After 15 years of being a vegetarian, I find myself trying to convince people every day that following a vegetarian lifestyle is a healthy, if not healthier, way of life.
Although I am not an expert in nutrition, I have been forced to educate myself on this issue as most of my learning has been through trial and error. It is also worth noting that I am not a vegetarian who cannot be around people who are eating or cooking meat. In fact, my fiancé eats meat. However, I do feel that there is a meat eater stigma around vegetarians that suggests it is not healthy way of life.
As a result, I have outlined below what I find to be the biggest “myths” about being a vegetarian. Please keep in mind while reading this list that either diet can be unhealthy and you must ensure that you are getting the appropriate nutrients and vitamins.
Without further ado, here are my favorite things people say that may or may not make me think a little less of them:
“It’s difficult to eat as a vegetarian. You will probably end up eating meat again.”
Let me start by saying, go read my last blog post. There are so many amazing vegetarian recipes that are easy and leave you feeling just as satisfied as a meat recipe. Eating vegetarian is NOT difficult. It is just not something you have to get used to. What I suggest people do, is trying eating vegetarian once a week. Once you start looking at recipes you will find that there are endless, delicious meals waiting for you.
“Vegetarians do not get enough protein.”
This is in fact, wrong. As stated by The Harvard School of Public Health, vegetarians can get complete proteins with all of the amino acids one needs from any animal-based protein, including dairy products and eggs. Aside from dairy products, there is also an extensive list of high protein foods for vegetarian such as lentils, chickpeas, tempeh, black beans, nuts, tofu, quinoa and various protein supplements. What most meat eaters do not understand is that they are actually eating too much protein. That’s a whole different blog post though…
“You won’t have any energy”
If you feel like you have low energy it is probably because you are eating to many processed foods. This can be true for meat eaters as well. For a vegetarian, this could mean that you are not getting enough B12 or iron. These nutrients can both be found in dairy, eggs, and plenty of other meatless products. There are also B12 and iron supplements available at most supermarkets.