There are several reasons to why people choose to go over to a vegetarian diet. Some do it for their health, some for the environment and others for the animals. Whatever reason, it’s a lifestyle change that has become more common, but still meets a lot of prejudices in today’s society.
Many are under the impression that becoming a vegetarian involves huge changes, so we asked Margit Katharine Bøhn, who follows a vegetarian, and somewhat vegan diet, to share her thoughts and experience with us.
What made you decide to stop eating meat?
I was fourteen and had been engaged in animal rights for a while, handing out brochures for the Norwegian equivalent to Peta at school and skipping my first (and only) class because we had to dissect a pig, so I had been thinking about it for quite some time. One day we had chicken for dinner at home, and I just couldn’t eat it. I just imagined the poor chicken in front of me and suddenly felt like I was chewing on my own thigh.
Did you find it difficult in the beginning?
The most difficult part for me was that I, as a teenager, didn’t receive any support from my parents. I also didn’t have much knowledge about nutrition growing up, but found my way. It’s all about giving it a try.
How do you get enough protein?
I’m not sure what all this fuzz about protein is, as I do believe this major concern is totally misunderstood. More protein isn’t necessarily better; let’s talk quality instead. Mother Nature is filled with good protein sources, such as soybeans, chick peas, avocado, lentils, black beans, kidney beans, tofu, bulgur, quinoa, peas, nuts, oats and so much more. If you eat a variety of whole foods, you’ll most likely get enough protein.
I think the most important thing is not to feel like going green is a sacrifice, but a positive change
Have you felt any difference on your body after you stopped eating meat?
I was 14 at the time so I can’t really say, but going from vegetarian to a vegan diet? Oh yeah, definitely. You feel SO much better, cleaner, healthier, and happier. I’ve been eating more or less vegan for the last year.
What are the challenges when it comes to being vegan?
I think social stigma is the worst – all the questions, having to make special orders at restaurants, as there are often no vegan options on the menu. This feels very ironic to me, that you get judged for not eating animals. People get very emotional about their meat, it’s like drinking with a sober person – suddenly you feel judged yourself.
What is your favorite vegan dish?
My goal is to make vegan food taste and feel as close to meaty food as possible. I would want my meat-eating friends to be surprised that it can taste so close to what they normally eat, so they understand that they can eat vegan too (without only eating grass). I love burgers, pasta, salads, Mexican and all the tasty food in the world!
What would you recommend for someone who is thinking about turning vegetarian or vegan to do? Where to start?
I think the most important thing is not to feel like going green is a sacrifice, but a positive change. Read up on animal rights and what the meat industry is doing to our planet, watch documentaries and find tons of recipes for inspiration on food blogs, discover a whole new way to look at food and cook tons of it. Be kind to yourself, take one step at the time, learning by doing and doing what’s right for you. Make food fun and not a burden.
Isn’t it expensive?
No, and even if it is – your health is your most important investment. You can stay cheap with beans, peas and oats or go expensive with hemp, raw food and spirulina. Either way, I promise that you will find a diet that works within your budget that tastes great.
By: Henriette Danielsen / Photo cred