Contemplating a vegetarian diet is not an uncommon endeavor. It's something a lot of people consider during high school or college, when our self-exploration is at its peak.
According to the Vegetarian Times, about 3 percent of American adults follow a vegetarian diet. In some cases, curiosity stems from health concerns, and in other cases, it may be an environmental or moral statement.
Either way, not everyone who attempts to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle finds themselves able to maintain it. Here's why:
1. It's not convenient.
When you headed to the lunchroom or office cafeteria, you found yourself limited to a sad trough of lettuce and rolls. It may not be so difficult to find a good lunchtime fix in metropolitan areas that is meat free, but in smaller or more rural communities, good luck.
Changing your diet isn't just about what foods you eat. It's about accepting that your community may not conveniently provide exciting alternatives, and you're on your own to provide them for yourself.
2. You can't cook.
On that note, if you're going to stop eating meat, its highly likely you'll be forced to become your own chef. One former vegetarian I talked to exclaimed, "I just ate so much hummus," before eventually giving up.
Learning nutritionally balanced recipes to compensate for the animal protein your used to is essential. Being vegetarian really requires creativity and preparation. Say hello to browsing recipes on Pinterest, Instagram and the like, and collecting Tupperware takeaway containers.
3. It's too expensive.
Let's get to the real problem. If you add up all the money you could be spending on even the cheapest foods derived from animals, I guarantee you will find a huge disparity between that amount and the options available for a plant-based diet.
No matter what you eat, there's always a way to make it really expensive. People who feel vegetarian diets are too expensive are probably looking at the prices for prepackaged, predetermined meals someone else has thought about for you.
As with any purchase, you have to educate yourself and be clever if you want to save money. Successful vegetarians often can be found at the farmer's market and in their kitchens opting for fresh, locally sourced food items.
4. It made you sick.
This is the reality you will face if you suddenly burst onto the plant-based scene, not knowing your nutritional needs. There's a lot more to being a vegetarian than not eating meat.
Fortunately, there are a wealth of resources out there that can help fix that. Pretty much any diet can cause you more harm than good if it's not appropriate for you, so if you're thinking of starting a new one, it's always best to consult a physician who is familiar with your medical history.
Preparing yourself thoroughly, knowing exactly what it is your body needs everyday and how to get it will assist you in achieving success in your lifestyle goals.
5. Resisting the temptation to eat meat is impossible.
So, you're going the veggie route alone, and your significant other/roommates/family are constantly subjecting you to the smell of bacon and burgers, leaving you to suffer silently. It's a fact of life anyone who claims to be vegetarian or vegan will happily tell you.
The only way you can really stick to this lifestyle is if you have a deeply ingrained reason for changing your eating habits. Personally, I was attracted to vegetarianism from a young age, but never fully committed because I simply didn't care enough about the things that motivate me to eat differently now. If you weren't born into a vegetarian family, it's just a change that you have to decide whether or not to make for yourself and internalize.
When you really make the effort to share information with other vegetarian people who are super concerned about what they eat, you will find an endless wealth of ideas for super yummy recipes that do not feature animal products. That's the best and only way to discover that you really don't miss meat that much at all.