By Health Photo
August 17, 2012

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My friends have been super supportive of my vegetarian diet--and by diet I mean a lifestyle change, not a diet to lose weight!

In fact, I have been eating more than usual and my plate is piled high with tons of vegetables, tofu, and grains. My junk food intake has been at a minimum--think dark chocolate, sweet-potato chips, and frozen yogurt.

I try to prep some food for the workweek, making big batches of quinoa, lentils, and vegetables, which has helped me to make better decisions about what I eat.

For instance, the other day I needed a quick snack and though it seemed weird, I mixed a spoonful of peanut butter with quinoa and topped it with a banana--and it was delicious. Thankfully, after a Google search, I found similar recipes--phew!

The fact is that I love to eat and have taken it personally when a few of my friends thought I was adopting a vegetarian diet as a way to lose weight (or that I am secretly a closet carnivore). I've also had some interesting conversations about food and clothes.

For example, I've been wanting to try out a variety of meat-substitute products (thanks for your comments--I will try Morning Star brand!), and my friend asked "What is the point in eating something that resembles or tastes like meat if you're trying to avoid meat?"

In fact, I'd like to recreate some of my favorite childhood dishes without using the actual animal. Am I wrong? Does being a vegetarian mean I have to avoid any plant-based product that resembles meat? I like to think that recreating a meat dish with a meatless product doesn't make me a cheat and any less a vegetarian.

I also happen to have a motorcycle, and I'm in the market for a motorcycle jacket. Although they are usually leather, I have been looking at textile jackets--I just haven't found one yet that I love. I did find a "pleather" jacket (minus the leather) and purchased it for my light rides around the neighborhood--it's cute and animal free. Still I got backlash from a friend who thought my faux jacket was leather and the same discussion ensued: "Why wear something that resembles the original?"

I don’t feel like I have to give up comfort dishes from my childhood or my personal style to be a vegetarian. In fact, if my friend was so convinced I was wearing a leather jacket, I say that's proof enough you don’t have to change your style to lead a vegetarian lifestyle.

What are your thoughts?