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If you asked me when I was younger if I could ever envision myself becoming a vegetarian, I would’ve laughed in your face. In April, I will be 9 years of being a vegetarian with no plans on going back. If you want to turn to the meatless side, follow these easy tips on how I made my transition and what helped me!

Don’t go cut it cold turkey

-Unless you have really good self control. I think it’s easiest to be realistic about what you can and can’t do. Eating meat (for most people) is a routine and a habit. If you cut it cold turkey right off the bat, it is very likely that you will be tempted and go back to eating meat because that is what your body is used to.

Learn how to cook your own food

This doesn't mean that you can't go out to eat but learning how to make your own food and researching alternatives to your favorite dishes will help you feel less overwhelmed and less like you're giving a part of your life away. Not only will it make you feel better but it’s also a nice trait to have.

Look up the menu before going to a restaurant

Almost every restaurant usually has at least one vegetarian option but there have been many times where all I was eating was bread and butter while my friends were munching on ribs. It’s best to read the menu and pick out in advance what you will order, or even call the restaurant and see if they can make whatever they have but without the meat in it (usually they can). This will save you from feeling left out, hungry and/or feeling discouraged.

Remember why you chose to do this

It’s easy to give up on something that doesn’t have serious consequences if broken. However, it is important to not lose sight as to why you chose to change your lifestyle. Whether it's because you want to eat healthier, religious, ethical or sustainable reasons, it is important to remember why. Remembering will ground you.

Try alternative meats

This will help you during your transition because if you miss eating hamburgers, hot dogs, sausage etc, you can still eat it and have a similar texture and flavor. I suggest trying beyond meat or the impossible burger, they are very tasty. Many restaurants, grocery stores and fast food chains sell these so it shouldn’t be too hard to find.

Letting go of meat is far from easy, however with determination, self control and a purpose, it will make it 10x easier. I remember when I first started it was really hard but with the steps I listed, it made my transition into something permanent.

Enya Nava

UCSD '21

Enya is a 4th year transfer student from the Bay Area, majoring in Communications at UCSD. Aside from being a writer for UCSD Her Campus, she is involved in UCSD's Undergrad Communication's Society and the Social Media Coordinator for Triton Linked-In Group. During her free time, you can catch her hanging out with friends, dancing, working out or catching some sun at the beach!
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