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Student Afraid of Becoming A Vegetarian

Starting college in the fall, is a vegetarian diet right for me?

Hi, I'm 17 and I'm thinking about becoming a vegetarian. While the animal cruelty aspect of it helped me in thinking about a vegetarian diet, I'm more so in it for health reasons.

With all the icky pesticides and health problems that come with eating meat, I just think I would be better off not eating it.

I've never been a huge meat fan and I love fruits and vegetables and I'm willing to try new things like becoming a vegetarian.

I have questions: What are the health benefits of becoming a vegetarian, little interesting facts like does it help your skin, etc?

I'm heading off to college this fall, so my timing I think is a little off. I'm afraid about what my options are going to be like on campus, the school is a pretty small one, and I don't know how many vegetarians there are there.

That's why I haven't really told anyone about my contemplation yet, especially my mom. I don't want her to freak out and be even more concerned about me at college then she already will be.

How do I know if this is just a passing phase or not? How do I make this decision? Should I just try it? Thanks! - K. H.

Savvy Vegetarian Advice

Dear K. H.,

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You'll find answers to most of your questions in the SV report: 10 Tips For Beginning Vegetarians, and in: Vegetarian Nutrition, but here are a few extra tips:

Eating more fresh whole foods, especially fruits and vegetables, and avoiding sugar and junk food & soft drinks, plus drinking lots of water, and daily exercise is good for your skin and everything else. If you have skin problems though, you might look into specific food allergies or sensitivities that might be contributing.

Get settled at college and looks at your options before going vegetarian. When my vegetarian daughter went to college, the options on campus were so limited, it was either cook or starve, but she had little money and even less time, so she was rather thin! And of course, you wouldn't want to freak out your mom!

Vegetarian or semi-vegetarian diets are widespread in much of the world, and your desire is completely natural. Try becoming a vegetarian a bit at a time, learn more about it and see if you like it. You'll know if this is just a passing phase if you are't satisfied and persistantly want something different.

Judith Kingsbury, Savvy Vegetarian

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