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Making the SwitchBeing Vegetarian

Going veg is the number one way to reduce the pain and suffering of animals—but what about making the switch as painless for yourself as well? Don’t sweat it, we have time tested tips to start your tasty transition! Try this:

Frequently Asked Questions

Most of us are hit with some pretty common (and sometimes silly) questions about being veg. Luckily, they are all super easy to answer. Keep your cool, and answer questions thoughtfully, because even though it might seem obvious to you, it may not be to others! Click the questions below for snappy responses to:

Where do you get your protein?

You can get all the protein you need on a vegetarian or vegan diet—and without the saturated fats and cholesterol, not to mention no animals having to die for your food. If you eat a mix of soy products, nuts, legumes, grains and tasty mock meats you’re more than sorted. Variety is the key and that’s what makes veggie food fun!

In actual fact, we in the West usually eat too much protein. We’re a country of meat-a-holics and the dead animals on people’s plates aren’t doing their health any favours.

(For more information on nutrition click here.)

What about iron?

Leafy green vegetables are a great source of iron. Eating plenty of leafy greens and combining that with foods rich in vitamin C, such as oranges, lemons and tomatoes will keep you in tip top shape. In fact, studies have shown that vegans on average have higher levels of iron absorption than meat-eaters!

(For more information on nutrition click here.)

Aren’t animals protected from cruelty in Australia?
Actually, no! In Australia, ‘codes of practice’ bend the rules so that farmers can imprison and painfully mutilate farmed animals in ways that would be illegal if they were dogs and cats. Mother pigs are locked in cages so small they can’t turn around. Battery hens spend their whole life in a space smaller than an A4 piece of paper. Piglets, lambs and calves have their tails cut off, and are castrated without pain relief. Does that sound like protection to you? By switching to a vegetarian diet you can save 100 animals’ lives every year and vote against animal cruelty.

Won’t you get sick of eating salad?
There’s heaps more to veggie food than lentils and leaves. Vegetarians eat everything meat eaters do—just without the corpses and a whole lot less pain and suffering. In fact, with great mock meats, and a world of yummy veggies to work with, the only things you miss out on are the artery-clogging saturated fats, and the cancer-causing chemicals. Veggie burgers, lasagnes, vegan cheese cake, vegan cheesy pizza and yummy stir fries are just a few of the guilt-free tasty treats you can enjoy as a vegetarian!

Don’t you need meat to be healthy?
Far from it! Not only does a vegetarian or vegan diet have everything you need to look and feel great, but eating meat has been linked to all the biggest killers in the western world. And on average vegetarians live longer lives. By switching to a vegetarian or vegan diet you can reduce your risk of strokes, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. So if we can live happy healthy lives without harming animals, why don’t we?

Isn’t going veg a bit extreme?
What’s so extreme about wanting to stop cruelty? Isn’t it more extreme to lock mother pigs in a space where they can’t turn around for months on end? Or to castrate piglets, calves and lambs without anaesthetic? If you think that’s cruel then it’s simple—don’t pay people to do it. By switching to a healthy vegetarian diet you can save 100 animals’ lives every year.

You’re still going to eat fish, right?
Fish aren’t floating vegetables! They feel pain just like any other animal. In fact, experts say fish have good memories and can learn from each other. But the final moments for a fish caught for food are painful and terrifying. When they’re dragged out of the ocean in giant nets their eyes and swimming bladders can explode from the change in pressure. And if that doesn’t kill them, then they slowly suffocate to death at the surface. Suffering is suffering, whether it’s a dog or catfish!

And if omega 3 is what you’re worried about, then linseeds, tofu and walnuts are all great brain foods, without the risk of mercury contamination (common in fish, and known to cause brain damage). Besides, some of the greatest minds were vegetarians, such as Da Vinci, Einstein, Ghandi, Pythagoras and many more.

Didn’t we evolve to eat meat?
It doesn’t matter if we used to eat meat, or we can eat meat, the fact is we don’t have to. With a world of healthy, flavoursome vegetarian and vegan food to choose from, there’s no need to hurt animals and the environment. And if we can improve our own health and the environment by choosing not to harm animals for our food, shouldn’t we do that? After all—isn’t evolution about adapting to better suit your environment?

Isn’t it natural to eat meat?
What’s so natural about purchasing a plastic wrapped corpse from the supermarket? And what about chickens on factory farms, who are bred to grow 3 times faster than natural? Many of these birds die because they are unable to even lift their own body weight to reach food and water. And how about confining animals in sheds and cages, where they must live in their own waste, pumped full of antibiotics to prevent them dying from diseases caused by their filthy conditions? Does that sound natural to you? Switching to a vegetarian or vegan diet saves lives, reduces your greenhouse emissions and reduces your risk of all the biggest illnesses in the western world.

Aren’t vegetarians all boring people who don’t have lives?
Hell no! Some of the most amazing artists, athletes and geniuses don’t eat animals. Paul McCartney, Pamela Anderson, Missy Higgins and Einstein are all vegetarians.

Some people kick the meat habit cold tofurkey, but others find it easier to take it one step at a time. There’s no right or wrong way to do it—the most important thing is to find what works for you. Here’s some ways to get started:

  • Start with one animal, and take them out of your diet (try starting with chickens, or pigs—some of the most abused animals raised for meat). Substitute with veg alternatives such as tofu, or mock meats. Keep removing different animals until you have an entirely animal-free diet.
  • Pick two days a week to eat only veg meals. Increase the number of meat-free days each week over time.
  • Start with your favourite dish, and adjust the recipe to make it vegetarian. With many meat-free substitutes available, this should be a breeze! Work your way through your culinary repertoire until all your meals are vegetarian.
  • Make the switch with a friend! Not only will you have double the impact, but it’s fun and you will have someone to share recipes with.

Being vegetarian or vegan is about helping animals—not about being ‘perfect’. Each meal is an important choice between cruelty and kindness, and it’s important not to throw in the towel if you cave in to a craving! Most of us ate meat at some stage, but it’s the kind choices we make today which determine how many lives will be saved tomorrow. If you don’t eat meat for a week, you’ll save two animals’ lives. The next week it will be four. In a year, 100—and over a lifetime, thousands!

For the animals’ sake, it's vitally important not to spit the dummy if you discover that the satay sauce in the vegetarian meal you ordered had traces of an animal by-product! In reality, small amounts of animal products are impossible to avoid; they’re in our cars, in our computers, even paints! By not eating meat you will break the killing cycle which underpins these by-products. Fussing over micro-ingredients makes being vegetarian look very difficult and complicated to meat-eaters—and that can cost lives if it turns people off thinking about going veg for themselves. So, chillax, know that you’re helping animals, and take it easy!

We know that being veg is easy, and you know how simple it is to find and create delicious meat-free meals, but does your family? Catering for a new diet in the family can be a headache for even the most accomplished cook, but you can make it easy! Offer to help with the shopping, and load up the trolley with cruelty-free goodies including mock-meats—which can be used in all the same meaty recipes your family will be used to. But don’t stop there. Get your hands dirty in the kitchen and help prepare some delicious cruelty-free meals for the whole family to enjoy. They will be glad for the help, and will learn first-hand how tasty meat-free meals can be!

Ditching meat, dairy and eggs can do wonders for your health. But as with any diet, if you don't eat well, you'll get sick. So be smart and make sure you're getting all the fuel your body needs to stay in tip top shape. Click here for same basic tips on nutrition. After all, we owe it to the animals to be lean mean veggie machines, so that we can show others how great cruelty-free living can be.

Next: What to Eat »

Give Meat the Flick!

For the Animals. For the Planet. For your Health.

Easy as Veggie Pie!