5 Challenges I Faced After Going Vegetarian

So you’ve decided to become a vegetarian. Hopefully you’ve prepared yourself to at least know what’s for dinner tonight. But are you aware of the personal and social difficulties that are awaiting you? If not, I’ve prepared a small list for you with personal stories. Some of these are serious, some are funny, and some will probably piss you off a little bit.

I was not prepared to change my diet and eating habits

A lot of people think that vegetarian is synonymous with eating healthy which is just not true. I was one of those people that thought that because I’m vegetarian, now I have to eat healthy. No one learns to eat healthy from one day to the next, and that’s’ exactly what I was trying to do.

I felt so defeated and overwhelmed. I gave up on eating healthy and my diet became carbs, eggs, and dairy. My new diet was probably worse than it was before.

This happened because I was trying to do too much at the same time. I became a vegetarian and immediately tried to become Martha Stewart.

Don’t do what I did. Stick to your regular diet and instead find meat substitutes and replacements. If you have a chicken sandwich slathered in mayo every day for lunch then you should continue eating that mayo slathered sandwich, but replace the chicken with avocados or a soy chicken alternative.

Incorporate other healthy options gradually. But hey, if you can do it all at once you should definitely go for it!

I felt guilty about eating eggs and dairy

This is not a big deal if you turned to vegetarianism for health reasons. But if you did it for ethical reasons then it can be a mental struggle. Sometimes I struggle with it still.

So far, I’ve taken 2 steps to relieve some guilt. I now buy cage free eggs from a certified source, and I forced myself to switch from dairy milk to soy milk. I had to force myself because I am not a fan of soy milk whatsoever. The taste and texture just doesn’t do it for me. Honestly, I find it kind of gross. I can only handle soy milk if it’s chocolate flavored. And don’t even get me started on almond milk.

Let’s take it a step further. What is the point of buying soy milk if I’m going to buy ice cream? How do I know where the ice cream company gets their milk from? Is it from a humane source? Should I switch to soy based ice cream too?

Okay, let’s say I switched to soy based ice cream. Now what about yogurt? The guilt just doesn’t end.

I guess the solution to all this is to become vegan. Veganism is something that I am considering, but I am nowhere near beginning. If you suffer from a guilty conscious, and veganism is not an option, then your only choice is to shop humane for all things dairy. These products are hard to find but they do exist.

In the meantime, you can search the Animal Welfare Approved and Certified Humane websites for humane farms and where to buy their products. You can read some on AWA and Certified Humane in this post. I am planning a more in depth post in the future.

I had to say goodbye to my favorite restaurants

Don’t you hate it when you’re out to dinner, the waiter is taking orders, but you still haven’t decided what you want? Get ready, because this is going to happen most of the time you go out to eat. You will soon find out that the vegetarian options at your favorite restaurants are non-existent.

Eventually your favorite restaurant will become whichever restaurant has a few good options for you, even if you don’t like it very much. Unfortunately, that is the reality.

One of my favorite restaurants was PF Changs. I’m a cheap date. My go to plates were the lettuce chicken wraps, Mongolian chicken, and pork fried rice. They have tofu lettuce wraps and vegetable fried rice, but after you’ve had a taste of the meat version the vegetarian option won’t even compare. Not to say that vegetarian meals are not tasty, they sure can be! But when you’ve just converted, your taste buds will not be thrilled.

The positive side of this is that you’ll eat at home more and save money. And the times that you do go out to eat you will probably spend less because meals without chicken or meat cost less.

My parents were worried and not very supportive

My sister and I have to visit my parents every weekend or my dad throws a fit. Luckily they’re only 20 minutes away. They always cook for us when we come visit as if they haven’t seen us in ages. But more than likely they saw us just the past weekend.

At first they would cook as they regularly would and just remove the meat from the food. However, I went vegetarian over compassion for animals and I don’t eat anything that has touched meat. They simply did not understand this. They insisted that I was being too extreme, and they were concerned that I was not getting enough protein.

