Eating meat is highly celebrated and the main component of a meal in the United States. As a vegetarian is it difficult to live and eat in the US?
Being a vegetarian in the US is mostly easy with a wide variety of grocery stores and farmer’s markets readily available. Restaurants and group gatherings often are met with challenges for a vegetarian with limited vegetarian options and a social stigma of being different.
Is It Easy To Be A Vegetarian In The US
Being a vegetarian in the US can vary from being fairly easy to being very challenging depending on how strict you are with your diet.
Some of the main things to consider as a vegetarian in the US are.
- Hidden Ingredients
- Cross Contamination
- Do You Enjoy Cooking
- Eating Cheese
- Eating Eggs
- Foods Called By Different Names
- Different Regions Are Easier Than Others
- Organic Produce Selection
- Society Sterotypes
- Raising Vegetarian Children
Whats Hiding In Vegetarian Foods
The US is very lenient in the food ingredients allowed in our foods in comparison to other countries.
If you dig in close the ingredient list may seem harmless but, with some research, you may find sketchy non-vegetarian ingredients hiding in your food.
“Natural Flavors” can mean so many things that are not vegetarian or natural for foods.
Food coloring derived from insects, anyone?
Cross Contamination Of Vegetarian Food In The Us
The majority of kitchens in the Us will be producing both vegetarian and animal products.
If you go into a restaurant your veggie burger may be cooked on the same grill as a hamburger.
Food handling in the US is not great overall. You can’t control what goes on in the kitchen and may accidentally consume foods that have been contaminated with animal products.
Do You Enjoy Cooking Your Own Meals
Vegetarian items offered at restaurants can often be limiting depending on where you live.
As a vegetarian in the US, it’s best if you enjoy making your own meals at home and take with you to work.
Do You Eat Cheese As A Vegetarian
Eating cheese and not eating cheese can both bring challenges in the US.
Many vegetarians in the US still consume eggs in their diets.
Challenges As A Cheese Eater
If you are a vegetarian that eats cheese you may think that you are all set.
In reality, a lot of the cheese consumed in the US contains “enzymes” which are usually derived from animal rennet (otherwise known as stomach lining enzymes from animals).
Another concern with cheese in America is the use of artificial growth hormones in the dairy industry.
This may not be a vegetarian issue but, it is an overall health concern.
Challenges As A Non-Cheese Eater
If you don’t eat cheese you won’t have concerns about what is in your cheese but, rather finding vegetarian food without cheese.
Many of the vegetarian foods offered at restaurants are heavy with cheese. Foods like pizza, quesadillas, and sandwiches.
Do You Eat Eggs As A Vegetarian
Eating eggs or not can make it easy or harder as a vegetarian in the US.
Many breakfast items offered at restaurants will contain eggs leaving you with limited options if you do not eat eggs.
Foods Are Called By Different Names In The Us
If you are from a different country it may be confusing at first since many foods can go by different names in the US.
What is known as rocket in other countries is called arugula and courquets are called zucchini for example.
Is It Easier For Vegetarians In Different Regions Of The US
Being a vegetarian can be harder or easier depending on the region that you live in.
Many of the southern states are famous for their Southern Style or barbecue-style foods that are usually heavy with meat. and cheese.
Other areas like the North East have wonderful seasonal orchards and farmers’ markets that thrive during the summer and fall.
In Florida, you can find some fresh produce almost at any time of the year.
Large cities will offer a larger selection of restaurants and grocery stores.
Is Organic Produce Easy To Find In The US
Every local grocery store will have a selection of organic produce.
That produce can range from extremely low quality and overpriced food to a wide fresh selection.
Once you discover where you will find the best produce in your area it will make a difference.
Buying fresh from the farmer at a farm stand or farmer’s market is always the best option if possible.
Whole Foods has a great selection but can be expensive.
What Is The Sterotypical Vegetarian Like In The US
In the US vegetarians are often labeled as being high maintenance tree huggers.
It may be a lack of understanding, being different or unknown that sparks all vegetarians to be grouped together with a negative image.
It is usually the bold and boisterous people that are remembered. We’ve all heard of people throwing paint onto others that are wearing fur coats.
What Is It Like To Raise Vegetarian Children In The US
Raising vegetarian children in the US can be challenging at times.
We live in a world that includes fast food kid’s meals, birthday parties, and soccer snacks.
Is America Good For Vegetarians
Even though the US has its challenges for vegetarians and could use some improvements, overall being a vegetarian in the US is attainable.
What It’s Like Being A Vegetarian In America
My experience as a vegetarian in America has been a mixed bag of experiences.
The first couple of years of being a vegetarian are the hardest. Wherever you go you are faced with making new food choices over your old favorites or experiencing your first family holiday as the only vegetarian at the table.
Once you’ve adapted to living a vegetarian lifestyle you will have a better understanding of where and what you can eat as well as what to expect from other people.
Tips For Being A Vegetarian In The Us
- Make your own food as much as possible
- Pre-read ingredients before going to the store
- Preview menus at restaurants before going
- Eat at Mexican Style restaurants
- Eat at Asian Style Restaurants
- Eat at Indian Restaurants
- Find a good grocery store with fresh produce
- Go to farmers markets
- Have a go to list of recipes
- Have a got to list of vegetarian friendly restaurants
Being a vegetarian is mostly an easy lifestyle for those that choose this path in life.
In the US there is an abundance of restaurants, grocery stores, specialty stores and farmers markets to give us an opportunity to find the best food available.
The most challenging part of being a vegetarian in the US is that you may come across restaurants with limited vegetarian options and the social scruinty of others.