Today, I am going to be tackling a controversial eating topic. Vegetarianism. Some people can’t fathom living a day without meat while others couldn’t imagine why you would want to kill sentient beings for food. Here’s a guide to vegetarianism from a girl who’s practiced it her whole life.
Why I do it
I fall into a unique category of ~why~ I choose to be vegetarian.
Due to my religious upbringing, I’ve never had meat before (aside from poorly prepared pizza or accidental pieces being included in restaurant food). My mom was a vegetarian well before she got pregnant with me. If you know anything about Vietnamese culture, you know we revere God and are highly superstitious. Growing up in an extremely religious family, I would meditate and practice living a completely vegan lifestyle. Yes, vegan (no animal products at all meaning no meat, fish, poultry, dairy or eggs). It was believed that if you meditate and follow a certain set of rules to gain positive points, you will ascend to the highest levels of heaven. There would be no risk of reincarnation where you could potentially reincarnate as a worm or snake if your points weren’t high enough.
Growing up was not easy. My home life was hard to explain to others and kids being kids, couldn’t understand why I would eat a different diet than they would.
With all of the turmoil that I have gone through with my upbringing, I have arrived at a peaceful place where I have accepted my upbringing. I no longer practice the religious aspect of why I am a vegetarian, but I still choose this diet because if there’s a way to nourish your body without harming others, why not?
I am by no means the most strict vegetarian there is. My mom and aunt are hardcore vegans who make sure that even their sugar is animal-free (didn’t even know sugar had animal product in it, but check out Whole Foods if you’re interested). On the other hand, I make sure that my main sources of protein are plant-based, but am willing to indulge when I want to (shoutout Halo Top).
Let’s make one thing clear though. I am not here to convert you or shame your diet. I am just here to inform and guide those who are interested in converting to a vegetarian lifestyle. I may think that a plant-based diet is superior, but if you don’t that’s cool too.
So yes, it’s a lifestyle and no, you don’t have to eat only lettuce. 😉
The Facts About Being a Vegetarian
I am by no means a dietician. I don’t have any impressive scholarly articles published dictating that a vegetarian diet is healthy and makes me feel great. Thankfully, others have conducted thorough research on the benefits of a vegetarian diet that I will list below.
Please do your research and see if this diet truly is for you. It’s common for new converters to feel fatigued and out of place with their body. That goes for any major diet change. Doesn’t matter if you’re going changing to the keto or paleo diet, your body will be like *wtf* for the transition period.
What I Eat
Let me break it down for you in the simplest way possible. Being a vegetarian means you can eat pretty much anything, just switch out the protein. With advanced technology, companies have come out with innovative meat alternatives that are cruelty-free and even higher in protein than meat.
Technically I’m a Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian. I eat eggs and dairy, but exclude meat, poultry and seafood.
What I don’t eat:
- Anything with eyeballs (meat, fish, insects)
- Non-hidden eggs (Rx Protein bars & cake: yes; Scrambled eggs on a Sunday: no)
- My Rule on Dairy: Never buy it as a staple, only for specific dishes. Try to have it once a week or less. I’m lactose intolerant so eating anything diary upsets my stomach, bloats me and breaks me out. Issues with dairy.
My Main Protein Sources
- Tofu, edamame, soy proteins (Faves: Trader Joe’s Tofu, Trader Joe’s Chicken-Less Strips, Gardein)
- This is going to be your equivalent to chicken
- Protein Powder, veggie proteins (Whole Foods Vegan Protein, Veggie Protein Slices)
- This will be most like beef
- California burgers, black beans, garbanzo beans (Dr. Praeger’s California Burger Patties)
Nuts & Seeds
- Almond milk, nut mix, chia seeds (Live & Die for Almond Breeze’s Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk)
- Packed full of healthy fats and protein
- Women’s Multivitamin (This is my fave forever)
Typical Day of Eating (What I Eat in a Day Video Coming Soon)
2 slices of sprouted wheat bread from TJ
1 small avocado with salt, pepper, pepper flakes and lime juice spread on the bread
1 fruit (banana, apple or blueberries)
¼ of a block of firm tofu sauteed with olive oil, ¼ tomato, salt, pepper, tumeric
2 handfuls of baby kale from Trader Joe’s
¼ of a block of firm tofu
¼ Hot House cucumber
Topped with a bits of diced onion
Dressed with lime juice, salt and pepper
Banana with almond butter
1 cup of brown rice
¼ of block of tofu sauteed with olive oil, ¼ tomato, salt, pepper, tumeric
Dressed with lime juice, salt and pepper
Super simple and delicious, this is what I eat on a usual day of being a busy student. Obviously I don’t eat this every day and like to mix it up with other cuisines such as Mexican, Asian or Italian.
As knowledgeable as I am, it’s impossible for me to include everything onto one blog post. Now that I’ve given you the basics, it’s time to spread your wings and fly.
Here are some resources that can further your knowledge and answer any more questions you may have.