Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Vegetarianism: Making the Commitment

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(c) Toni Boyko
 Hello friends! If I had not mentioned so before, I recently was on an extended trip in Costa Rica, and I only returned last night. I must admit that I was not extremely excited to return to reality, but I am excited to share with you some things I have learned. First however, I have a few more comments on vegetarianism. And in case you were wondering, it was extremely easy to stay veggie in Costa Rica.

The next thing I would like to talk to you about would be overcoming the small hiccups in the road that sometimes cause veggies to revert back to being meat eaters.  Mine for example, was eating on a college campus (not ideal for a vegetarian). For other people, these include things such as eating out, and reactions from friends.

Vegetarian Meet Up Groups are Found In Most Cities
 I used several tactics to overcome these obstacles that may help you. The first, and possibly most useful, was having a good friend of mine who was also vegetarian. My friend had been vegetarian at the time I was beginning for over a year and knew all the good vegetarian foods, restaurants, and what to eat on campus. This was probably the most useful tool at had at my disposal when first making the transition and while staying the course. Having a support system who has the same values as yourself. In most large cities there are groups of vegetarian societies who get together as organizations or simply meet-up groups. These are great ways to meet other vegetarians and to get involved in something new. I was also lucky enough to have another vegetarian along with me on my trip to Costa Rica; we often got the same meal, or shared a meal to save money, and then have room for dessert!

Next item that often upsets many new vegetarians is those nights on the town; they often feel like they can't go out to eat with friends because they won't be able to eat anything at the restaurant. Quite the contrary! Most restaurants have several vegetarian options, and if not, you can typically ask for something on the menu to be prepared vegetarian and the chef will sometimes throw in some extra veggies to spice it up for you! It's much easier than you might think to be vegetarian and stay vegetarian! 

Now... if you have friends, like I do, who ask why you suddenly decided after ALLLLLL this time to become vegetarian; just be honest with them. Tell them what your decision was for making the switch and they should accept that. If they still give you a hard time then just hold your ground, be confident and don't let it get to you. One of the key things about vegetarianism is that you can't be bothered by people mocking your choice of lifestyle. You have to respect others' decisions if you want them to respect yours. Stay confident in your decision and you will be perfectly fine. Use Jim Gaffigan's stand up on vegetarianism as an example. If you can laugh at this and not be offended, you will do great.

One thing that may help to be sure you are confident in your decision, is to transition your lifestyle during a healthy period in your life. In other words, be sure you are of sound body and mind. It would not be a good idea to change your diet if you are having health problems, or are under an unusual amount of stress. The best time to make the transition is when you are healthy and feeling stress-free and happy. 

(c) Toni Boyko
Example 1: Do not Transition, if you have
moments when you need to make this face.
 Let's face it, stress-free, is pretty rare; so for those of you who don't know what it means to be stress-free, the best time to make the transition would be when you are feeling the most at ease. In other words, a time when everything is going smoothly, and as far as you know nothing should arise to change that for the next few months. 

(c) Toni Boyko
Example 2: Make the Change if every time you see a
camera you feel the urge to throw a thumbs up.
Changing your diet when you are happy and healthy will make the process go much more smoothly, than trying any other time. Something else that may help, if you are prone to stress, is to try easing yourself into vegetarianism. Don't suddenly drop meat all together. It's hard to completely cut something out of your life, whatever it may be. Try slowly cutting back less and less each week until finally you feel ready to cut out meat altogether. 

Was there anything that particularly helped you?! Let me know here. Or at our Facebook fanpage. Or you can even leave me a tweet.

Don't forget to watch for upcoming posts about vegetarianism and organic living.
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