If you are thinking about going vegetarian, here is a list of things that should help you to actually do it,… and to stick to it once you’ve started.
1) Just Do It — Drop the Meat
Similar to smoking or other habits you want to break, it works best in many cases to just drop it all at once. This is even more true for becoming vegetarian or vegan because dairy and meat (as well as sugar and chocolate) have certian qualities that make them addictive. The best way for many people to drop meat is to just do it all at once*.
2) Know What You Need
A lot of people will tell you that you need more protein, certain oils, or vitamins that you can’t get on a vegetarian diet. This isn’t true. In fact, the American Dietetic Association (ADA) now recommends a vegetarian diet for its health benefits. It says that a vegetarian diet “can prevent and treat common conditions, including cancer, ischemic heart disease, hypertension, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.” It used to say it was an acceptable diet but now it recommends it. The ADA says that a vegetarian diet does “meet the recommendations for protein, n-3 fatty acids, iron, zinc, iodine, calcium, and vitamins D and B-12, as well as other essential nutrients, and estimates that the number of vegetarians in the United States will increase over the next decade.” Studies also show that vegetarians are proven to live longer. The important thing is that you don’t just go into it and eat chips and ice cream and pizza. You should have a balanced diet of whole grains, a variety of fruits and vegatables (including leafy greens), legumes (beans), seeds, and nuts.
Check out this hilarious video on why humans are NOT designed to eat meat.
3) Find a Community!
It is very hard, nearly impossible, to have the will and enthusiasm to be vegetarian if everyone around you isn’t. We are strongly influenced by the atmosphere around us. If you have the opportunity, connect with friends, groups, clubs, or even shops that are vegetarian oriented. Even staying in touch with this website is a great help. Rachel Venokur-Clark, Mei Li, Jamie Ervin, and Gina Munsey write “Meatless Monday” posts every week and we post several other vegetarian and vegan recipes at other times as well, as well as providing you with the newest scientific findings and the most recent news related to food and drink.
4) Have a Strong Reason for Going Vegetarian!
There are numerous environmental, moral and spiritual reasons for going vegetarian. The livestock industry is perhaps the greatest contributor to environmental problems in the world, including global climate change. Even TIME magazine picked up on this after Nobel Prize-winning Rajendra Pachauri from the United Nations urged people around the world to cut back on their meat intake.
As Sir Paul McCartney said: “If anyone wants to save the planet, all they have to do is just stop eating meat. That’s the single most important thing you could do. It’s staggering when you think about it. Vegetarianism takes care of so many things in one shot: ecology, famine, cruelty.”
Aside from the environmental reasons, you can consider the animals screaming and yelping as they are butchered when you sit down to eat a meat dish. It happens. Dogs and pigs have basically the same level of intelligence. They, and all the other animals, feel pain when they are slaughtered and they express it. Take a look at this great graphic of how many cows, pigs, and chickens are killed every second for US meat consumption and consider their agony as well.
There are even spiritual reasons for not eating meat. Many believe that what you do (your actions) will come back to you — in nearly every religion you find this. If you consider the harm you are causing other animals, and consider that coming back on you, there is another possible reason to cut the meat habit and go vegetarian. For more on Christian literature and quotes from the Bible that support vegetarianism, read “Christianity and the Environment Part II: Beyond Recycling and Conservation“.
5) You Can Do It!
You may feel like it is impossible at the beginning, but if you get your hands into it, you will find that it is quite easy (and fun). There are a few basic things — the points above — to remember, but after that it is quite easy. Trust yourself. Believe in yourself. And you can go vegetarian!
BONUS: Your Heroes are Vegetarians!
Numerous greats throughout history were vegetarians. This helps in some of the points above — you can find your “community” of vegetarian celebrities you love; you can show people that vegetarians (and vegans!) can be strong and healthy; and you can see just how possible and popular vegetarianism is.
Albert Einstein, one of the greatest thinkers in the history of humanity, said: “Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival for life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”
Carl Lewis, “Athlete of the Century” last century and 9-time Olympic gold medalist (a record) was actually vegan!
Elle Macpherson (“The Body”), a model for Sports Illustrated, Vogue, Victoria’s Secret, Playboy, Cosmopolitan, Elle, and others, and an actress in Batman & Robin, The Edge, and Friends, is a vegetarian. TIME magazine even published a whole issue on this superstar called “The Big Elle”.
