A few months ago I decided to become a full-blown vegetarian.

It was a pretty seamless transition given that I had spent the past couple years as a “semi-vegetarian” (meaning I wouldn’t choose meat, but if it was my only option, I wouldn’t refuse it). These days it’s all about veggies, fruits and whole grains and I’m feeling better than ever.

Typically when I tell people I’m a vegetarian, I get asked two questions:

“You don’t eat ANY meat?” (Uhhh, no)

and

“What do you eat, then?” (well, everything EXCEPT for animals)

My mom remains the most skeptical about this lifestyle choice and is forever trying to convince me that I should “just have a bite” of whatever meat is being served. Ha! That’s okay. I’m totally fine with others eating meat, I just don’t want to partake in it myself. And most of the time, it’s fairly easy to customize my meal around others. Heck, I’ve even found the perfect vegetarian meal at Disneyland! Trust me, it can absolutely be done.

The key to making it healthy and successful is to focus primarily on vegetables, fruits, and whole grains and not use it as an excuse to binge on refined sugars and carbs. As someone who passed out in a Border’s parking lot in San Diego from anemia years ago (much to my poor mother’s horror), I have to make sure that I am getting sufficient iron, so I eat plenty of spinach, black beans and lentils. And luckily, I love healthy food. I love the way it tastes, the way it makes me feel, the way it looks so colorful on my dishes (working it from an aesthetics angle!), and the way it doesn’t weigh me down.

And now for the disclaimer: I most definitely DO NOT eat perfectly 100% of the time – there’s plenty of dessert, cheese, and wine worked into my diet as well (;

Any other vegetarians out there?

xoxo

 

15 Responses to “veg.”

  1. nirupama

    I’m a vegetarian too. I never really had a problem finding great options until I moved to Texas. I love all the choices in California. Luckily the produce here is great so i cook (a little) more at home. People question me all the time and my choice to raise my children that way. Some even accused me of hurting the baby by not eating meat while pregnant :p
    Nigella Lawson has a lot of great veggie sides and soup recipes. I read 101cookbooks a lot.
    staples around here are roasted chickpeas, rice and tofu. We eat lots of carrots, spinach and watercress too. Of course we also make pizza and pasta at home regularly too.

    Reply
    • annmarielovespaper

      Good for you for sticking to your guns! I’m sure your children are just as healthy (if not more so) as those who had meat. I will definitely have to check out Nigella’s recipes – thanks for the tip! xoxo

      Reply
  2. Danielle

    I’ve been a veg for about 6 months & before that for years. I get asked that 2nd question all the time. And try explaining to people about being vegan which I did for quite some time too. That’s even harder for people to accept/believe. Lol. And I do indulge in desserts & my major weakness are kettle chips.

    Reply
    • annmarielovespaper

      I can only imagine how difficult it is to explain veganism! I think a lot of people get veganism and vegetarianism confused, so there’s clearly a lack of public knowledge about the two different lifestyles.

      Reply
  3. Erin

    Also a veggie! It’s been 6 years and I have no regrets! I ALWAYS get the “where do you get your protein?” question. My 13-year old boys decided 4 years ago to go vegetarian too, but my husband is a meat-and-potatoes guy and that’s OK with me, but he doesn’t eat as much meat as he used to.
    It’s so nice to hear from others who have chosen this way of eating!

    Reply
    • annmarielovespaper

      Good for you and your boys! I agree with you on the protein topic…it’s not an issue for me either! It’s other minerals and vitamins (such as iron) that I have to make a conscious effort to consume. And like you, I have no problem with others eating meat – in fact, I’m surrounded by carnivores! Ha! xoxo

      Reply
  4. Sammy

    i loved california for the reason of how easy it was to find mom and pop vegetarian places. i’ve been a vegetarian for the last 8 months and i have no problem with it. i am partially vegan, i say partially because i eat vegan at home but vegetarian when i’m out to eat and it is always those questions, what do you eat or no fish? or how i get my protein, which i have never had a problem with! i hope you stick to it!! it’s very refreshing!

    Reply
    • annmarielovespaper

      Good for you! I’m not sure why people think we automatically have a protein deficiency…protein is very easy to find! Glad to hear that you get asked the same questions too! Ha! xoxo

      Reply
  5. Kimberly

    I recently became a vegetarian earlier this year. One problem that I have is that while there are many restaurants that offer Vegetarian dishes, I’m concerned about the products that they use to cook with: Such as using fish sauce (!) in Vegetarian Pad Thai, chicken stock, preparing your food in the same pan as used to prepare meat. What is a nice way to ask the server/cook not to cross-contaminate?

    Nice blog, by the way. (:

    Reply
    • annmarielovespaper

      Oh gosh, I hadn’t even thought about the sauces and stocks! That’s a great point. However, I think as paying customers, we have a right to customize our order, as long as we ask politely and respectfully. xoxo

      Reply
  6. eek

    I have been a full fledged veggie for over a year now and haven’t missed eating animals in the least! I definitely feel healthier these days….
    P.S. found you through instagram – love your scrapping style!

    Reply
  7. Mary Nguyen

    oh i was a vegetarian for years! i’ve recently switched to being a pescatarian and allowed some seafood into my diet (although very minimal). the health benefits of salmon is just far too great to give up any longer. (i’m a hardcore health nut and read every health article under the sun).

    but sometimes i get quite a bit of attack for being “vegetarian” (i put this in quote since people still consider the minimal seafood i consume “not meat”).

    people just don’t understand the health benefits. USDA actually revised the food pyramid, cutting meat servings in half, doubling vegetable serving and placed grains at the bottom for the largest portion of intake.

    Reply
  8. Lisa (@lstein0)

    I’m a vegan. That’s always fun to explain. 🙂 I just wanted to comment to tell you to read up on iron absorption and sources. Spinach isn’t the greatest source of iron, something about an acid that occurs upon cooking. Do some googling.

    Reply

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