to several 100% vegetarian/vegan restaurants in Copenhagen. Also at fast food restaurants like Burger King and McDonald’s they have a veggie burger, and Domino’s has a veggie pizza.
Does it bother me when people eat meat in front of me?
No. I do not force my own views on anyone else. Being vegetarian was my choice, and if anyone else wants to eat meat then that is their choice.
Will I become vegan?
Probably not. I am content with being vegetarian and it is much easier to go out to eat and plan dinners. I also love cheese, and I know there are alternatives, but it is not the same.
On Twitter I asked if anyone had questions for me, and these were the questions I received:
@lushtivity asked, “How do you go about it with Claire? Do you let her eat whatever or do you try to keep her diet vegetarian too?”
My daughter eats meat and so does my boyfriend. We will have same meal, but I will make meat for them. Like if we have burgers, I will make beef burgers for them and veggie burgers for me. If I make a potato and leek soup, I will make bacon on the side. My daughter will also have both a meat and vegetarian portion because I do not want to restrict her diet.
@sanjusk04 asked, “To have a healthy balance of nutrients, how do you compensate for loss/lack of protein and certain vitamins while going pure vegan. Do you subscribe to the idea of taking food supplements such as those of Herbalife or Amway?”
I eat beans, tofu, lentils, seitan, eggs, and meat substitutes (soy, mycoprotein, or quinoa based) for protein. There are also plenty of vegetables with good amounts of protein like spinach, broccoli, peas, mushrooms, asparagus, corn, and potatoes. Since I make most of my meals and cook dinner pretty much every night, I do not feel like it is necessary to take vitamins. I would only recommend taking vitamins if you eat rather unhealthy all the time with junk food, frozen meals, and fast food. I also would not recommend either Herbalife or Amway because they are multilevel marketing companies that have ruined the lives of many members and 99% of people who join multilevel-marketing companies lose money.
@ericajonez asked, “Do u think u can just go into being a vegetarian or u already are? Im cutting down on beef and eating seafood and chicken. Its hard but ive done it for about 3 months now”
First off that is great you are cutting down on meat! I gradually went vegetarian. I stopped eating beef, pork, and seafood then several years later I stopped eating chicken and turkey. I think it is difficult to stop eating meat all at once. It can be done, but for an easier transition I would suggest cutting 1 meat out completely and when you feel ready, stop eating another meat.
@Lala2xs asked, “What is the best approach for someone wanting to fully become vegetarian? Best Substitutes to resist cravings.”
Like I mentioned in the previous question, I would suggest cutting 1 meat out of your diet then when you are ready, cut out another meat. I would start with a meat you do not eat that often (for me I did not eat much seafood so it was easy to stop eating it completely). When I stopped eating chicken, I still had the craving for chicken nuggets, but luckily there were several meat substitutes like the Quorn Nuggets. If you have a craving for a certain meat, try a meat substitute! Several brands I would recommend are Quorn, Tofurky, Neat, and Oumph. Aldi also has an organic brand with tofu and meat substitutes, but I am not sure if it is available internationally. I would recommend going to your grocery store and seeing what brands they offer in the fresh and frozen sections.
Do you have any more questions for me?