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This is a core SixLinks guide
800 Using Energy points
This is a core SixLinks guide
300 Basic Needs points
by Steven Skoczen Guide: Go vegetarian

Steven's action: Go vegetarian

This is perhaps the biggest thing you can personally do to reduce your energy impact. Agriculture emits almost 15% of greenhouse gases directly. And that doesn't even take into account the deforestation that is happening as a result of the need for more cropland. A lot of these emissions are a result of meat consumption. Meat production also uses a lot of water.
Step 1: Know why you're doing it read more
There are many reasons people choose to become vegetarian: lightening their impact on the world, becoming healthier, or concerns about animal welfare.

The most important first step for you is to figure out why you're considering the a vegetarian diet. It'll help you remain committed, and give you a strong point to go back to when those chicken sandwiches or roast beef look tasty really tasty.

Before you check off this step, write down why you're becoming vegetarian, so you've got it to look back to later down the road!
Completed on June 5, 2009 at 2:55 a.m.
Step 2: Decide what kind you want to be read more
There's a wide variety of types of vegetarians. Everything from fruitarian (only raw, uncooked fruit) to lacto-ovo vegetarian (no meat, but cheese and dairy are in) counts as vegetarian, and are dramatically different.

Some of these lifestyles (especially the strict ones) are much more difficult to do healthily, and require good accounting to make sure you get all your necessary vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.

In general, when first becoming vegetarian, a lacto-ovo vegetarian is the easiest for most people. Especially with the good meat-substitutes available, it's a fairly easy transition and a good place to start, even if you think you may later want to try a different sort of diet.
Completed on June 5, 2009 at 2:55 a.m.
Step 3: Commit read more
Making a commitment to yourself is the most important step in becoming vegetarian. Not simply a commitment to avoid eating meat, but to do it healthily, and responsibly - learning new dishes, ideas, and trying new sorts of food.

Before you check off this step, write yourself a commitment on this step, so you have it to come back to.
Completed on June 5, 2009 at 2:55 a.m.
Step 4: Learn 5 new dishes/substitutes read more
This is a key step that really eases the transition. Most people eat a relatively small number of staple dishes (3-8), so a great way to incorporate your vegetarian diet into your lifestyle is to learn some new staples.

Importantly, it's fairly likely that dishes you already know and love can be made vegetarian without major changes. Most great dishes are tasty because of the spices and flavors from the grains and vegetables. Often simply swapping in a good meat substitute can give you a tasty, healthy meal that you already know how to make!

Many lacto-ovo vegetarians go through a period early on where they subsist entirely on veggie burgers and other prepared vegetarian foods. While that's fine for an occasion, it gets expensive fast and doesn't give a great variety to your meals. Learning 5 good dishes you can make will give you a foundation that can carry for a long, long time.
Completed on June 5, 2009 at 2:56 a.m.
Step 5: Find new favorites read more
Of course, you're not always going to be eating at home. One challenge many new vegetarians face is eating out. Particularly in the United States, restaurants are accustomed to customers expecting meat in every dish. For vegetarians, this obviously presents a problem.

However, these days, nearly all restaurants have some meat-free option, and it's usually pretty tasty. Certain cuisines fare better than others: if you're not already a fan of Thai, Indian or Chinese food, now's a great time to give them a try. These and many other culinary traditions have years of history creating great meatless dishes, some with tofu or seitan, some with simply vegetables.

Vegetarian food is hearty, filling, and just as good as its meat-laden brethren. You should also expect questions, especially from non-vegetarian family members and friends, along the lines of, "No, but what do you eat??" Many people see meat as the centerpiece of their dish (even if it's not, by taste or caloric content), and can't imagine food without it. But don't be fooled or let them be fooled - most dishes aren't primarily meat, and you're eating as well or better than they are!
Completed on June 5, 2009 at 2:56 a.m.
Step 6: Stick with it read more
There will come a day when you realize that you're no longer trying to be a vegetarian - you simply don't eat meat. It's a change in your lifestyle, and after a while eating meat will seem as weird as not eating it once did.

You'll have moments of craving steak or chicken or ham or whatever your favorite meat is, and that's normal and part of the process. You can always look back at why you're doing it, and the commitment you made in those moments.

You can definitely do it, stick with it, and live healthily, happily, and tastily ever after!
Completed on June 5, 2009 at 3:01 a.m.
All Done!
Tomo Says:Great Job!
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Updates and Comments: What is this?
The updates and comments below show how Steven is doing in completing his action. You can leave him comments, suggestions and encouragement using the box below.
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