|Me, before I became a vegetarian|
First off I would like you to know that I used to be a BIG meat eater and never thought that I would become a vegetarian, but things change. Secondly I only stopped eating fish and seafood in the summer of 2012, so I haven't been a 'real' vegetarian for long. Saying that I haven't eaten meat or poultry for almost two years now.
Becoming a vegetarian for me has been a gradual process. First of all I started to cut down on my meat intake and congratulated myself for doing so as oppose to putting myself down for the little bit of fish and/or meat I was eating. Secondly, I never told myself I would never eat meat again, although I hope that is the case. So I have played tricks on myself and they seem to have worked! But of course without the deep and sincere aspiration to become a vegetarian it would all have been futile. I was educated by others and educated myself about the moral (animal welfare/environment), health and spiritual arguments for not eating meat. This helped fortify my resolve when it began to weaken. Just as importantly I learnt a bit of nutrition to unlearn all the myths about why we 'need' to eat meat and replaced that false knowledge with scientific facts.
Protein is made from amino acids and there are 21 amino acids. 12 of those amino acids are synthesised by our bodies out of whatever we consume. The other 9 we need to consume from a food source and they can be found elsewhere other than in meat or fish.
For some examples see here: http://www.savvyvegetarian.com/articles/get-enough-protein-veg-diet.php
So forget about meat = protein, it isn't necessary in the equation!
Also, ever see a Cow eat Meat? In the process of getting your protein which way sounds better?
Sun-Grass-Animal Feed-Hormones-Antibiotics-Fear-Adrenaline-Shit-Piss-(last four created in large quantities during the slaughtering process)Tumours-Cow-Burger-Human
I did like meat dishes but I do not miss them because I eat a lot of Quorn products that replace them. You can still enjoy a chicken curry, a chilli con carne, lasagne or some sausages for example. Plus it's easier, quicker and safer to cook with Quorn. I think that it is the sauces and what the meat is prepared in that gives it most of the flavour we enjoy and Quorn sucks up the juices and tastes just as tasty when prepared in the same way. Quorn is also very high in protein and low in saturated fats.
For examples see here: http://www.quorn.co.uk/
What's more, vegetarian food (without the meat supplement) can be varied and delicious. Nor do I find eating out difficult at all, although I thought I would. In fact it can help having less choice in life at times!
I enjoy working out so I also take a 100% vegetarian and natural protein powder. One that has all the essential amino acids and is high in omega threes is hemp protein powder. The one I take is here and it comes in a variety of flavours:
Some might be wondering if you can still get ripped or be athletic on a plant based diet? Well, check these guys and gals out, some of them aren't even vegetarian, they are vegans! (cheesy music is optional):
With all that I am sure I am getting more than my fair share of protein! Oh yes I do still eat eggs and dairy products and protein can be found in them too, hence I am not a vegan as a vegan doesn't eat any animal based products. I don't drink cows milk if I can help it as I prefer rice or soya milk.
It must be said however that we are all unique individuals and therefore so will be our dietary needs. Personally speaking, now I am vegetarian and haven't eaten meat for almost 2 year I do feel better, tend to have more energy and am less susceptible to catching colds when they do the rounds or they don't hit me as hard and I recover much quicker. It really does feel good in so many ways, physically as well as psychologically!
Finally, I have noticed that when I am hungry sometimes I feel as if I could just eat anything including meat. But once I have eaten and the stomach is satisfied it doesn't care what I have eaten. Wanting to eat meat is a psychological habit that can be unlearned and replaced with a more wholesome one, just like anything else. So by education, taking my time, being kind to myself and being diligent I got there and now I wonder what all the fuss was about!
Some other links that might be of interest: