• Sumo

Quick! How difficult is it to become a vegetarian? Chances are, if you’ve never dabbled in the meat-free life, you probably assume that cutting meat from your diet is as difficult as giving up smoking. To some, yes, going from meals full of sweet, tasty meat to plates full of boring, disgusting vegetables is like pulling teeth. To others, making the switch is the greatest and simplest choice they’ve ever made. Here’s exactly why becoming a vegetarian isn’t actually as difficult as you may assume.

The first hesitation that many have regarding a vegetarian diet is the insistence that you give up meat (I mean, it’s the core of the diet after all). From here, the two complaints/worries tend to revolve around taste and the all-important discussion of “where will my protein come from?” I’ll get that second part out of the way as I’m bored talking about it to meat-lovers and vegetarians alike: You can get plenty of protein from legumes, beans, nuts, and in smaller doses in a handful of green veggies. There, that wasn’t so hard now was it?

But there is still the worry of taste. Sure, the vegetarian diet doesn’t quite have the exact taste and texture of a steak. Sometimes sacrifice is necessary. However, just because meat is off the table (literally), it doesn’t mean that all flavor is closed down. Vegetables get an incredibly bad reputation because a small handful represents all veggies, for no good reason. Being vegetarian doesn’t mean that you have to love every single vegetable. For instance, I just don’t like lettuce. No matter what you do, I just can’t deal with a salad that insists on lettuce. But replace the lettuce with spinach and I suddenly find myself capable of mowing down.

Just try a little experiment and go test out as many fruits and vegetables as possible, as well as methods of cooking them. Yeah, steamed brussel sprouts may seem gross, but roast them with some lemon and garlic? Delicious. I can’t stand tomatoes, but I’ve found I love sundried tomatoes. I don’t like carrots by themselves, but I love them in rice and spring rolls. Find the veggies you enjoy and learn that there’s more than enough to replace the meat.

Perhaps the other biggest worry with the switch is how to deal with the utter lifestyle change. That’s…a poor excuse, really. Changing your whole lifestyle isn’t very difficult at all. Twenty years ago, yeah, it may have been a more daunting task of finding animal-friendly versions of every produce out there. Today? Forget about it, you have every option readily available to you for roughly the same price as the meaty choice. Restaurants cater to your needs more and offer plenty of meat-free menu options.

Best yet, a lot of people worry about how society will view them. Guess what? Nobody cares. And that’s a good thing! You won’t have some glut of angry meat-lovers stopping you on the street, ready to tell you why you’re a fool for not chewing on a steak now and then, nor will you be stoned for choosing the salad over the hamburger. Welcome to the more accepting world! Everyone’s just doing their own thing!

What this all means is that the choice to make the change from a standard diet to a vegetarian diet rests entirely on you. It’s your choice. You will succeed. You will fail. You get to decide how tough or how easy it will be. Will you go slow and just cut meat down to once a month? Or will you go all out and try a vegan diet? It’s up to you, but don’t let worry stand in your way.