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Hi everyone :)

I have been proudly meat-free for two weeks now. I know it may sound silly, but I am absolutely ready to take on this new lifestyle and you have to start somewhere right? I'm doing this for the animals primarily, as I'm completely against the torture they endure purely for human greed. But as a side note, I figure that this could be a healthier choice for me also :)

However, it's not particularly easy at the moment... I'm 15, have been raised by an omnivorous family and my mom doesn't know what to feed me. Dinners have become a hassle, as usually they would contain meat. Believe me, I've tried to make them aware that they are essentially eating dead animals. They are just so stubborn and ignorant. So here I am, glad to see that there is a community of people like me, so I don't feel so alone! I would love some extra support and even great vegetarian/vegan recipes (I am eventually going to transition to veganism) to cook for my closed-minded family!

Any help/tips/ideas/suggestions/anything would be greatly appreciated :)
 

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Hey there!

I was just like you when I started out. My family is extremely omnivorous. My mom particularly is a huge meat eater. I decided to go vegetarian when I was about late 15. I didn't know much about it, and of course my family didn't know anything about it. I researched everything for hours and hours a day until I felt that I had enough information, and I later discovered that I didn't. A big mistake that I made when I first went vegetarian was only eating processed, frozen foods. I wasn't eating anything but MorningStar foods, and I started to realize that I was getting light headed and I felt dizzy a lot, so I cracked. I went back to eating meat after two months of eating an unhealthy, unbalanced, processed food vegetarian diet. Within a few months I was back to researching until I felt I was ready to do it again, and for good.

I eat a well balanced diet. I love vegetables, I LOVE fruit, I love finding new recipes. Although I consider myself to be a vegetarian, I do eat vegan A LOT and I even feel way better when I do. Sometimes I will just eat a ton of fruit for a day and feel so good (I feel great as it is just being a vegetarian but still you get my point). Don't try and rush into it if you're not ready (you said you are but you get my point). You may make a mistake or two and that's okay. Don't beat yourself up about it. For a few months after being a vegetarian for good I was unaware about gelatin and a bunch of other ingredients. I don't use regular white sugar anymore (I use raw can sugar from TJ's). No marshmallows. I barely eat cheese, I don't drink dairy milk (only almond and soy, and I really want to try rice milk soon). I use Earth Balance butter for butter.

One thing that will really help is to LOVE cooking. I have always loved cooking and I found that my cooking skills have grown immensely due to me cooking a lot. A lot of foods that you can buy at the grocery store I prefer to make myself. I'm one for knowing wanting to know what is in my food and watching it cook instead of buying it pre-made. I love making smoothies. Quinoa, lentils, beans, garbanzo beans, are just a few of my favorites. I love finding recipes with food that I have left over. My parents, both being hardcore meat eaters, were so supportive of me wanting to make the switch. I completely get what you mean, and I can relate. I honestly feel like me being a vegetarian has made me parents more open-minded, especially my mom. I have made (vegan) meals and neither of them would even know that they were vegan, but of course I told them :D. They weren't surprised but I was surprised that they were willing to try it!

I felt that I knew a lot about vegetarianism when I first become one, but of course with time and you growing you realize that you didn't know as much as you thought you knew, at least with me. Like I said, I used to eat strictly vegetarian (eggs and cheese all the time), but now I eat vegan a lot if not 5-7 days out of the week. I really want to go vegan within the next year. What helped me a lot was watching videos on youtube and finding recipes. I also bought mostly the essentials from the store, or what I feel were essentials for me. For me what I made sure I always purchased was: nuts, beans, lots of fruits and vegetables, NO PROCESSED FOODS, non-dairy milk, olive oil (because lots of recipes call for it), flour (always needed), and there are a lot more that I can't think of right now haha I'm sorry. Being a vegetarian is a lot more than just not wanting to eat meat for me.

I hope I gave you a good bit of information, and I would love to give you more information based on my personal experience(s). :)
 
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