The Blogger’s Lounge at SXSW was easily my favorite place by the end of the week. It was a calm place to recharge my iPhone, grab some veggies off the appetizer bar and fill up my water bottle. It also happened to be the best place to meet people. I met Raúl Colón, fellow blogger and vegetarian, there. After chatting with him I thought it would be nice for someone else to share why they chose the veg life and how challenging it can be to make that transition.
From Meat Eater to Vegetarian!
After more than 5 years as a vegetarian I have to say that adopting a Vegetarian Lifestyle was one of the best decisions I ever made. I find more reasons why being vegetarian is of benefit to me, my family, community, and overall the environment. I also have to admit that the hardest thing about being vegetarian is trying to convince people who are convinced that Meat is a needed source for us.
Separating Myth from Reality
I was born in the Beautiful Island of Puerto Rico where I currently live and most people here think that not having meat will make them sick. I have lost the count of the many people warning me (in some occasions multiple times) on the risks of not eating meat. What is curious about most of these conversations is that they are based on pure assumptions passed from previous generations on the importance of meat.
Meat as a Symbol of Health and Wealth
Some people have also confused the symbol of meat with wealth. In many cultures such as the Hispanic culture, eating meat means that one is healthy. I have heard from others how in countries like Cuba people do not have enough meat to eat and how I should feel sorry for them. I guess not many people have had the opportunity to research how the Cuban diet and eating less meat, works to their benefit. In many other cultures on special occasions, they have to kill some kind of game or offer a sacrifice of meat from an animal that people are not used to eating.
All these examples show how meat is a symbol of prosperity, which gets confused with people being healthy.
In my case, my body was rejecting meat and I was just not listening to my body. When I stopped consuming meat, which I explain in “Why I don’t Eat Meat“, I felt such a relief from the health issues. Other people are not as strong willed and even-though they want to be vegetarian, they have a hard time at the beginning. I learned something while in the military; just take it one step at the time. On military missions if you have a misstep you need to focus on the other task at hand because if not your life or your teammates life depends on it. If you are trying to become vegetarian, and you are not able to resist a temptation, think of what you are eating. Once you made the mistake just focus on not letting it happen again.
Finding Things to Eat
Another situation new vegetarians have, is trying to identify what to eat and where. Sadly not all restaurants or fast foods are vegetarian friendly much less vegan. Also there are many resources online that can get you started into vegetarian cooking. They offer tips on creating snacks and quick things on the go. I always make sure to take my lunch or food with me. Once I have a meal ready, I don’t have to stress out looking for vegetarian food options. With time you find the best and trustworthy places to eat vegetarian or vegan. After 5 years I have my backup plans in place.
Being vegetarian does not mean you will lose weight or be healthier after all there are bad options to eat. Being vegetarian actually helps you monitor what you eat. You really have to make sure you review the ingredients and nutritional facts. There are many items you might think are vegetarian friendly and they are not. When you go through the trouble of reviewing each label it makes you more aware of what you are consuming.
Improving Your Lifestyle
I have fewer visits to the doctor and I take less medication. I feel great and I also don’t impact the environment as badly as meat eaters. I will share the following 5 Reasons it is easy to have a vegetarian lifestyle:
- Cutting Bad Fats
- Reducing the Suffering of Animals
- Helping the Environment
- Helping with your Weight Control
- Getting More Nutrition by the Ounce
Are there any other reasons why you should become vegetarian or vegan?
Raúl has been vegetarian since 2006 and decided to create VegLatino as a place for everyone to understand the Vegetarian Lifestyle from a Latino’s perspective. Raúl is President of CIMA IT Solutions Corp., an IT Consulting & Social Marketing Firm, which helps small-to-medium sized organizations in implementing adequate business processes to meet their IT and Social Marketing business goals. Freel free to contact Raul directly.