Vegetarian Contrarian: Welcome to the Bright Side

Scenes from my salad club at work. All salad photos courtesy of the lovely Nora Mironov.

I’ve now spent almost half my lifetime as a vegetarian; not too shabby for a 26-year-old.

When I first started I was 14, and I think most people, my parents included, thought I was going through a phase. Something I would grow out of, like my Jim Morrison obsession I’d begun, the philosophy club I’d joined, and all these Pearl Jam intros I’d started learning on guitar.

Well, everything else was DEFINITELY a phase, (no disrespect to Jim), but the lack of meat has stood the test of time, and I’m happy and healthy. Now, in a friendly, non-condescending way, I shall gently ask you, dear reader, to just consider a life with less meat.

Now before you dub me a smug treehuggger, close this window, and remind yourself never to visit my  blog again, I would like to ask you to just keep reading just a little bit longer.. I promise I won’t talk about animal cruelty, or make you feel like a murderer.  Are you still reading?


10 Reasons Eating Less Meat Can Make Life Brighter

1. Meat costs more than any other source of protein.
It’s true.  Eggs, cheese, tofu, seitan, chickpeas, beans and rice, yogurt, you name it and (unless it’s some sort of French delicacy) it is probably less than the meat alternative. If you want to save a few dollars, try reducing your meat consumption for a month and see if you don’t notice more change in your wallet.


2. Vegetarians are brighter. As in, smarter.  
Statistically speaking, children with higher IQs are more likely to embrace vegetarianism as adults. As an intelligent reader of my blog, this clearly means your time to jump on the veggie-burger-bandwagon is now! We can talk about causation vs. correlation later, bring on the beans and rice you brainiac, you!

3. A way to get people interested in you. 
Do you enjoy being asked questions and piquing people’s curiosity?  I haven’t done a statistical analysis, but I believe that vegetarians get more attention at the table than meat eaters do. Be forewarned, your company might feel offended or uncertain of how to react when they learn you’re a veg-head, but when you explain to them that it’s simply to save money and appear intelligent, they’ll relax immediately and like that you have a sense of humor. Here’s to new friends!

4. Dinner becomes so much more than meat and potatoes.

Bean chilli with avocado, lime, sour cream and homemade corn spelt bread!
Roasted Capsicum, Olive, Avocado, Spinach, Rocket and Parmesan Salad with Chickpea flower pancakes.
Veggie skewers with zucchini, mushrooms, pineapple, capsicum, haloumi & red onion with cherry tomatoes, spinach & lime salad dressed with tzatziki & basil pesto.

When you embrace the idea of vegetables as your main food group, suddenly you have WAY more supper options than your fellow carnivores! So when some beefhead asks you ‘what do you eat instead of meat?’ you can start listing and not stop, bringing to light that he or she is the one who is missing out. Here’s a link to 35 amazing meatless recipes to get you started, complete with yummy photos to make you drool.

5. Vegetarians have less meat on their bones.  

Me pre-vegetarian. (I was so ashamed of my baby fat that I dressed in layers.)
Me happy and healthy after 12 years of vegetarianism.

Often it is never diet alone that leads to looser jeans, but making conscious choices like eating more vegetables and fruit will alter your body and brighten your mind. Just don’t only eat ice cream and french fries, and you will see results, I promise. Check out my own dramatic difference above!

6. Become a decrepit carrot cruncher.
Who doesn’t love living longer? It’s statistically proven that we vegetarians live longer, so if I haven’t sold you on the other points, extended life is really, like, unarguably awesome. Less cancer and heart disease too!

7. We all scream for ice cream!

ice cream
For those of y’all who don’t care when you die or what size your jeans are, please disregard number five and number six. For my cynical, anti-diet readers, you dear friends, you can eat as much ice cream as you want, and still get respect from a certain demographic. Sure you might be obese and depressed, but there are many people who are just vegetarians because they don’t want to murder happy chickens and pigs – and you are still respected in their eyes! Just maybe don’t ever tell a vegan that you live on ice cream.

8. Herbivores are heaps happier!
Recent studies have shown that vegetarians have a happier outlook on life than their fellow meat eaters. I can’t say I’m surprised as I’m one of the happiest people I know. This is the bright side that I’m on about. It’s annoying till you become happy, and then you realize what a drag you were before. Don’t believe me?  Read about it here, and reduce your meat consumption to take greater pleasure in existence!

9. Your skin will glow and you will smell nice!
I know this sounds like a joke, but fruit and vegetables are full of antioxidants. Antioxidants halt free radicals. Free radicals bring on brown spots and signs of aging. I learned this on FOX News of all places! Also, a recent study demonstrated how women found the scents of vegetarian men much less pungent and stinky than the smell of male meat eaters! So man up and put the meat down!

10. Less greasy fat to clean up.
I’m no prude, but do you know what’s super nasty? Fat from burgers or bacon clogging up your sink or slowly changing the color of your kitchen ceiling. If you try cooking without meat, you will never have to subject your lovely vegetarian fingers to cleaning this up.Clean eating has a whole new meaning!

Okay folks, that’s all for now.  Let me know if I changed your mind even slightly, and either way thanks so so much for reading to the end! Happy thinking, happy eating!