Why You Shouldn’t Go Vegetarian

Meat production is terrible for the environment. We get it. You feed a cow a ton of food, and it takes that food and turns it into, well, less food. So to be a true eco warrior, you should cut out the middle cow and eat those plants yourself. 

Ok. Everyone *should* be a vegetarian. But, that’s never gonna happen. My Italian father will never give up his precious prosciutto, no matter how little clean water will be left on the planet for his great-grandchildren. Here are 5 reasons why he should never try:

You’ll set yourself up for failure.

I recently read a post on a competing eco-blog written by a bad vegan. She lamented her inability to send food back to the kitchen if she accidentally ordered fries cooked in lard or a salad with hidden bacon bits. That, though, is a terrible attitude. The truth is, as a bad vegan, she’s waaay ahead of most of us already. If everyone were just as bad at being a vegan than she is, a huge portion of our climate problem would already be solved. 

Processed alternatives are sometimes just as bad.

Bad news, guys, almond milk isn’t solving any problems for you. Besides lacking in real nutritional value, it’s extraordinarily water intensive, and while it’s difficult to directly compare it to dairy, almond milk also poses a huge environmental problem. Coconut milk? Destroys ecosystems where coconuts are grown, typically requires the exploitation of impoverished farmers, and needs to be shipped far as f*** to get to your NYC Starbucks.

Food waste is a problem too.

 

When your office brings in sandwiches for everyone, yes, it’s better to choose the veggie option, but it’s even better to save the the leftover BLTs from being tossed at the end of the day. The most eco-minded strict vegetarians won’t take the leftover meat home. Don’t be those people. Don’t let that sad,
Perdue chicken have died in vain! 

Strict rules can lead to bingeing when broken.

 

You are human. Humans fail. Humans get discouraged. Humans quit. And when you quit vegetarianism, you’ll most likely go out for a steak dinner and milkshakes. Instead of setting rules you’re bound to break and punishing yourself for having no self-control, celebrate hitting goals and making small changes. So, forgive yourself for eating that slice of pepperoni pizza for lunch and just do your best to have a PB&J (vegan!) for dinner.

The best diet is the one you can stick to.

Everyone who’s tried to lose weight knows this. If you find healthy foods to eat that you actually enjoy, it doesn’t feel like a “diet” when you eat them. Same goes for going veg. A huge advantage to going veg for me was that things like beans, oats, and nuts don’t spoil, so I could limit my grocery shopping to once a month (and everything is cheeeeap). If you cut your meat intake by 80%, and that’s the best you can do, awesome. Keep it up. 

Pro tips: 

Self control is easiest when you don’t have to use it. Read this article from Vox about it.   This is why I set strict rules for myself (that I always end up breaking). It’s easier to say no to cake because you have a blanket rule prohibiting it than it is to make a good choice every time you debate yourself over whether or not to have it. 

Beans are not my favorite thing. If you like hummus though, buy some tahini and olive oil, mush it up with your beans and favorite spices. Here is my v lazy recipe: Lonely Lady Hummus

It’s hard to keep enough fresh vegetables in the house without shopping every GD day. I adore frozen veggies. You can buy in bulk, they won’t go bad, and they’re pre-cut and cooked for you. They’re also typically frozen when in season, meaning they often come from closer to home and are grown with fewer chemicals. 

Eggs are wonderful and so cheap. Most veg food is so cheap. That’s not how most people think of it, but see below.

Don’t buy substitute veg meats. Don’t even buy tofu unless you want to. They are all overpriced and processed as f$%#. Why pay someone else to make tofu for you when you can just eat and cook soybeans for approximately $0/lb?

If you buy reallllly tiny lentils, you can cook them by simply pouring hot water over them, waiting 5 minutes, then draining the water and seasoning them. I keep a bag of them at my desk at work and never have to bring a bag lunch. 

It’s very easy to eat healthy when vegetarian, but you do NOT have to. McDonald’s french fries? Vegan. Dr. Pepper? Vegan. Refried beans and rice? Available as vegan. (Plus, if you eat something fried in animal fat, it’s essentially a byproduct. No one is killing the pig just for the lard. So eat it and don’t feel bad.)

Rotisserie chicken at the grocery store is made from chicken that’s about to pass it’s sell by date. Eating it helps the store waste less. So do it, if you want.