Going vegetarian is definitely not without its challenges. It has been my aspiration to turn vegetarian for around a decade already and apart from giving up consumption of certain meats gradually, I had not made the big leap until recently and even then I initially had second thoughts as to whether I would be able to make the commitment to continue being vegetarian.

In my case, motivation was key. It was essential that I have the right motivation in being vegetarian, otherwise there would be a very real probability that I would succumb to my old habits of consuming my favorite foods which include meat. There were psychological withdrawal symptoms in the first few weeks and I almost thought that I would not be able to make the shift.

It was very difficult to outgrow the habit of craving for my favorite dishes in my favorite restaurants. This was compounded by the fact that there were very few restaurants which carried vegetarian dishes in their menu except for a few nominal salads or sautéed vegetables–hardly enough to make vegetarianism appealing. This took some joy out of socializing or eating out since there would often be not enough vegetarian options, much less appealing ones on the menu.

On the home front, it took a bit of adjusting but it was easier to make the personal switch in one’s grocery buying habits and eating options than when one goes out for meetings and/or socializing and come across the sad fact that one may not be frequenting one’s favorite restaurant anymore because they don’t have a decent selection of vegetarian dishes. It can be quite frustrating to realize that the vegetarian segment of the population is often overlooked or disregarded when people open their restaurants and plan their menus.

This, of course, leads to some shuffling about of restaurant options when dining with friends. It would be so much easier if there were more vegetarian friendly restaurants and not necessarily just pure vegetarian restaurants because when dining with family and friends, different diets would have to be considered and it would be good if regular restaurants would take vegetarians into consideration so that dining with non-vegetarian friends, family, and colleagues would be even more enjoyable.

It’s lovely to discover pure vegetarian restaurants too here and there because they have a more extensive or comprehensive selection of items to sample.

I feel qualitatively lighter (not necessarily equating to body weight) since I’ve turned vegetarian and I’ve continued including vitamins and good supplements in my daily intake to be able to make sure that The essential vitamins and minerals my body requires will be complete. I am mindful that being vegetarian is not as simple as giving up eating meat, it has to be done in a nutritionally acceptable manner so that we maintain and improve our health.

I’m still in the adjustment period of my new vegetarian lifestyle and I’m still reading up on it and learning more about it. In order to keep up with my commitment to be vegetarian, I am still constantly renewing my motivation which includes compassion for all living beings and not wanting to consume their flesh which carries residual traces of their energy.

Having said this, I would have to admit that I do still sometimes get tempted by the smell or even the thoughts of my old favorite dishes which I am not able to partake of anymore. I am not immune to remembering delicious smells and tastes from the past. I do realize that this new chapter simply indicates that it’s perhaps time that I discover and develop new favorite dishes and restaurants. I’m not partial to change so it won’t be a walk in the park but I’m looking forward this new adventure and discovering vegetarian or vegetarian friendly restaurants/institutions/establishments.

I am quite pleased to have finally become vegetarian, after years of aspiring and attempting to do so. Being able to meet all the body’s nutritional needs notwithstanding, I am also curious as to how being vegetarian would affect me qualitatively.

May the new chapter begin.

(c) Niconica 2012