Answering questions about vegetarianism


Sesame tofu is a good vegetarian source of protein and one of my favorite foods to have for dinner. (Courtesy of Pixabay)

Nicole Cobb

People usually have a lot of questions for me when I tell them I am vegetarian. I made a list of common questions and answered them with the hope of helping anyone who wants to know more about being vegetarian but doesn’t know how to ask.

1.What’s the difference between a vegan and a vegetarian?

A vegetarian does not eat meat, while a vegan does not eat or use any animal product. For example, I eat dairy and eggs, but a vegan would not.

2. Where do you get your protein from?

There are many sources of protein for vegetarians to eat. I eat beans, nuts, eggs, dairy and soy for protein. Other vegetarians eat protein bars and protein shakes, but I am not a big fan of those.

3. What do you eat?

For breakfast, I will usually have some fruit with a waffle or oatmeal. For lunch, I will have more fruit, some veggies, like carrots or cucumbers, nuts and a sandwich with almond butter or avocado toast. For snacks, I have fruits, nuts and crackers with cheese. For dinner, I usually have a source of protein like tofu or bean soup with a side of vegetables and/or rice. For dessert, I have even more fruit.

4. How long have you been a vegetarian?

I was a vegetarian for about a year when I was 12, but I had to stop because I didn’t know how to eat correctly on a vegetarian diet. Late last year, I decided I wanted to become vegetarian again and it has been about four months since then. I don’t plan on starting to eat meat again.

5. Why did you become a vegetarian?

I am very passionate about animal rights and I never felt comfortable eating meat. I also had trouble digesting red meat. Becoming a vegetarian seemed like a good way to be true to my values.

6. How does someone become vegetarian?

For me, I had to talk with my parents, a nutritionist and a doctor to make sure that I would be getting all the nutrients I needed. I think consulting with a doctor or nutritionist is important if someone wants to become vegetarian. My mistake the first time I tried to be a vegetarian was that I ate too many carbs and not enough protein. Devising meal plans and making sure that you go about vegetarian dieting the right way can be hard to do on your own. If you are a minor, consult your parents. I made the decision to be vegetarian without asking for my parents permission, but I worked with them to devise eating strategies. If you feel strongly about not eating meat, then don’t, but make sure you have a plan of action beyond eliminating it from your diet.  

7. Do you miss meat?

Not anymore. I never really liked meat to begin with, and I feel better morally not eating it. However, I have tried eliminating gluten before, and I definitely missed that. There were a few meat products that I missed in the beginning, few and far between, but I think following my moral compass is well worth any longing I feel. The more time that goes on with me not eating meat, the less I miss it.

8. Have you ever accidentally eaten meat?

I like California rolls and I thought that since they have fake crab, it would be okay for me to eat them. As it turned out, the fake crab is made of fish. When I discovered this fact, I stopped eating the California rolls. I instead order sushi rolls with just carrot, avocado and cucumber, and it honestly tastes just like a normal California roll.

9. Do you think everyone should be a vegetarian?

In a perfect world, yes, I would love if everyone was vegetarian. However, I know that not everyone can or wants to be vegetarian, and as important as animal rights are to me, free will is just as important. I would never force someone to give up meat, especially if they love it. There are other ways to support animals besides being vegetarian. I just find that being vegetarian is the best way I can support animal rights every day.