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Student Going Vegetarian, Savvy Vegetarian Advice

How to be a student, have a vegetarian diet with good nutrition

I'm thinking of becoming a vegetarian. I'm going to university this month and now I'm moving out of my Mum's house and will be cooking all the time for myself. The reason for this is that i'm not comfortable with animals having to die to give me a meal.

I am worried, however, because if I became a vegetarian I would cut out fish as well (I don't beleive in only cutting out the cute fluffy land animals) and I might loose out on things like Omega 3.

Also, with all the changes in my life at the moment, such as moving out, new friends etc, would becoming a vegetarian be too much? Do you have any advice on how to make the change easily, how to be a vegetarian student, and ensure you still get all the nutrients you will need for all the work... and partying....?

Thank you. H.L.

Savvy Vegetarian Advice

Dear H.L.,

Changing to a vegetarian diet all at once would be a bit much, on top of leaving home, setting up your own place and starting university. I understand your enthusiasm completely, having been there, but --- becoming a vegetarian is a huge lifestyle change which is best accomplished gradually, giving you a chance to learn to cook vegetarian food, and get used to eating a very different diet.

If you've always been a healthy eater, big on grains & veg, and easy on meat, then it's not as great a leap. But if you've had a typical diet up until now, then you'll have a lot of new territory to conquer.

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You have the reports I sent you: 10 Tips For Beginning Vegetarians and Vegetarian Nutrition. Those will be a good start. I highly recommend The New Becoming Vegetarian, a vegetarian nutrition handbook by Vesanto Melina and Brenda Davis. Make it your vegetarian nutrition bible!

My advice is to start gradually, cooking veg a couple times a week, and cutting back on the red meat, exploring grains & veggies, etc. Once you have more familiarity with veg food, cooking & nutrition, then branch out more.

The Partying: inevitable I know and not harmful long term. However it seems contradictory to talk about partying, with drinks etc, (arguably the opposite of healthy) and becoming a vegetarian at the same time (which is about improving health among other things). If you decide to seriously become a vegetarian, try to find a balance between being a party animal, and taking care of your body.

Judith Kingsbury, Savvy Vegetarian

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