Other famous vegetarians include Bob Marley, Tom Cruise, Samuel L. Jackson, Pamela Anderson, Casey Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Christina Applegate, Bryan Adams (vegan), Andre 3000 (vegan), Common, Jack Johnson, Moby, Christian Bale, Kristin Bell, Orlando Bloom, Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan, Billy Idol, Gladys Night, Jude Law, Danny De Vito, Lenny Kravitz, Tobey Maguire, Paul McCartney, Russel Simmons (vegan), Josh Hartnett, Billie Jean King, Natalie Portman, Amy Ray, Shania Twain, and countless others. Some historic people you probably never would have guessed include Hank Aaron, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Doris Day, Mary Tyler Moore, and Leonardo Da Vinci.
*Be aware, however, that if you eat a lot of meat and drop it all at once, there is a chance you will see some side-effects in the short-term.
Image Credit 1: United Nations Photo via flickr under a Creative Commons license
Image Credit 2: Gabriel M. via flickr under a Creative Commons license
Image Credit 3: gapster via flickr under a Creative Commons license
Image Credit 4: modenadude via flickr under a Creative Commons license
Image Credit 5: chloe004 via flickr under a Creative Commons license
Image Credit 6: cliff1066 via flickr under a Creative Commons license
10 thoughts on “How to Go Vegetarian: 5 Key Steps (& Famous Vegetarian Celebrities)”
Thanks for your article on how to become vegetarian. It’s so important for people to hear this message everywhere. Eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, raw nuts and seeds and reducing or eliminating meat, fish and dairy products is the best thing for our individual health and for the environment. At EarthSave we have been helping people move toward a plant-based diet for over 20 years. Check out our website, our weekly internet radio show and internet food shows. Also, take the VegPledge at http://www.vegpledge.com to help you go veg — it’s free!
I’ve been a vegetarian for many years but my family is not (though they only eat meat rarely now). Yes, it takes a little more commitment but you can be an herbivore in an omnivore family.
I post vegetarian recipes on Monday or Friday depending with the hopes that some of my readers will at least give it up one day a week.
My favorite cookbook is The Vegetarian Times Mediterranean Recipes. Two of the healthiest diets around. Big shout out to the Vegetarian Times.
I think it’s very difficult to become vegetarian. I tried two years ago but my family and friends didn’t make it easier for me. They said that it was a problem for them because they had to prepare different meals for their guest and different for me :(
Mayby I’ll try again…
happy cow has connections to many of the vegetarian restaurants and health food stores worldwide as well as other vegetarian information at http://www.happycow.net
the vegetarian resource group has connections to vegetarian restaurants in the united states and canada as well as other vegetarian information at http://www.vrg.org
the magazine vegetarian times has existed since the late 1970’s/early 1980’s spreading the good news about vegetarianism and veganism,as in,vegetarian recipes,vegan recipes and other vegetarian information.for more information on vegetarian times go to http://www.vegetariantimes.com
october 1 is world vegetarian day,which also is the first day of the yearly vegetarian awareness month.for more information go to http://www.worldvegetarianday.org
Thanks for this Zachary. Every day I inch a little bit closer … :)
Check out research by Dr. Robert A. Good, of the University of Minnesota. He discovered that he stimulated immunity by restricting animal protein. Paper Robert A. Good, MD, The Influence of Nutrition on Development of Cancer Immunity and Resistance to Mesenchymal Diseases (New York: Raben Press, 1982).
it would be nice if you put some names with the celeb pics. i don’t recognize some and a few i do, but don’t know their names.
I agree, I spent way too long googling all possibilities to figure it out, Orlando Bloom (pic #5) being the hardest, it didn’t look much like all his more handsome pics :) And I thought #3 was Shania Twain, but she had more eye makeup on in any other pic I found. THEN after, I realize you could just click onto the photo credits at the end & find out!
#1–Elle Macpherson, #2–Andre 3000, #4–Christian Bale, #6–Henry Ford
Nice article. I was researching on how to become a vegetarian and i came across a great website called Vegetarian Newbie http://www.vegetariannewbie.com and i joined their free newsletter and got a free report which was really informative and help to answer a few questions i had already
The other free newsletters are
Vegetarian Secrets http://www.vegetarian-secrets.com
Savvy Vegetarian http://www.savvyvegetarian.com
There are so many good reasons to go vegetarian… Thanks for this post!
You might be interested in checking out my website http://www.vegonline.org
I think we’re on a similar wavelength!