Every time that I walked into my parents house they wanted to know exactly what I ate that day. To some extent I understand their point of view because I’ve always been a picky eater. I’ve never liked sea food because of the texture and smell, I was never one that was open to trying new foods, I have no culinary skills, and now I don’t eat meat! They probably thought I was going to starve to death.

Fast forward a year later, now my poor parents make 2 separate batches of food. One for me, and one for the meat eaters. My sister joined my vegetarian efforts soon after I did, so I don’t carry the guilt of making my parents cook twice all to myself. I appreciate it mom and dad, but now if you would just understand that you don’t have to cook for me!

I’ve been a vegetarian for over a year and ‘til this day I still have to explain myself to my parents. My dad still asks me, “are you really never going to eat meat again? What do you eat? Are you getting all the nutrition you need?”

And my mom… “You know you don’t have to be full vegetarian. You can eat meat here and there. Are you getting all the nutrition you need?” Ugh…

Some people just don’t give a fork that you’re vegetarian…

And they don’t have to give a fork, but some people are just RUDE.

Let me start by saying that I don’t think you should expect people to adjust where they eat just for you. And please don’t be that person that lays down the fact that you’re a vegetarian right away. It’s annoying. I don’t bring it up unless the conversation comes up or if someone is insisting that I taste something with meat.

So, I’m having lunch with a co-worker and 3 other people from another company that treated us to lunch. We sat at the table and one of the ladies from the other company immediately asked me why I’m a vegetarian. I didn’t tell her that I’m a vegetarian, so I can only assume that my co-worker told her to make sure that she selects a restaurant with options for me. And to her defense, she did.

I answered her question, and the conversation resumed.

The waiter approaches to take appetizer orders. This lady (without asking anyone) ordered ham and cheese croquettes, and a 2nd dish with eggs, chips, and ham.

Everyone else in the table looked at me waiting for me to say something. But this lady was paying for lunch so I held my tongue.

The appetizers arrive. Everyone digs in except for me, and the lady has the nerve to ask me why I’m not eating! Hello, don’t you remember that I’m vegetarian? She said, “can’t you take the ham out?”

I have nothing else to say, but &%$#@!

If you have any choice words for this lady ^^^ please share them below. Oh and feel free to share your challenges too. But I’m mostly interested on what you’d say to this lady. 🙂

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3 Responses
  • Alina Zagitova
    February 7, 2018

    Could you ask a menu and choose a vegetarian food? And just pay for it yourself. I wonder why would an adult working person let anyone (except relative/spouse/partner) to pay for their food at all. Its so humiliating. And that woman just used this situation to humiliate You publicly. You should not have given her that opportunitiy

  • GingerBean
    May 16, 2017

    Wow…. my first impression is that lady was RUDE!!!! You’re right, that story did piss me off haha. Wow, I don’t even know how I would handle that situation…? Calmly reiterate that you were vegetarian and that’s why you weren’t eating it? Or state that, welllllll that food has touched animal so…. On the one side it’s a chance to educate people who have lived under a rock, who are uneducated, unexposed to other ways of thinking or just plain stubborn. But, seems odd. I don’t cook food with meat in it for my vegetarian friends or order pepperoni pizza and say “oh can’t you just pick off the meat?” I don’t get it…. Although I will say, I have had friends who *said* they were vegetarian but who ate fish or something sometimes so maybe she also didn’t understand the depth of your vegetarianism. Which is fair, it’s not like it was the appropriate place to have an all out moral discussion or debate about food at a work lunch, but it seems like she should have had way more sense than that.

    • Tammy @ GFV
      May 16, 2017

      That’s another one that pisses me off… “I’m vegetarian but I eat chicken or fish sometimes” Then you’re not vegetarian! You’re just someone that doesn’t eat much chicken or fish. Grrr lol

      Yes that lady was super RUDE. I’m glad someone share’s my sentiment. I really don’t know how I held my tongue back. As you said maybe because it was a work lunch. If it was a social setting, it could’ve been a different story. Thanks for reading!