Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tips on Going Veg

Sometimes I get questions about going vegetarian. Many people have requested tips on going vegetarian, and I think it's finally time to create a list. I hate lists of things on the internet because it's usually just a play for hits, but I assure you this is not the impetus for this particular list. I have a friend who recently had a brush with death and has decided to take the pledge to go veg, and she asked me for tips. Here we go.

  1. Rejoice in your decision to become a happier, healthier you. You are creating a better, healthier life for yourself.
  2. Remember how many animals your decision is saving every year. Americans can eat up to and over 100 animals a year. Disgusting, right? Well, look at your dog or your cat or a fish or a bird or even a little bunny running in the park, and think about your decision not to destroy it every time you do.
  3. Hang out with people who care about their health as well. People who care about their health are more active and don't criticize one another when it comes to their diets. I have never been around an active, health-conscious person who spoke negatively about my veganism. The only people who do are the fat, mean, lazy ones who laugh at "fags who do yoga" or people like me who "waste their time running around a park in the morning."
  4. Educate yourself. There are tons of things to know about vegetarianism. There's a great Wikipedia page about its history, and there are tons of sites about its health benefits. People will ask you, and they will try to trick you into saying something wrong. Then they will use that to somehow prove that you are wrong about everything.
  5. Admit that you don't know everything. When the haters come at you, they'll be throwing mud because that is the easiest thing for a hater to do. Facts and logic are not the tools of a hater, and hubris and arrogance should not be yours. It's easy to be high and mighty and self-righteous about begin vegan. Don't be so lazy. Be humble: say that you don't know all the answers, but you have simply made a decision to take a more active role in your own personal health and the mitigation of suffering on the planet.
  6. Be vigilant resolute. When your unhealthy friends roll their eyes at you, ignore them. When your unhealthy friends want to go to McDonald's, abandon them. You cannot let others drag you down. If you were giving up heroin, you wouldn't let your junkie friends bring you down, so don't let the unhealthy friends you have do it either. Meat is as dangerous to your health as heroin. That's right. When you eat it, you will feel good in the short term, and then feel shitty all the time thereafter.
  7. Find healthy friends at all cost. There are sites online. There are clubs in every town. There are vegetarian restaurants and hangouts. It's a community, and it's awesome.
  8. Have fun with it. People who are vegetarian have better sex, they are more active, and they smell better. They have more fun and have more energy to do the things that make them happy.
  9. Bring your own meals to holidays. This should be obvious.
  10. Read labels. Gelatin, eggs, milk, and lard are in tons of things. But also, you'll realize that some awesome junk food is totally vegan. I personally love potato chips. I eat too many. Some people go Oreo crazy when they find out America's favorite cookie is also cruelty free.
  11. Don't worry about protein. Vegans don't need to worry about protein unless they're going for the gold medal in weight-lifting or are competing in a body-building competition. Even then, unless they're going for the Ah-nold look, they can ignore the hype. The beef industry started their protein ad campaign years ago, and it totally worked. Don't be fooled: most Americans have too much protein in their diets as is evidenced by the colon cancer, prostate cancer, and heart disease that kills more of us than terrorists every year.
  12. Try not to eat too much processed meat substitutes. Tempeh and TVP are OK, but don't over-do the veggie hot dogs and Boca burgers. The truth about processed food is that you're not getting the nutrients you need in the ways you need them through processed food. But man, veggie burgers are pretty awesome, and you can also make them at home in a jiffy from scratch.
  13. Online blogs and recipes. Read them. Love them. Comment on them and start conversations and ask questions. They are the best lifelines when you feel like you're alone in the world. And if you don't live in the San Francisco bay or in a big city filled with enlightened people, you will probably feel alone pretty often at first.
  14. Know you are not alone. It's a movement. Really smart people are vegan. Really beautiful people are vegan. Titans of industry are vegans. Left-wing hippies are vegans. It's the kind of a movement that transcends social status.

I hope this list helps. Sorry it's so long.


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Leroy D'souza said...

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