It’s been quite a long road for me becoming vegetarian. Even now I miss fish and I spent years slowly giving up chicken and turkey. But ultimately it was so much easier than I thought!
For a long time I thought I could never be a vegetarian, even though I’d already stopped eating red meat when I was 19 years old. I desperately held on to my love for chicken and turkey and fish, yet I’m no longer sure why. The funny thing is, I always thought there was no way I could celebrate Thanksgiving without turkey. That one belief was a complete roadblock to becoming vegetarian, but last year I did it. It was my first Thanksgiving without turkey and guess what? I didn’t miss the meat at all.
Over the years since I first gave up red meat, I’ve eaten less and less chicken and turkey and fish. When I first moved out on my own, I made different chicken dishes all the time. Chicken or turkey was also my go-to at restaurants. If they had a turkey burger, then I was good! I transitioned away from this attitude over the past five years and stopped ordering those things at restaurants, but there was always an exception. Chicken wings were a big one for me.
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My husband and I talked about becoming vegetarian all the time, but never fully embraced it. He used to love lunch meat, specifically turkey, and that was always a deciding factor for him. Once he found an alternative and let go of that need, it became easy to fully switch as a family. Personally, I stopped eating lunch meat when I was pregnant and never went back. Now we are both off the meat.
During our “transition” to becoming vegetarian, I noticed that neither one of us was ordering any sort of meat when we’d go out to eat. Occasionally we’d get fish, but if one of us wanted a “burger” then we’d always order the veggie option. We both noticed that when we went on vacation to the east coast, the vegetarian options were quite limited. Yet we both always found something to eat and never reconsidered the alternative.
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This past September we decided to let go of meat completely. It’s been one of the best decisions of my life. Becoming vegetarian felt natural and I don’t crave the meats, or have any desire to eat them again. I’ve been around other people eating meat and it doesn’t temp me or phase me. They are now just foods that I don’t eat, because I prefer a healthier and more planet-conscious alternative.
Slowly phasing out any sort of meat from my diet made it so much easier. A lot of people think that when you go vegetarian, you don’t have as many options. This is totally not the case at all! There are a myriad of vegetarian versions of all of your old favorites. The recipes are easy to find and fun to make. Who says you need meat in your tacos? You don’t! Make fajita vegetables and you’ve got an amazing filling. Fried “chicken” is no problem either. Embrace the creativity of becoming vegetarian and what it can mean to your meals.
There are so many filling vegetables, as well as new dishes to make. I’ve completely expanded my horizons with what I make, and I’ve gotten into making vegan versions of old favorites as well. Cooking vegan is super cool, because of how ingredients transform into what you desire. I’m now learning how to make my own tempeh, as well as new versions of many of my favorite “meat” recipes.
Even though my vegetarian journey has been a long one, it’s been so worth it! I learned to replace the things I loved one at a time, changing my lifestyle into something permanently different. Becoming vegetarian is a complete change, and doing it slowly allowed it to easily become my life. Stay tuned for updates and feel free to ask me any questions you have!
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Mandi Mellen is Lead Editor, Staff Writer, and Featured Host at BuzzChomp. She’s an Actress, Writer, Director and Producer. Get lost in her Youtube comedy channel PillowTalk TV. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram
Becoming Vegetarian Photo Credits: Yours Truly and Clean Eating Magazine
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